PUBLICATION OF HERITAGE TRAILS
On Friday 19th March 2010 we shall be formally launching publication of the Societies Heritage Trails for Colwyn Bay. The event is scheduled for 6-00 pm at the Town Hall, Colwyn Bay and Society members and the public are invited to attend. Considerable time and effort has gone into production of the 12 illustrated walks with production costs being funded through a lottery grant. It is intended that copies of the booklet will be available to the public free of charge and all our members will receive a copy in due course. We are also reviewing the possibility of putting these on line for down load thus broadening public accessibility.
It has taken some considerable time to bring this project to fruition and we hope members agree it has been worth the wait.
We are pleased to record that plans to graze areas of the Bryn have now been dropped. This came about following a meeting between management and the " Bryn Users Association" when the idea of controlled grazing was the subject of a frank discussion. The issue of grazing has been somewhat contentious and attracted the interest and presence at the meeting of Darren Miller, AM. and David Jones, MP. One other outcome is that in future the newly formed “Users Association” will have representation on the Bryn Euryn Management Committee.
A NEW HOTEL FOR COLWYN BAY
In the last Newsletter we referred to the proposed demolition of the Railway Terrace Cottages and erection of a Hotel. We now have confirmation of this development that will give much needed hotel accommodation in central Colwyn Bay. We welcome this development but reserve further comment pending further details.
The plan to develop the sporting facilities in general and establish a centre of excellence for North Wales Rugby is a major boost for the town. In connection with this are the proposals to relocate the council offices from the Civic Centre into central Colwyn Bay This move would release the present listed building for development into a high class hotel and as such would be a major benefit for Colwyn Bay.
COLWYN BAY PIER
Our views on the pier have already been made public and we feel it is imperative action is taken soon to either start restoration or demolition of an eye sore blighting the sea front of Colwyn Bay. Perhaps the issue took a step nearer to resolution when a public meeting was held in the Town Hall on the 22 January 2010, attended by an estimated 400 people. The meeting was convened to gage public opinion and explore options for the piers future. The fate of the pier is high in the public’s mind attracting a high turn out and not all who attended could be accommodated in the hall itself. Undoubtedly the fate of the pier is central to the regeneration of the promenade and there was considerable frustration expressed in the meeting at the lack of progress. Despite the pier being under the control of the Receiver pending resolution of a legal situation there was clear and overwhelming support to regenerate the pier. For what purpose and use was less clear and in our view to have any hope of attracting funding there needs to be a clearly identified end use and costed project.
It is the view of this Society that a project needs to have a clear purpose and use that engages and benefits the whole community. The newly opened Scala Cinema and Community Arts Centre in Prestatyn is a prime example of what a community can achieve if it is focused and united in purpose. To some extent there is a commonality in that like the pier when the old Scala Cinema closed a campaign for it’s reopening was started. This was achieved and now the community is served by a state of the art digital cinema and arts centre this having been achieved with regeneration and council funding.
During the meeting there were several expressions of financial support for a charity based project and it is gratifying to see the degree of public support for a restoration project. What is much less clear is how a project can be funded both before and after restoration. Restoration and maintenance costs are bound to be high and it was suggested from the floor that a scheme could cost 7 to 8 million pounds. That is a considerable sum of money that would need to be raised in the community and from other funding sources.
The meeting urged Mr Hunt the original pier owner now involved in litigation, to facilitate resolution of his legal dispute since nothing can be done until ownership of the pier is clear. It also resolved as a first step to seek ways of setting up a Charitable Company to take the process forward. The meeting closed by resolving to seek a formal meeting with the council to seek a positive way forward.
As previously noted there are ambitious and most welcome plans to regenerate the promenade and at the same time improve the sea defences. We are most interested to learn of feasibility study into construction of offshore lagoons to exploit the high tidal range along the North Wales Coast for generating electricity. Other benefits include being a first line coastal sea defence and creation of a sheltered lagoon with the potential to develop marinas and water sport amenities. We understand a charitable company has been formed to test the feasibility of a project.
It is with appreciation that we record Brian service to this society. Brian relinquished his role of chairman over 2 years ago. Although he has left the Societies area he remains an honorary member and we are pleased to record that he also remains our Vice President. Brian continues to contribute to this Society albeit in a reduced role and we look forward to more of his ready wit and advise when attending future meetings. Brian is held in high regard by our membership and the many others affected by his unstinting work for the community. This was evident at the surprise farewell party when accommodation available was insufficient for the numbers wishing to attend.
We record his past service with thanks and wish him well for the future.
BOOK LAUNCH, Colwyn Bay, Then And Now. by Graham Roberts
Graham Roberts new book is now available in local shops including W.H. Smith. Members of this society will already be familiar with Graham’s articles in our Journal and will know of his intimate and extensive knowledge of local history.
It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words and using this truism and drawing on his own extensive photographic collection Graham has produced a book pictorially contrasting the changes in Colwyn Bay through time. This book is highly recommended whether for casual interest or as a more serious insight into our town and its history.