Tropicana saved - Eric Pickles confirms

PUBLISHED: 13:00 06 September 2013

Views of the Tropicana building.

Views of the Tropicana building.

Archant

WESTON'S Tropicana could make a 'greater contribution' to the area if restored, according to the Secretary of State.

Secretary for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles released his decision to save the former pool last night (Thurs).

The news was quickly tweeted by Weston’s MP John Penrose who said: “The Trop has been saved. Just got confirmation from Minister who decided demolition can’t go ahead and told Derek Mead the news. Let’s get building.”

The decision on whether North Somerset Council will knock down the seafront site had been awaited by the town’s residents and councillors for more than three months.

It now paves the way for developer Derek Mead and his group Trop (WSM) Ltd to carry out his redevelopment plan.

The decision letter says: “The Secretary of State considers that whilst the building is in poor condition, it currently contributes to the character of the conservation area and could make a greater contribution including in relation to the appearance of that area if restored but that its removal would be of less than substantial harm.

“The Secretary of State also considers that the refurbishment of the Tropicana would preserve and enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area.”

Trop (WSM) Ltd has already been granted planning permission by the authority but still needs to get landowner consent from North Somerset to put its redevelopment plan into action.

The group released its plans to revamp the site last year, which includes building an Olympic-sized swimming pool, shops and restaurants, creating an all-weather facility.

The decision letter also states the evidence on whether or not the planning permission to refurbish the Tropicana represents a viable alternative is ‘finely balanced’ and that there are a number of ‘outstanding issues in this respect.’

Mr Pickles also acknowledged that there may be a change of circumstances in the future and the Trop saga may come to a point where ‘demolition is the only real practical option available.’

A statement from North Somerset Council’s executive was released this morning (Fri) stating: “We welcome the clarification from the Secretary of State and note that he recognises that circumstances might result in consideration of a further application for demolition.

“We can now move forward and try again to identify viable proposals from the private or community sector which properly meet EU regulations and the needs of visitors and residents.

“Other options have already been under consideration during this hiatus and we will continue to progress these until we can make a decision.”

Pick up a copy of Thursday’s Mercury for all of the detail on Mr Pickles’ decision as well as comments and interviews from all of the parties.

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