Tropicana: town will not have say

WESTON’S public will not get a say on which developer is picked to rebuild the town’s derelict Tropicana, the Mercury can reveal.

Senior officers at North Somerset Council have this week confirmed residents’ views will not be taken into account when deciding who will regenerate the attraction, or what will be included there.

Strict guidelines set out by the European Union dictate that bidders in a tendering process must only be marked on a complex matrix of factors to do with the proposal and business case.

General public opinion is not a factor and no consultation will be held by the council on the bids from Richard Nightingale and Havard Tisdale. This means that although Mr Nightingale’s scheme appears to be a strong favourite with residents, that will count for nothing when decisions are made.

Instead, council officers will grade each proposed scheme before advising a small working party of North Somerset councillors, who will recommend a preferred bidder.

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A decision on which developer wins the contract will then be made at a full council meeting, likely to be in July next year.

Head of legal and democratic services, Nick Brain, said: “We will not be taking the public into account when considering both bids for the project.

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“Both bidders may want to carry out their own public consultation to gauge public opinion on what ideas they like, but in terms of us marking each bid we will be following EU guidelines set out for procurement processes.

“This will mean using a matrix to mark each bid fairly and transparently. We won’t be marking them on public popularity.

“If we do not follow these guidelines, the losing developer will have grounds to appeal and we might have to start the process all over again, costing time and money.”

The system of points which will be used to mark each bid is yet to be put together, although both parties will be expected to hand in an outline proposal document next month.

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