Trop will not be open for Easter

An artist's impression of Trop Trust's vision for a seafront pool.

An artist's impression of Trop Trust's vision for a seafront pool. - Credit: Archant

THE Tropicana will not re-open its doors until at least the end of April, a senior councillor has confirmed.

Cllr Tony Lake, guest speaker at Weston Civic Society’s latest meeting, said the café will not be ready in time for Easter and defended North Somerset Council’s work to restore it, denying it was an attempt to win election votes.The authority is spending about £400,000 on bringing the site into use, including an office for its seafront event team, new tourist information provision and an outdoor events area where the pool used to be, having been filled in.

Cllr Lake said once the café was open attention will turn to ‘bringing the rear into use for events or for rides’.

He said: “There’s quite a lot of interest from people in doing that.

“We have concentrated on getting the café open and we hope to have the works finished by the end of April.”

Cllr Lake said the café will be open all year because its profits, coupled with events held there, will need to generate enough cash to keep the venue open.

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As for the long-term, the Conservative councillor said the council offers an ‘open door’ to would-be development group the Trop Trust.

He said: “We want it (the trust) to be successful and we want to see the site developed.”

Trop Trust has outline planning permission to develop the site but it has not been given a lease for the site due to concerns over its financial viability – something the group refutes.

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Council chief executive Mike Jackson said: “We have made it clear to the Trop Trust that should it come forward with a viable, funded business case for the building, that we’ll be happy to discuss the future of the building.”

However, members of the Trust, speaking at the civic society’s meeting at the Blakehay Theatre, said that stance did not provide a strong enough guarantee the council will hand over the Trop even if a successful plan is tabled.

Trust director Geri Callen said the uncertainty is preventing the necessary funding being secured, and asked the council to put in writing its offer to hand over the keys if funding is secured.

However Cllr Lake said the authority has never seen any paperwork from a potential funding organisation saying that resolution was insufficient and if the trust provided such documents then councillors could debate it again.

Cllr Lake said the Trop Trust’s scheme, pictured, featuring an Olympic-sized swimming pool and beachside entertainment, is the most attractive option to be proposed since the site closed in 2000.

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