The Tropicana - a brief history

The Tropicana, located south of the Seaquarium, was built in 1937 and became, together with the Grand Pier, one of the major features and attractions on the seafront in Weston-super-Mare. 

The building, consisting of a two-storey dressed Mendip stone Art Deco architecture at the front was first developed as a 950 square metres (10,200 sq ft) swimming pool and included an art deco diving board. 

At the time it had the highest diving board and was the largest open air swimming pool in Europe. When it was opened it was simply known as "The Pool" becoming branded as the Tropicana in 1983. The diving board was demolished in 1982.

In terms of architectural and historic value, the building is of value. It is a Heritage Building within a Conservation Area and originally the diving board was a Listed feature (since removed by the council in 1982).

The closure and previous planning applications

The Tropicana was a popular attraction for many years, but in the latter part of the twentieth century went into decline and was closed in 2000.

Since its closure there have been two major planning applications for the site (Mace Estates and Henry Boot Plc), neither of which were progressed and following a bidding process both Havard Tisdale and Nightingale Group pulled out of taking any plans forward in early 2011. 

In preparation for the recent applications made by the Council to demolish the site, the remaining retail occupiers were required to leave the site.

A dumping ground

In addition, the Council allowed the site to be used by their chosen building contractors for the sea wall defences works, both as offices and as an unlawful waste storage facility. The waste has since been removed by order of the Environment Agency.

The building has not been maintained for an extended period and as a result, there are significant refurbishment works required if any scheme is to retain the Heritage structure.  The building is now in a state of neglect.

Share your memories

If you have any photos or experiences you would like to share regarding the Tropicana's former days of glory we would love to hear them, please contact us.