‘Why we abandoned the Trop’ - Havard Tisdale

THE progress of other town developments and rising cost of construction have been blamed for the demise of a developer’s vision for the Tropicana.

This afternoon (Thurs) the Weston Mercury broke the news that Havard Tisdale had scrapped its multi-million-pound scheme for the dilapidated seafront site.

The Wiltshire-based firm had been bidding against town businessman Richard Nightingale to win the chance to regenerate the North Somerset Council-owned former attraction.

Its scheme was for a seven-storey-high leisure complex with an 80-bed hotel, 60 flats and swimming pool.

But in a statement released this afternoon, directors John Havard and Peter Tisdale confirmed they had withdrawn their bid from the procurement process.

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They said the firm’s proposals were no longer feasible or deliverable in the current economic climate.

Among the factors blamed were the progress of other developments in the town and the rise in building costs.

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Mr Havard said: “We were aware from the outset of the challenges involved in bringing forward the successful, comprehensive redevelopment of the Tropicana, particularly given the need to include a new swimming pool and the previous failed attempts by other developers.

“We were also keenly aware that this is an emotive site with high public expectations regarding its future redevelopment”.

“As a result, our priority from the beginning was to deliver a viable, attractive mixed use scheme that would provide a worthy heir to the former Tropicana, whilst also boosting the town’s future tourism role.”

Mr Tisdale said: “However, following the in-depth preparation for the submission of our formal bid and a further review of our preliminary proposals over the past three weeks, we no longer consider our scheme to be viable and have taken the very disappointing decision to withdraw our bid.

“The Tropicana is clearly a much loved site locally. The overriding comment we received from the local community is a desire to see this site brought forward and redeveloped.”

The firm’s drop-out leaves North Somerset Council with just Richard Nightingale to pick from for a developer for the regeneration project.

Council leader Nigel Ashton said: “We are still obliged to follow the EU procurement process, but are hopeful this can be concluded sooner now that there is only one bidder involved.

“We are looking forward to continuing to work with Richard Nightingale on his proposals.”

The council has cancelled a public exhibition set up for tomorrow and Saturday to display the developers’ two sets of plans.

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