'Not the slightest chance' Tropicana lido will return to Weston

It has been almost two decades since the Tropicana was open as a swimming pool.

Weston residents have recently voted the Tropicana as the thing they miss most from their childhood. - Credit: Archant

Councillors have dashed hopes of the Tropicana lido or a similar outdoor pool returning to Weston, stating there is "not the slightest chance".

The Mercury recently asked residents what they would like to see return to Weston from their childhood, with the Tropicana being the most popular answer.

North Somerset Council's heritage champion, Cllr John Crockford-Hawley believes that people are not remembering the former attraction as it truly was.

He told the Mercury: "The world has largely moved on from wanting outdoor bathing - we get questions about building a similar attraction but people seem to be viewing it through rose-tinted glasses.

"The pool was closed for large periods of the year due to the temperature and its art deco diving board, although iconic, would not pass health and safety regulations nowadays."

Diving boards were once in situ at the Tropicana,

Councillors have estimated the costs of a similar attraction being £20million or more. - Credit: Archant

The Trop's pool closed for good in 2000. After a number of unsuccessful attempts to redevelop the venue, North Somerset Council turned it into The Bay Cafe in 2015.

The venue caught the eye of Bristol artist Banksy who transformed the old lido into Dismaland 'bemusement park' for five weeks in 2015 - attracting people from all over the world.

More: Dismaland was a 'game-changer for Weston'.

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Since then, North Somerset Council has made a number of improvements to the venue and hosted a variety of events - from theatre, comedy shows and DJ nights to food festivals and gigs.

Mr Crockford-Hawley added: "There is not the slightest chance of an outdoor pool with a diving stage as the costs would be extortionate.

"However, if there is such a demand for an outdoor bathing facility, then I think the council's plans with the Marine Lake can solve this."

More: Marine Lake restoration work advances.

Work to drain the town's marine lake and flush out built-up silt began in April with the aim to restore it to working order for outdoor swimmers and water sports.

The authority has pledged an investment of around £300,000 to make this happen - with a larger £700,000 investment to improve the lakes in Clevedon and Portishead.

Weston Marine Lake.

There is hope that Weston Marine Lake will reopen in some capacity during the summer holidays. - Credit: North Somerset Council

The council's executive for economy echoed Mr Crockford-Hawley's thoughts, stating the council needs to be 'realistic and honest'.

Cllr Mark Canniford said: "It was estimated that rebuilding the lido in 2005 would cost £11million, that figure is probably around £20million now. If a private business has that money and would like to do so, then the council is happy to help.

"Residents need to ask if they want us to be efficient or throw money at things that will not work? The marine lake could be the answer as it would be free and we are currently discussing adding concessions for ice cream and boat hire. We hope people can return to the lake in July or August for the summer holidays and that it will be completely cleared in September.

"I would also add that the town could be better served by adding an 8,000 capacity arena and build on Weston's cultural history of hosting bands such as The Beatles and Pink Floyd."

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