Tropicana plans approved by councillors
By Prue_Reid | Friday, February 22, 2013, 14:10
EXCITING plans to redevelop Weston-super-Mare's dilapidated Tropicana have been given the green light.
How the redeveloped Tropicana could look.
Councillors unanimously approved plans by campaign group Trop(WSM) Limited at a meeting last night to turn the one time seaside landmark into an all year round attraction.
But although councillors have approved the scheme, which includes an outdoor and indoor pool, is approved the battle to redevelop the Tropicanais still far from over.
As owners of the building, North Somerset Council still needs to grant landlord's consent for any development to go ahead.
Trop (WSM) Ltd has been campaigning for over a year now for the opportunity to work in partnership with the council to refurbish the site.
The planning approval comes at the same time as the council is waiting to hear whether it can move forward with plans to demolish the landmark
Secretary of State Eric Pickles is currently reviewing his decision to grant the authority conservation area consent after Trop (WSM) Ltd appealed against the decision, claiming it was flawed.
A decision is expected in the coming weeks.
If Mr Pickles upholds his decision it will give the authority the green light to knock the building down, at an estimated cost of £700,000
However the scheme to rebuild the one time landmark has won support from English Heritage.
Trop(WSM) Ltd planning consultant, Amanda Sutherland, said: "English Heritage see demolition as an option which would be detrimental and would cause substantial harm to the conservation area'.
Councillors at the meeting congratulated and praised The Trop (WsM) Ltd for its perseverance with continuing the campaign to save the site and indicated that the executive members should now actively engage with the group to move this application forward.
North Somerset Council executive member for asset management, Councillor Tony Lake, said: "Although the council owns the site, it has not put in this planning application.
"Anybody can put in a planning application for someone else's land but, even if they get planning permission, they can't go ahead with it unless they have the landowner's consent.
"The council has two hats here - one as the planning authority and one as the landowner.
" The planning application has to be considered purely on planning grounds.
"The financing and deliverability of a scheme is not a consideration when deciding whether to grant planning permission.
"However, these are matters we do take into account when considering landowner's consent.
"We have always said we would welcome a viable scheme on this site, but so far Trop (WsM) Ltd have not demonstrated that their proposed scheme is either viable or deliverable."
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.