Splash-type facility with retractable roof

PUBLISHED: 14:11 09 July 2007 | UPDATED: 11:16 24 May 2010

WITH reference to last week's story on the Tropicana, was Councillor Ap Rees's reference to the legal agreement between North Somerset Council and

WITH reference to last week's story on the Tropicana, was Councillor Ap Rees's reference to the legal agreement between North Somerset Council and Henry Boot being 'a decision made by the previous administration' an attempt to distance himself from the decision or was it an attempt to smear that administration?In order to help avoid any accusation of tampering with the truth may I set the record straight. Until May 3 this year no political party had overall control of the council. All decisions pertaining to the Tropicana were made by differing combinations of ALL parties. Cllr Ap Rees was a member of the relevant working party and was as instrumental as anyone in furthering the Boot proposals, though he had admitted a preference for the failed Mace scheme. I was also a member of that working party, though consistently voiced my strong doubts about the project, doubts which were identical to those expressed about the previous Mace scheme, namely the folly of building ANYTHING of such bulk on the beach. On-site car parking is critical to the economics of this interesting, but ill-placed multi-purpose development. Mace knew that, Boot knows it and so does the council. However, the public quite rightly doesn't want tarmac all over the Beach Lawns, nor does it want a two-deck concrete car park on the beach. The Environment Agency killed off the idea of an underground car park because of flood risk. Is Cllr Ap Rees now telling us the agency no longer objects to subterranean works? If so, what will be sacrificed to finance this very costly change of plan? In full council I proposed that if development were to take place on the Tropicana site it should be a modern splash-type facility with a seasonally retractable roof, which without the addition of hotel, cinema, bowling alley and retail outlets would not create an overbearingly dominant block on the beach. Finance would have come from a ring-fenced element of council tax and proceeds from off-site surplus land sales. Every Liberal Democrat councillor representing Weston wards voted in favour of this but the vote was lost, thanks to the combined effort of others. I am pleased to see our mayor now supporting this concept, but I doubt he has sufficient clout to drag colleagues with him.Creating a basic all-year splash pool on this site has one seemingly insurmountable problem - two-thirds of the councillors represent wards outside Weston and amongst their ranks are to be found all the current political heavyweights and they steadfastly refuse to finance ANYTHING on this site. They don't really mind what is built or how dreadful it might look providing it doesn't affect the pockets of those North Somerset residents who live beyond the borough boundary.Perhaps the only solution is to admit defeat, pull the lot down, return the site to beach and ponder the past hoo-ha. Discuss.JOHN CROCKFORD-HAWLEY - Via email

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