Tropicana café set to open this weekend

PUBLISHED: 13:00 11 June 2015

The Tropicana, post clean-up. Photo by Peter Barrington.

The Tropicana, post clean-up. Photo by Peter Barrington.

Archant

THE front section of the Tropicana is finally set to open to the public this weekend as a rebranded café and bar.

The former pool has lain derelict for the past 15 years, while a North Somerset Council bid to demolish the building was halted at the eleventh hour through Government intervention.

With several private sector regeneration attempts having floundered over the past decade, the authority last year diverted cash which had been earmarked for demolition costs towards refurbishing part of the site instead.

The council says the café has been created at a cost of £545,000, although the Mercury understands the total spending forecast for the Tropicana refurbishment came to £1.2million.

The new 120-cover café – 80 indoors, 40 outdoors – will be named The Bay, with a council spokesman saying it has been ‘tastefully designed and brings a quirky, fresh space for people to eat and drink’.

Cllr David Pasley, North Somerset Council’s executive member for property, said: “I am hugely impressed by the standard of the fit-out at The Bay, and a high-quality offer like this sends a signal about the standards we want to see throughout the town as businesses move in and invest.”

The makeover also includes an office for the council’s seafront events team, two new public toilets and a tourist information point (TIP).

The café will initially be operated by the council, though this is not expected to be a long-term solution.

Indeed, a new procurement process will start later this year, and the council says it is ‘hopeful’ that the work which has been done will stimulate a ‘greater degree of interest from the business community’ than in the past.

However, although part of the building has now been brought back to life, it remains unclear what will happen in the rest of the site.

Only one wing of the building will open to the public initially, while the outdoor area at the rear will stay closed off for the time being.

The council has previously said that once the front of the building is open, it will focus on bringing the rear of the building into use for events or rides – though firm plans are yet to be made.

The authority has however applied for a licence to stage plays, show films and host indoor sporting events, live music, recorded music and dance performances.

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