Trop decision wait too long - as bidder puts ultimatum to council
PUBLISHED: 09:00 14 January 2011
RICHARD Nightingale has issued an eight-week ultimatum to district bosses - pick a scheme for the Tropicana or risk losing my bid.
The Weston businessman says he is frustrated no decision has yet been made 14 months after signalling his intention to launch a regeneration project at the dilapidated site.
Last week, both Mr Nightingale and rival bidder Havard Tisdale submitted outline plans for the rebuild of the former attraction.
But it will not be another six months before a decision is made on who will win the tender.
This week, Mr Nightingale told the Mercury the wait was putting strain on deals with operators he had provisionally signed up for his proposed water park development.
He said: “I think 14 months is a long time and a substantial amount of time to make a decision on which bidder to choose.
“We just want them to pick a scheme as quickly as possible so work can then start on a planning process and the building can begin.
“The longer the wait goes on the more people we have got signed up for the project get itchy feet, and we risk losing them and potentially the whole project.”
Mr Nightingale’s scheme is for a large swimming pool, gym, rapids rides, play equipment and an ice-skating adventure course.
To ensure the viability of the plan, a small cinema and holiday accommodation has also been added to his proposal.
Cafés, bars and restaurants would also be included, with some spilling out onto sun decks for scenic views.
Mr Nightingale said: “I have now reached a stage where deliberation on the Tropicana regeneration cannot continue indefinitely.
“I fear that unless the matter is brought to a head this site may never be developed and I feel it does not benefit Weston to continue in this same manner in an air of uncertainty.
“With this in mind I have asked that the council appoint a preferred scheme within the next eight weeks, so development can begin without further delay.”
A North Somerset Council spokesman confirmed discussions with both bidders were due to take place after the submission of outline proposals last week.
The spokesman said the parties will be asked to submit final bids by April before a decision is made by the end of July.
Under the timeline, building work is unlikely to start until next Christmas, at the earliest.
● North Somerset Council is to hold a public exhibition on the two bids at the Winter Gardens from 9.30am-1pm on January 21 and 22.