Secretary of State to launch new consultation on Tropicana demolition decision

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By Prue_Reid | Tuesday, January 08, 2013, 19:33

You could almost yawn but a new three week consultation is to be launched by the Secretary of State ahead of a decision on whether to grant permission to demolish Weston's dilapidated Tropicana.

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles is  currently reviewing his decision to grant North Somerset Council conservation consent to demolish the landmark.

The decision came after campaign group Trop (WSM) Ltd appealed against the move, claiming it was flawed.

Mr Pickles announced last month he was to concede the appeal and review his decision.

Mr Pickles will now consult with all those who made comments on the application before making his final ruling on the matter.

The consultation will finish on Thursday, 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.

The plans include refurbishing the building and erecting a new two storey 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.

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

The consortium has also asked for the council sell it the Tropicana for £1 and has pledged to carry out the demolition of the building itself if the scheme is not completed within a three year timescale.

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.

The Tropicana has lay 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.

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