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Weston-super-Mare Tropicana rescue plan submitted by consortium

By The Bristol Post  |  Posted: November 02, 2012

  • An aerial view of the dilapidated Tropicana at Weston-super-Mare

  • The Tropicana at Weston-super-Mare

  • Outside the Tropicana at Weston-super-Mare

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Campaigners fighting to stop the demolition of Weston-super-Mare’s dilapidated Tropicana have submitted plans to redevelop the site.

Consortium Trop (WSM) Ltd – led by local businessman Derek Mead – has submitted an outline planning application to North Somerset Council to redevelop the seafront site.

The outline plans include refurbishing the Tropicana and erecting a new two story building with a mezzanine floor.

Included in the plans are a 50-metre indoor competition pool, outdoor pool and separate activity area with changing facilities and a restaurant.

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There are plans for shops to be included along with a spa and a temporary music stage.

The consortium has asked for the council to transfer the ownership of the Tropicana to it for £1 and has pledged to carry out the demolition of the building itself if the scheme is not completed within three years.

Planning consultant Amanda Sutherland said: “The proposal delivers a replacement leisure facility on previously developed land and retains a characteristic landmark building within a conservation area.

“The site is currently at risk of being lost, with permission granted for demolition.

“Being sited within the seafront area adjacent to the town centre will enhance the focus on town centre offerings and complement the historic fabric of the town while increasing visitor numbers contributing to economic improvements.”

Campaigners say the redevelopment of the Tropicana would also provide new jobs for local people and offer additional health and fitness facilities for local people.

They say a redeveloped Tropicana would bring extra visitors into the town and help boost the local economy.

Ms Sutherland added: “The proposed leisure development will contribute to the vibrancy and vitality of the town centre and is in the most suitable location with easy access by public transport.

“The beach is one of the town’s principal assets.

“This proposal retains the existing building footprint without jeopardising the link between old and new on the seafront, significantly enhancing one of the town’s greatest assets.”

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles approved a decision by the authority this summer to demolish the one time landmark and return the area to beach.

But Trop (WSM) Ltd appealed against the Government’s decision and now the High Court has granted an injunction preventing the building from being demolished until the appeal is heard on November 29.

The move means no work on demolishing the Tropicana can take place until a ruling is made at the hearing.

A consultation on the methods to be used for the demolition of the Tropicana – expected to cost in the region of £700,000 – will now go out to public consultation.

A final report is expected to go back before the authority’s south area committee for approval within the next eight weeks.

The Tropicana has lain 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 have failed.

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