'Viable' Trop plan from 'bad guy' developers

PUBLISHED: 09:00 29 November 2010

Views of the Tropicana building with fencing and Birse contractors vehicles in forground. Weston Sea Front.; 17-11-09

Views of the Tropicana building with fencing and Birse contractors vehicles in forground. Weston Sea Front.; 17-11-09

Archant

DEVELOPERS challenging to revamp the Tropicana say they are not afraid of attracting a 'bad guy' image if it means coming up with a realistic approach to rebuilding the former attraction.

Havard Tisdale this week broke its silence two months after the firm was confirmed as the rival bidder to Weston businessman Richard Nightingale for the prestigious scheme.

But rather than brandishing lavish designs of multi-million water parks, partners Peter Tisdale and John Havard say they are exploring ‘viable and sustainable’ ways to deliver a site regeneration.

In an interview with the Mercury, the pair said they were excited at the prospect of redeveloping the swimming pool attraction.

But, they said the pool would not go further than filling 50 per cent of the site and other mixed leisure uses would have to be bought in to pay for the facility.

Neither ruled out apartments and a hotel as possible elements to complement the pool, which must be at least 450sqm.

Peter Tisdale said: “A swimming pool will not fund the project on its own – so our challenge is to find other uses for the site which will add value and make the scheme viable.

“We want to be straight-talking and say we want to provide the council and public in Weston with something which will work, not just for a few years, but 20-30 years.

“We’re not here to tell the public what they want to hear, we are hear to come up with a scheme which has the best chance of success.

“We realise we are doing this differently to the other bidder and we are going to be seen as the bad guys, but we think people would prefer to have a seafront swimming pool mixed with other uses, than nothing at all.”

The firm admits it has no finalised drawing of its idea for the site because 
it does not yet know what it will contain.

A list of ideas is still being investigated by the directors to see what would work best with the swimming pool.

The firm has said it will unveil a shortlist of ideas at a public exhibition next month.

The pair say they are also watching closely what goes in the planned Dolphin Square redevelopment by McLaren Life.

Mr Tisdale said: “This ticks all the boxes for us, how many sites are there like this which offers such a unique opportunity?

“Weston is up and coming with exciting development, and we really want to be part of that.”

The company, which has seven years of experience, says it is still unclear about the cost of the project, which would be funded by bank cash and equity.

As well as converting a series of disused buildings, it has key ongoing regeneration projects in Bournemouth and Torquay.

Both Havard Tisdale and Richard Nightingale submitted activity plans as part of the tendering process for the site by North Somerset Council.

A decision on who will win the contract will be made in the New Year.

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