GOODRINGTON'S flagship Quaywest water park complex could be closed for business next summer.
But it is hoped to open some parts of the Goodrington seafront facilities, including shops and go karts, to help soften the blow for local businesses.
Torbay Council is currently negotiating to take back the 60-year lease of the complex closed by boss Nigel Cousens in September.
Mr Cousens said he decided to shut the water park permanently after 15 years because for the last three years he had to pump in £100,000 a season to prop up the attraction.
In September Mr Cousens warned he may face putting the management company into administration if Torbay Council did not accept the keys back.
However mayor Nick Bye said at the time he was determined that the complex would not 'be left to rust for the summer'. He is currently on holiday.
His deputy Kevin Carroll said: "We are still negotiating. But if we do take the Quaywest keys back we have the option of demolishing it, mothballing it or running it ourselves. But running it ourselves could leave us open to public liability and health and safety issues which will have to be looked at.
"I remember when the car park used to be packed. But theme parks need to update and Quaywest never really did which I think is why this has happened.
"But we hope to have the go karts and the shops open, there is still the pub, the beach, and other food outlets. Goodrington should still be a good attraction for visitors."
Steve Parrock, chief executive of Torbay Development Agency which is handling the negotiations, said: "It does seem likely that the council will take a surrender of the lease shortly. Before it does so it needs to ensure the site is secure and safe.
"Mr Cousens has permanent security in place throughout the year. The authority is looking at what alternative security needs to be put in place when it takes over.
"It is negotiating with Mr Cousens and some work has to be done before we take back the facilities. We will not be pursuing non payment of rent.
"We will be endeavouring to enable some aspects of the water park, such as the go kart operation and shop, to reopen. We will be doing our best to find tenants where necessary so it will be business as usual, with the exception of the waterpark itself, next season."
Mr Parrock said as a result of the water park closure they are giving higher priority to the Clennon Valley/Goodrington scheme in the Mayoral Vision.
Last year, the council refused to offer Mr Cousens exclusive rights to go ahead with a £100million masterplan to create a resort with restaurants, hotel and apartments at the water park.
Mr Cousens, who also owns The Boathouse Tavern and Grill, Dawlish Warren, is continuing to develop luxury holiday apartments at Goodrington which were part of his original plans.
He said: "This has been going on for some months and I am waiting to have a meeting with the council, probably this month, to get it sorted.
"I will concentrate on my other leisure businesses, my redevelopment and then take stock at the end of the summer, see whether we have come out of the economic downturn, which I doubt, and go on from there.
"Life moves on, I gave my very best, but it wasn't to be so you dust yourself off and move on."
Chairman of Paignton Chamber of Trade Christian Seiflow Moran said it was a 'great shame' the water park would be closed.
"It is a major draw for the area. I think it needs redeveloping, it seems rather tired and old.
"When someone comes forward with a proposal for investment and saying they have the money, we should think long and hard before turning them away, especially in this economic climate.
"I understand the council has some interested developers but we can only hope it comes to fruition. It needs doing as a matter of urgency."
Lee Fleming, who with his wife Sheila, runs the Seaford Sands guest house in Roundham Road, overlooking Goodrington, said it would be bad news for some of the families who stay with them in the height of summer.
"If it stays shut it will be a bit of a blow for the area. It always seemed to be popular though there was always the problem that it was open to the weather.
"If they could update it and cover it that would be good, otherwise we need something that will be open all year round."
At the height of the season the eight flume water park employed 100 people.
The management company, Freetime Leisure Management Ltd, has taken on the 10 full-time members of staff employed.
Torbay Council will be advertising across Europe for potential developers for a series of proposals stretching from near Paignton Zoo down to Goodrington seafront.
It has been revealed that one of the developers already interested has come up with the idea of a sports stadium in Clennon Valley and has talked to Torquay United, though club bosses say it is far too early to seriously consider the proposal.
Whitbread is already considering an extension to its Inn on the Quay at Goodrington for a hotel.