Tories: Trop revamp plan 'premature'

PUBLISHED: 10:01 22 January 2010 | UPDATED: 11:36 25 May 2010

AN AMBITIOUS £10million proposal for a taxpayer-funded redevelopment of the Tropicana has been thrown out by councillors.

AN AMBITIOUS £10million proposal for a taxpayer-funded redevelopment of the Tropicana has been thrown out by councillors.

A Liberal Democrat scheme for an all-year-round council-run development was voted down at a meeting of North Somerset Council last week.

Their plan would have seen an 800sq m pool with restaurants, cafes and other leisure facilities run by the unitary authority, Weston Town Council and private partners.

But Conservatives dismissed the motion to redevelop the site, which has been closed for 10 years, as 'premature'.

Councillor Sue Creasey said: "Most people in this room will all want something to happen with the Tropicana.

"But I think this motion is premature, with all the cutbacks the council has to make."

Cllr Creasey also questioned the figures quoted by the Liberal Democrats, which said it would cost £10million to build the structure, and would require a £230,000 annual taxpayer subsidy.

Council leader Nigel Ashton said: "This is the totally wrong time for the council to be considering taking on an expense like this.

"I'm aware that there have been a number of expressions of interest already."

Weston Town Council would have contributed £1million to the development costs, with £2.875million coming from private companies and £6.125million from the unitary authority's existing budget.

The group behind the motion had previously said that it was time for a council-led scheme as private developers have proven themselves incapable of fulfilling promises.

Their claim came after Henry Boot became the second private company to pull out of redeveloping the site when its Lifestation@Tropicana project collapsed in November.

Cllr Edward Keating denied the Conservative claims that his motion was premature.

He said: "It has been 10 years and I'm not sure how that can be premature.

"If we can't put a proposal forward after that long, then when is the right time?"

After only a few minutes of debate, the motion was crushed by the Conservative majority.

The Tory executive had previously vowed to hold a private meeting behind closed doors to discuss a way forward, but it is not known whether it has taken place.

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