Businessmen insist property expert’s report on Trop is ‘flawed.’

BUSINESSMEN trying to save the Tropicana insist a report by property experts, which states their plans are not viable, is ‘flawed’

A business plan was put together by Trop (WSM) Ltd which included refurbishing the existing seafront site and creating an Olympic pool, shops and restaurants.

Executive members of North Somerset Council voted to pull down the former pool last year and have sent a report to the Secretary of State for communities and local government – who will make the final decision in less than two weeks.

The report from property experts DTZ, which was made at the request of the council, said the group’s plans contain a number of inconsistencies in figures, an over-reliance on grants and an under-estimate of redevelopment costs, but Trop (WSM) Ltd said the conclusions are not accurate.

Leader of the group, Derek Mead, said: “When our accountants eventually received the DTZ report they confirmed to us that there were a number of statements contained within the report that were inaccurate.”

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Mr Mead said when his accountants sent the group’s draft plan to DTZ they offered to provide further explanation if necessary.

He said: “Shortly after this DTZ were instructed by the council not to correspond or communicate with us while undertaking this assessment.

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“Therefore, where DTZ was unclear as to the references or content in the information supplied they were restricted by the council in obtaining information.

“We believe this has resulted in the clarity of the report and its conclusions being flawed.”

The group has compiled a response to the report and concluded that DTZ does not have the relevant experience or qualifications to understand the proposals and comment upon them.

Mr Mead said: “We also remain disappointed by the council due to their lack of co-operation and failure to supply information during our business planning process.

“The draft business plans we submitted clearly demonstrates a viable proposal.”

Grand Pier co-owner Kerry Michael, who is also part of the group, said: “I think we all know that figures can be made to support different ends of the same argument as necessary.

“The point here is that we have one of the most successful developers in the whole of the South West willing to put their reputation and money on this project and I really don’t see what the council have to lose by giving them the opportunity to deliver on their promises.

“I think we all know that if the Tropicana is demolished and returned to sand, it is very unlikely that the site will ever be developed again in the future.

“The opportunity to do something is now otherwise it will be yet another facility that is lost to us forever.”

In an attempt to halt the demolition process Trop (WSM) Ltd has also served the council with a judicial review, but are willing to suspend this.

Mr Mead said: “We will suspend our judicial review action if they suspend their application to the Secretary of State to demolish the Tropicana and if they will meet with us to discuss our proposals.

“As the council continue to refuse to talk to us we have no alternative other than to continue with our judicial review action.

“We will await with interest the views of the courts on this latest misleading and inappropriate behaviour by the council, in the meantime we will press on with our proposal with the support of the local community and businesses.”

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