Residents' reaction to first Tropicana images

FOLLOWING the Weston & Somerset Mercury s unveiling of the new look Tropicana on last week s front page, reporter Mark Mistry spoke to Weston residents to get their views on the first images of the town s troubled tourist attraction.

* FOLLOWING the Weston & Somerset Mercury's unveiling of the new look Tropicana on last week's front page, reporter Mark Mistry spoke to Weston residents to get their views on the first images of the town's troubled tourist attraction.

Alan and Tracy Nowlan, of Ashcombe Gardens, with their 14-year-old son, Josh.

Alan, aged 48, has lived in Weston for more than 40 years with his wife. Their son, Josh, attends Worle Community School.

He said: "It looks like something from the 21st century, which is definitely a good thing. I say go for it. It will keep young people off the streets and give them something to do in the holidays."

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Fiona Kelly, full-time mother to Finn, aged 15 months, and married to Paul, first came to the town as a student at Weston College where she completed an art foundation course before studying at Dundee University.

Fiona, of Upper Church Road, said: "I don't object to it but it doesn't set me on fire either. It is all concrete and glass and could be anywhere across the country. There is no sense of place to say it is from Weston."

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Liz Baker, a voluntary teacher who lives in Eastfield Park, said: "It is too high but it is nice that we are going to be consulted about it. I'm not too sure about the cinema but without a swimming pool in the town people in Weston are suffering. What will happen to the Odeon? If the developers cannot get the hotel then I would like the council to step in."

Cyrus Molton, aged 30, of Becket Road, Worle, has lived in Weston for six years and has a son, Levi, who goes to Windwhistle Primary School.

He said: "It's a great thing for Weston and I'm all for it."

John Hartnell, aged 26, works in Weston as a carer at Ashcombe Court.

John used to visit the Tropicana as a boy and cannot wait for it to open.

He said: "Weston is quite an old town and I do not get a young vibe from it.

"There is nothing wrong with historical buildings but a newer building will help the town move into the 21st century.

"It will be good for the shops as it will increase business by bringing more people into the town."

THE town's business representatives and dignitaries were also asked their views.

Weston Chamber of Commerce President, David Wallace, said: "Go for it. It will fit in well with Weston because it is a town of mixed architecture, with anything from art deco to modern day.

"There will be thousands of visitors coming to Weston who will appreciate a more modern facility.

"I think we should look very carefully at what Henry Boot Developments plans to go inside it. It is putting forward ideas which have got to be discussed."

Dolphin Square Traders' Association chairman, Chris Knight, said: "I understand they are still talking about a cinema and a hotel on the complex. There are already plenty of hotels in Weston so it doesn't seem to make much sense from a business point of view, or a cinema, as people visit to go the beach, not the cinema.

"I think they will have difficulty in finding people to operate a hotel and cinema there.

"What we need is a swimming pool there sooner rather than later. It's essential. It's what we need to bring people back to Weston. The town needs an attraction, what we have at the moment is a distraction."

Weston MP John Penrose said: "It's great that the plans include a pool and Weston has been waiting 20 years for a scheme to revive this vital seafront site, but now local people have to decide whether something this size is too great a price to pay."

Weston Town Mayor John Ley-Morgan said: "We will have to wait until after Saturday when I have seen the plans for myself.

"A model of the Tropicana should be available because people cannot interpret drawings very easily and we need to see a representation showing its impact on the immediate surrounds and seafront in general."

Friends of our Tropicana (FOOT) chairman Fernley Symons, in a letter sent to North Somerset councillors:

"We were assured by PPS (Henry Boot's PR firm) that the building would be shown in its context, but the picture (in last week's Mercury) shows nothing of the sort. In fact, if you correct the perspective and then construct a front view you find the building is not only bigger than the one formerly illustrated but is raised above the present ground level even more to accommodate the basement car park!

"All this is disguised by the new "piazza" in front of the main building, and the inclusion in the view of new buildings in front of and to the sides and centre of the main building, structures we have not seen before. So although it seems the height of the tower has been curtailed somewhat, the whole thing is still about as tall as Carlton Mansions."

Tropicana Restoration and Development Association chairman, Dick Whittington, said: "The association has been working on its own plans which will be unveiled at a meeting at the United Reformed Church in Waterloo Street on November 28 from 1.15pm. The group also intends to make public its plans shortly after developers Henry Boot submits its next year."

Did you know?

The Tropicana is listed as 'Weston's disgrace' by Google Maps, an international internet search tool.

For more details on the Tropicana visit

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