Plans to redevelop Weston-super-Mare’s dilapidated Tropicana are being recommended for approval – but the fight to redevelop the landmark is still far from over.
Councillors are due to meet next week to discuss plans by campaign group Trop (WSM) Limited to turn the one time seaside landmark into an all year round attraction. But although council officers are recommending the scheme – which would include an outdoor and indoor pool – be approved, the battle to redevelop the Tropicana has not been won.
As owners of the building, North Somerset Council still needs to grant landlord’s consent for any development to go ahead.
North Somerset Council executive member for asset management, Councillor Tony Lake, said: “Although the council owns the site, it has not put in this planning application. Anybody can put in a planning application for someone else’s land but, even if they get planning permission, they can’t go ahead with it unless they have the landowner’s consent.
“The council has two hats here – one as the planning authority and one as the landowner.
“The planning application has to be considered purely on planning grounds.
“The financing and deliverability of a scheme is not a consideration when deciding whether to grant planning permission.
“However, these are matters we do take into account when considering landowner’s consent.
“We have always said we would welcome a viable scheme on this site, but so far Trop (WsM) Ltd have not demonstrated that their proposed scheme is either viable or deliverable.”
The application comes at the same time as the council is waiting to hear whether it can move forward with plans to demolish the landmark.
Secretary of State Eric Pickles is currently reviewing his decision to grant the authority conservation area consent after Trop (WSM) Ltd appealed against the decision, claiming it was flawed.
A decision is expected in the coming weeks.
If Mr Pickles upholds his decision it will give the authority the green light to knock the building down, at an estimated cost of £700,000.
The Tropicana has been vacant for 12 years and more recently has been used as a storage depot by contractors Birse during a £29 million project to enhance the resort’s sea defences.
There have been several attempts to bring the Tropicana back to life over the last several years – each of which has failed.