'Ball game change' for Weston's Trop?
PUBLISHED: 12:00 09 January 2015
A WOULD-BE Tropicana development group is being asked to rethink its plan, as the 'ball game has changed' - with the group now being urged to consider producing an extension to Weston's children's water park.
North Somerset Council’s deputy leader Elfan Ap Rees this week voiced his personal view on the future of Weston’s Tropicana, which has lain derelict for more than a decade.
The Trop Trust group has long sought council backing for its pool redevelopment plan, but Cllr Ap Rees – who headed the council’s Tropicana project for years – says the trustees need to ‘grab the opportunity’ to rethink its project, and the idea of a ‘serious’ swimming development could instead be saved for an extension at Hutton Moor.
But the trustees say they need, and would welcome, a formal meeting and proposal to be able to give constructive feedback on this idea, as they want to press on with their Tropicana plan, which includes an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a splash pool with restaurants and shops.
Council contractors are currently working on the site to try to bring it back into limited use by the summer.
Cllr Ap Rees said: “My personal view is the Trop trustees need to grab the opportunity over the next few months to rethink how they can work with the council and see what is feasible as the ball game has changed.
“The Tropicana is no longer a derelict building waiting for demolition. The council is reinvigorating the site and is going to be running it for the foreseeable future.
“The original aim of the Trop Trust to conserve the existing building is absolutely right and it’s worth noting the actual pool is only a small part of the area. It’s a leisure dip, where people can enjoy a bit of fun swimming and people forget that.
“As Weston continues to grow it stands to reason that the existing facility at Hutton Moor is not big enough. There is the potential to expand it in the future.
“We definitely need another (pool), a more serious swimming facility in the town for our growing number of residents, but we also need a leisure pool facility which is not the same thing.
“So would a serious Olympic-style swimming pool be best sited at Hutton Moor?”
He said with the current water park on the seafront, run by Weston Town Council, an option for the Trop could be something which compliments that and is ‘easily run’ by volunteers.
The Trop Trust responded by saying: “The trustees have not been approached by Cllr Ap Reees to discuss any of his personal views, but would welcome a formal meeting.
“The trustees are committed to delivering the new project on the site of the existing seafront pool site and look forward to working with the council this year to bring this to a conclusion for the people of Weston.”
Last month the Trop Trust wrote to Cllr Tony Lake, North Somerset’s executive for property and a member of the authority’s Tropicana working party, to request a meeting with him and the council’s funding team. The team is now waiting on a reply.