Trop rival slates competitors’ design as too residential
A REGENERATION plan with apartments and a hotel for Weston’s Tropicana has drawn criticism from a rival developer wanting to build at the site.
Havard Tisdale has set out an ambition to build a seven-storey-high leisure complex with an 80-bed hotel, 60 flats and swimming pool at the former attraction.
The Wiltshire-based firm says the viability of the multi-million-pound scheme depends on including accommodation, which will help pay for on-site leisure facilities.
But the idea has come under fire from rival bidder, Weston businessman Richard Nightingale, whose rival blueprint is entirely leisure focused.
Speaking to the Mercury, Mr Nightingale said he feared public access to the area would be restricted in the future and the site could become ‘another Knightstone Island’.
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The island, opened in 1830 with a theatre and swimming baths, has since been developed with housing and areas have been cordoned off to the public.
Mr Nightingale said: “Havard Tisdale’s designs seems to be essentially permanent residential with a small pool tacked on.
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“The main concern must be that there is no doubt Havard Tisdale’s designs conforms to the North Somerset Council’s tendering proposals.
“These council proposals could condemn the Tropicana to become another Knightstone Island.”
The requirements set out by North Somerset Council for developing the site include a swimming pool of 450sqm – around a third the size of an Olympic-sized pool.
It also hinted that the most viable proposal could be one that includes residential apartments.
Mr Nightingale said: “We have endeavoured to design a scheme that not only meets the needs of the local residents, but also will become a nationwide tourist attraction.
“We expect our designs to contribute nearly �25million a year to the local economy, something that residential flats can never hope to match.”
Havard Tisdale, in defence of the inclusion of apartments and a hotel in its scheme, says it has learned lessons from past failed Tropicana schemes such as Henry Boot’s, which collapsed because of the impact of the recession earlier this year.
A spokesman said: “Havard Tisdale’s proposals shall be the third attempt at redeveloping the site with a scheme that includes a viable and functional public swimming pool.
“It is therefore critical that Havard Tisdale fully demonstrates that the scheme proposed is functional, beneficial to Weston and a viable, deliverable development opportunity both initially and in the future.”
Both parties are to submit final bids to regenerate the council-owned site in early January.
Anyone wanting to comment on Havard Tisdale’s proposal should visit the firm’s consultation page at www.consultation-online.co.uk/tropicana