Town Council to bid £1 for Trop?
PUBLISHED: 09:41 16 September 2013
A SINGLE pound coin may be enough to save the Tropicana after Weston Town Council launched a bid to save the swimming pool from demolition.
The Government this week granted the seafront pool building a stay of execution and the town council wants to work alongside businessman Derek Mead to return it to its former glory.
Town councillors unanimously agreed on Monday to approach North Somerset Council and ask if it would sell the land – as critics of the local authority executive said there was ‘no appetite’ to see the Tropicana restored.
North Somerset has since told the Mercury it would give ‘serious consideration’ to any approach from the town council.
The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, has refused to give North Somerset permission to tear down the seafront building, although he has stated he could change his mind if no viable proposals come forward.
Conservative town council leader Peter Crew said everyone in the town wants a successful Tropicana.
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He said: “We know as a town council it can’t stay as it is. Something has to be done.”
Town councillors have agreed to approach North Somerset to offer an exit strategy, effectively saving the authority the estimated £800,000 demolition costs and providing realistic hope for the Tropicana to be saved.
Liberal Democrat councillor Mike Bell, who proposed the idea of purchasing the land, said: “The secretary of state’s decision is welcome and I think the town council should use this as an opportunity for change.
“The problem is the involvement of North Somerset Council and I think there is an opportunity to eliminate the problem. I would like to suggest that the town council offers to acquire the Tropicana site for a sum to be agreed, probably £1.”
Labour councillor Richard Tucker seconded the proposal saying North Somerset had ‘no appetite’ to resurrect the Tropicana and this was the ‘best punt’. He added: “The executive seems hell-bent on moving towards demolition.
“We have got a reprieve but I can foresee it will go back to the market, and they (the executive) will make out no-one has come up with a solution.”
Any future deal would be dependent on Cllr Mead – who did not attend Monday’s meeting – agreeing to pay for the pool’s demolition if Trop (WSM) Ltd cannot make the plans work. He approached the town council in June, before his election, and offered to do that.
Cllr Robert Payne said town council involvement is the only realistic way of saving the Tropicana.
He added: “This issue, more than any other, demonstrates how the executive treat the people of North Somerset with absolute contempt. They have made it clear they aren’t interested in the views of the people.
“It was actually quite refreshing that the secretary of state took into account the strength of public feeling.”