Why are we giving away a prime location?
PUBLISHED: 09:03 29 January 2007 | UPDATED: 10:32 24 May 2010
ON January 16 I addressed North Somerset Council. The scathing attack I directed at them gave me no pleasure, I was ashamed it had to be said. Everything I said was fact, based on 12 months research, then rubber stamped by the way Tropicana has been hand
ON January 16 I addressed North Somerset Council. The scathing attack I directed at them gave me no pleasure, I was ashamed it had to be said. Everything I said was fact, based on 12 months research, then rubber stamped by the way Tropicana has been handled. I have no problem with any project being undertaken on the Tropicana site. What I have a problem with is the way the whole thing has been handled and the terms of the agreement.Why are we giving away a prime location to a national company when council tax is about to rise?Why was the project pushed through so quickly when so many councillors wanted time to view the implications of the agreement?Why were negotiations concentrated on Boot when there were other interested parties, and Boot had not performed on their earlier commitments?Why is the council committing to include in the giveaway part of the beach lawns, and approximately 1.5 acres of beach? Something not included in any discussion document I have seen.Under the 1972 Act the council can sell off assets at below market value if it feels this is beneficial to the community. The Act also states the amount must not exceed £2million as this kind of agreement is considered a grant to the purchaser or leaser. In my estimation the Tropicana site with outline planning will be worth approximately £5million. The beach and beach lawns is worth another million-and-a-half. In other words the council is giving a grant of £6.5million to Boot to build a project Boot will make further millions out of. This project will not be completed until after 2010. In fact 2013 will be closer to the date. During this period of destruction and construction the beach and adjoining roads will be full of construction traffic. In the best case scenario this could reduce the numbers of visitors by 30 per cent or, according to North Somerset Council tourist income figures, £50million.This site could have been disposed of at the time the council decided it no longer wished to operate it. Several local businessmen offered to take it over and develop it. All were turned down. British companies are adept at squeezing the lifeblood out of central and local government. To do this they employ the best professionals money can buy or as in this case hire ex-Government or council employees. Pitted against them we have ordinary men and women we elect as councillors who are with few exceptions controlled by party politics. The real business is controlled by the officers who for the most part are out of their depth in this new council environment.The real reason the Tropicana was rushed through was that neither Conservative nor Liberal party leaders wanted to have to deal with the problem in the lead up to the election.Once again the council has failed those it is supposed to serve. Some of the best councillors are leaving mainly because the system does not allow them to represent the best interest of the electorate. Councillors of the calibre of David Evans and Crockford-Hawley we cannot afford to lose but will if things continue as they are. JAMES A DOBSON - Swan Close, Weston