Tropicana poll will cost town £20,000

THOUSANDS of pounds will be wasted asking Weston residents about the Tropicana's future, the town council says. The authority has put plans for a Worle play area on

THOUSANDS of pounds will be wasted asking Weston residents about the Tropicana's future, the town council says.The authority has put plans for a Worle play area on hold after the sudden news that it will have to foot the £20,000 bill for a parish poll on the troubled pool.Activists were due to enact legislation from the 1970s to force North Somerset Council to carry out the referendum, probably in late November or early December.Leading councillors say the poll will have no teeth and laid into organisers Councillor David Evans and the North Somerset Community Association, which has just changed its name from the North Somerset Community Action Party.Town council leader Robert Payne said: "An archaic piece of legislation means just 10 electors can force a poll to take place. The cost will fall on the town council and the outcome will be binding on nobody."The council does not have this cash lying around and it will mean that other services and facilities will have to be cut. This is the real cost of holding a poll which will achieve nothing."The town council has no responsibility or say over the future of the Tropicana, which is wholly owned by North Somerset Council."North Somerset Council's head lawyer Malcolm Nicholson confirmed the poll is not legally binding and would not affect Tropicana negotiations with developer Henry Boot.Leading Liberal Democrats Mike Bell and John Crockford-Hawley also said the poll would be a waste of time and money.Cllr Bell said: "There's no point holding a poll, we all want a pool. The argument is about how best we get one."It would be mad to pull out of negotiations with Henry Boot if it can deliver. What we've got to do is make sure it pulls its finger out and gets on with it."Councillor David Evans defended the poll, saying: "The intention was never to put a cost on the people of Weston, but to alert North Somerset Council about people's feelings over its handling of the Tropicana."The £20,000 cost is to cover expenses including running polling stations, conducting the count and announcing the result.


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