Could Tropicana trust save seafront site from demolition?

PUBLISHED: 16:00 07 October 2011

A GROUP of key trade figures in Weston is aiming to set up a public trust to save the Tropicana building from being bulldozed.

The group will meet this week to hold initial talks with a potential investor from Weston.

Hotels and Restaurants Association chief Keith Fearne will attend the meeting alongside Chamber of Trade president Gail Parsons, Saxonia hotel owner John Harrap and North Somerset Enterprise Agency chair Terry Gilbert.

They are hoping to persuade the potential investor, who currently wishes to remain anonymous, to buy the site and put a new indoor pool in it.

Weston residents have been crying out for a new pool since the seafront site closed down more than a decade ago, but three separate regeneration attempts have floundered.

Although this new group is only in the early stages of pursuing its interest, members say they are optimistic about the plans.

They will ask the council for the £800,000 currently allocated to knock down the site to be put into the trust if it does go ahead.

A similar trust in Plymouth currently owns a pool there after a site was left derelict for several years in the city.

The Weston group hopes to copy the Plymouth example and apply for lottery grants through the trust status alongside private investment.

Mr Fearne said he wants to get the public onside and would strongly support any petition to save the Tropicana.

He also said the group could hold fundraisers in the future to put towards the scheme.

He said: “I think it is the only thing now that is needed for Weston – that the Tropicana is sorted.”

He cited Portishead open air pool as an example of a successful public pool.

Mr Fearne added: “We realise that there needs to be some money available to keep it going after it is built, but Portishead is doing all right.”

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