Weston-super-Mare Tropicana campaigners win battle, but demolition war not over
Campaigners trying to save Weston-Super-Mare’s iconic but neglected Tropicana from demolition have welcomed Communities Secretary Eric Pickles’ decision not to contest an appeal they lodged in the High Court.
But the ruling does not mean that the building is safe.
The campaigners, who founded The Trop (WsM) Ltd in hopes of taking over the outdoor leisure pool, were contesting Mr Pickles’ decision to grant North Somerset Council the power – known as conservation area consent – to allow the demolition.
They alleged he had failed to consider the council’s own failure to maintain the building and the deliberate neglect of the site, as well as the damage caused by allowing the site to be used for unlawful waste dumping.
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Planning consultant for The Trop (WsM) Ltd, Amanda Sutherland, said: “The lawyers for the secretary of state are essentially saying they recognise the decisions are flawed and will accept they should be quashed by the court, as well as accepting that they should pay our legal fees incurred in bringing the appeal.
“However, they do not admit that the decision failed to consider the condition of the building but rather they believe that the decision required further reasoning. We have considered this offer from the secretary of state seriously and have decided to accept the consent order.”
Mr Pickles will now be required to reconsider and issue new decisions for the application for conservation area consent to demolish.
The council said: “We must make it clear that there is no suggestion that the council has not followed correct procedures in relation to this matter.
“The High Court challenge was a matter between Trop WsM Ltd and the secretary of state.”
The matter goes before the council’s South Area committee on November 22.
Businessman Derek Mead, who leads the campaign, has appealed to the public to visit www.tropicanawestonsupermare.co.uk to register support.
The Tropicana, which opened in 1937, closed for the final time in September 2000 and the site has deteriorated for a decade.