Secretary of State Eric Pickles is to launch a fresh three-week consultation ahead of making a decision on whether plans to demolish Weston-super-Mare’s dilapidated Tropicana can go ahead.
Mr Pickles is currently reviewing his decision to allow North Somerset Council conservation area consent to demolish the landmark after campaign group Trop (WSM) Ltd appealed against the decision, claiming it was flawed.
Now the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government will consult with all those who made comments on the application before making his final ruling on the matter.
The consultation will finish on January 24.
If he makes a U-turn and refuses consent it will mean the council will be unable to demolish the Tropicana.
But if he stands by his original decision to agree to conservation area consent, the authority could start work to demolish the landmark before the start of the resort’s main tourist season.
Trop (WSM) Ltd has already submitted an outline planning application to redevelop the seafront site into an all-year-round attraction.
Plans – due to be considered by councillors in January – include refurbishing the building and erecting a new two-storey building with a mezzanine floor.
Included in the plans are a 50m indoor competition pool, outdoor pool and separate activity area with changing facilities and a restaurant.
A spokesman for Trop (WSM) Ltd said: “The group would hope the Secretary of State sees its proposal as a sensible alternative to demolition and they would be able to progress the application forward to save the heritage building. If the Secretary of State decides to grant the demolition application the group will take legal advice on how to progress the continued prevention of the demolition proposal.”
North Somerset Council is also consulting on how it intends to demolish the site – at an estimated cost of £700,000 – if permission is granted. However, a decision on the application has been deferred until a ruling is made by the Secretary of State.