Bristol

Weston-super-Mare's Tropicana revamp bid fails again

In its 1960s heyday, the Tropicana was the jewel in the seaside resort of Weston-super-Mare's crown.

The Art Deco building attracted thousands of holidaymakers who enjoyed the outdoor swimming pool.

The attraction has since suffered years of neglect as developers have tried - and failed - to revamp it.

Businessman Richard Nightingale was the latest in a long line of developers who wanted to transform the fortunes of the derelict seafront building.

His plans included a swimming pool, ice rink and cinema in an ocean liner-style building.

It was one of four competing designs for the attraction which is within walking distance of the newly revamp Grand Pier.

Image caption Richard Nightingale wanted to create an ocean liner-style attraction

But the scheme has now been scuppered as talks between Mr Nightingale's architects and the council fell through.

His attempt is merely the latest one to hit the buffers.

In 2009, Henry Boot's £48m plans were ditched because the firm said it was no longer in a position to develop the site.

In 2005, a £20m scheme by Mace also collapsed.

It has left the shell of the once grand Tropicana building looking in a sad and sorry state alongside other modernised attractions.

One local councillor recently described it as an "eyesore" adding, "we really do have to get rid of it".

Such is the strength of feeling in the town that hundreds of residents once asked the council to allow the Tropicana to be run as a charitable trust.

The late Richard Whittington appealed for the council to hand over the attraction as Henry Boot's failed attempt to rebuild the Tropicana was in progress.

He gathered a petition featuring 25,000 names saying the firm's plans for the site were "overly grand and out of keeping" with the town.

Mr Whittington once paid his council tax in coppers in protest of the council's handling of the situation.

North Somerset Council said it was "disappointed" at the latest setback for the Tropicana and said the decision was solely that of Mr Nightingale.

A statement from councillor Nigel Ashton, the Conservative-run council's leader, said the row had centred around parking near the Tropicana.

"People should know that the council has never rejected his proposals and senior members were keen to discuss real options for his need to provide parking," he said.

"This included a stand-alone car park development adjacent to the site. However, Mr Nightingale turned down all opportunities to discuss these options."

Mr Nightingale said: "We have worked very hard over the last 14 months to put forward proposals for the redevelopment of the Tropicana that were voted for and supported by the local community.

"I sincerely apologise to residents that we are not able to make our plans a reality."

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