Don't 'throw away' Tropicana - plea

PUBLISHED: 06:34 16 January 2012

The Tropicana is set for demolition.

The Tropicana is set for demolition.

Archant

WESTON'S Tropicana should be given to a business consortium looking to redevelop it instead of being bulldozed, according to the town's civic society.

North Somerset Council voted in November to tear down the landmark, which has lain empty and neglected since it closed 12 years ago.

Since then, attempts by opposition councillors – and pleas from a consortium comprising Puxton Park owner Derek Mead, Grand Pier co-owner Kerry Michael and businessman Guillio Ellis – have failed to reverse the decision.

Senior council figures remain determined to push on with the seafront pool’s demolition, and last week the Mercury revealed the landmark could be history by the summer.

But Weston Civic Society, a body which fights to protect the town’s architectural heritage, says parts of the building remain sound, and should not be ‘thrown away’.

The body’s January newsletter suggests demolition is simply a smokescreen to hide the evidence of past regeneration failures – and insists there is still a way to rebuild the once-proud attraction.

The society says: “North Somerset’s executive has opted to demolish the Tropicana.

“Apart from throwing away yet another familiar Weston landmark, the only purpose of this would be to remove from the scene a reminder of North Somerset’s total failure to come up with an appropriate and viable use for the site.

“The seafront façade appears structurally sound – it is not an ‘eyesore’.

“Just leaving it alone instead of handing over £800,000 of our money to demolition contractors would at least keep open the possibility of someone sensible and resourceful coming forward in a happier economic climate with proposals for a proper use for the place.

“How about donating the site, along with the sum set aside for demolition costs, to a consortium of local entrepreneurs who can grasp what the people of Weston want?”

In the decade since the pool closed, a trio of regeneration efforts – led by Mace, Henry Boot and Richard Nightingale – have failed to come to fruition.

Last year, the council made a final attempt to find a developer for a small-scale revamp, but a cross party working group judged that none of the interested parties were suitable.

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