Tropicana group will press ahead
Campaigners say they will press forward with proposals to develop Weston-super-Mare's Tropicana after council plans to demolish it were rejected.
North Somerset Council has been told that the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, has refused to grant Conservation Area Consent which would allow it to knock down the one time landmark.
Mr Pickles initially granted the authority consent to demolish the Tropicana but he was forced to review his decision after campaign group Trop (WSM) Ltd – which wants to redevelop the Tropicana – appealed against the decision.
In his decision to the council, Mr Pickles said that while demolition was in accordance with the authority's local plan policies, the Tropicana made a positive contribution to the conservation area and to demolish it would cause more harm that retaining it.
Council chiefs had initially hoped – if permission was granted – to knock down the landmark ahead of the 2013 tourist season. Trop (WSM) Ltd – headed by local businessman Derek Mead – secured outline planning permission in February to redevelop the seafront site into an all-year-round attraction. The group plans to refurbish the building and erecting a new two-storey building with a mezzanine floor, 50-metre indoor competition pool, outdoor pool and separate activity area with changing facilities and a restaurant. There are also plans for shops, a spa and a temporary music stage.
Mr Mead, who was recently elected as a councillor, said: "All I hope now is that common sense prevails and we can sit down and discuss with the executive a way forward. The people of Weston are very much behind us in redeveloping and re-opening the Tropicana."
Trop (WSM) Ltd planning consultant Amanda Sutherland said: "We are relieved the Secretary of State has recognised the merits of the alternative scheme we submitted on behalf of Trop(WSM) Ltd."