SECRETARY’S NEWSLETTER JUNE 2013

What’s On !

I was invited recently to join my sister and her grand-children, who were visiting her from London during half-term. They planned to go to the Harlequin Theatre, just off the promenade , in Rhos-on-Sea. This a charming and unique little theatre which dates back to the 1950’s. It is a classic example of a “one-man band”. The owner ‘Mr Bimbamboozle’ mans the ticket office, puts on an excellent puppet show, then a separate marionette show, does half an hour as a magician in which children in the audience are encouraged to take part, sells you an ice-cream in the interval and, after all this, he is happy to talk to his audience in the foyer and thank them for coming. Should any visitors with young children wanting to give them a happy and entertaining afternoon – and enjoy it themselves, this is the place to go.

This leads me to ponder what else Colwyn Bay and it’s environs can offer both visitors and residents alike – the list is quite substantial : Colwyn Bay now offers a really good, clean beach – even at high tide it is not covered. There is free transport to the Zoo which is very well run, progressive and recognized for it’s high standards of animal welfare. We have the charming, refurbished little Theatre and Cinema which boasts a new state-of-the-art digital projector.

Outdoors, whatever the season, the Bryn and the Pwllycrochan Woods, both nature reserves, offer interesting walks and spectacular views. Eirias Park’s attractions have increased significantly in recent years – indoor swimming, tennis, a skate-boarding area, a new Arena which hosts many sporting events and a National Rugby centre. Music concerts are frequently held there , and in the grounds of the Civic centre can be found a pleasant pool where the Colwyn Bay Model Boat Club sail and hold events.

We have bowling greens, golf clubs, cricket club with visiting National teams and many exciting and well-run children’s play areas. Finally, of course, we have the new Watersports facility, Porth Eirias . As I write , this is not yet fully functional, but the potential is enormous and, in time, will prove a big attraction for all types of visitors to North Wales.

Elation and Disappointment.

I was heartened, yet disappointed by a report in the Weekly News of 30th May 2013. This told me that almost £600,000 had been awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund towards the restoration of Colwyn Bay’s Victoria Pier – thus my elation . From the same report my disappointment was created by the previous pier owner, Mr Hunt, insisting on proceeding to the High Court yet again in an attempt to have him declared the legal owner.

In my excitement at reading of this substantial award I was naive enough to envisage seeing workmen within a few weeks working on the pier, making it look less of an eye-sore. However, I am told that the majority of the money will go to architects, surveyors, business consultants and other professional people who will produce the necessary details and plans to allow the Conwy Council to submit a further application for another £5 million of funds which could help create a new, attractive and sustainable pier.

However, it appears that Mr Hunt is pinning his hopes on a minor legal technicality which, if found to be pertinent, would suggest him to be the owner of the pier after all. Something to do , perhaps, with there being some sort of residence or living accommodation on the pier which has been overlooked during previous judgments.

In the meantime, if Mr Hunt is so keen to be declared the legal owner, it would be interesting to know what his plan of action would be to attempt to make the pier less dismal, forlorn and depressing to look at. He claims he would negotiate a ‘deal’ with Conwy Council that would bring a happy resolution . This suggests he considers there is no way in which he could tackle the piers problems on his own. At present the pier is such a sharp contrast to the new facilities a few hundred yards away at Porth Eirias.

In concluding these notes I can only reiterate what I said in my January 2013 Newsletter – I wish the pier and all those who attempt to determine it’s future as much progress as possible in 2013.

Posted in News & Comments

Society Journal February 2013

Highlights

  1. Mr Mawson and the Zoo
  2. The Wren’s Nest
  3. Rydal Penrhos – The conserver
  4. The Link to Links
  5. Leonard Moseley – Architect
  6. The Pier: the saga continues

Read Journal

Posted in Journals

CBCS Newsletter – Secretary’s Thoughts

The Imperial Hotel Building

I was somewhat astonished at some councillors reactions in September to the planning application to redevelop the delapidated Imperial Hotel Building into seventeen one or two bedroom apartments. “ We want more jobs – not more flats” was their cry . They want this property, in such a prominent location, to be a commercial not residential. They questioned the quality of the proposed seventeen apartments and therefore the quality of any future occupants. As a result they felt this application, if passed, would not fit well with their objectives in the overall redevelopment of Colwyn Bay.
I agree quality is an important issue, but with the Imperial building you can have both jobs and flats. High quality retail units at ground floor level, and high quality apartments above. Who else but the present owner/developer is prepared to bring it back to life?. It was on the market for many moons and big names in retailing had every opportunity to assess it’s potential. There were rumours of Tesco or Waitrose showing interest but apparently not prepared to take it on.
The council will face the same problem when the site of the indoor market on Princess Drive is developed. Will it be commercial, residential, or as rumoured a new civic centre. That would mean that a vital part of the town will “fall dead” after working hours – we want “life after dark” in Colwyn Bay.
On this theme the Weekly News of 3rd January 2013 reports that councillors feel the seventeen flats would hamper their plans to regenerate Colwyn Bay. They feel there are already too many bedsits in Colwyn Bay as it is. I agree that certain areas of Colwyn Bay could well do with being turned into roads or streets of small modern family homes. However, it is all very well complaining about how the owners of the Imperial Hotel building would like to bring it back to life. I would like councillors to tell us just how they think the building should be dealt with. Perhaps they are holding back some brilliant alternative ideas. If they are they are wecome to tell us about them by contacting any of the Society’s officials contact details on our web site.

Victoria Pier Colwyn Bay.

Once again Mr Hunt, (previous owner of the pier) is prolonging the agony of any one being able to decide the future of this forlorn structure. On 7th November 2013 edition of the Pioneer reported that Mr Hunt’s claims of ownership through his mother’s interests in the pier had been rejected by a court in Cardiff. The following December we were told that Mr Hunt was to appeal to the High Court in an attempt to have the decision made by Mr Justice Milwyn Jarmin, QC. overturned. For someone who is a former bankrupt , I would like to ask Mr Hunt where the money is coming from to be able to proceed in this manner. For him to keep grasping at straws in this way is futile. Even if he does regain legal ownership, it would be an unhappy conclusion for the future of the pier. I doubt Mr Hunt has the financial means to improve the pier’s dire situation in any way. I wish the pier and all those who attempt to determine it’s future, satisfactory progress in 2013.

I am pleased to append a copy of our Chairman’s Annual Report for the year 2012/3. This is self explanatory but I would like to record thanks to Don Saunders for his work and time so freely given in service to the Society.

COLWYN BAY CIVIC SOCIETY – Chairmans Report 2012

When gathering together the memories of 2012 my personal thoughts are of the sad loss of my dear wife, Eunice, whose love and care had been the dominant factor in my life for so many years .I must also remember those others who have lost family members, John Lee, a former President of the Society amongst them, who passed away in May.

However, the memories of the Civic Society have included much happier occasions. Again , on a personal level, the camaraderie and friendship shared with members of our executive committee, and their support, particularly during the early months of the year has made things easier for me. The strength of this committee and their hard work has lead to another active and successful year for the Society, for which I wish to take this opportunity to thank them. Activities during the year were many and varied. We sent many letters to reflect the Society’s views to many sources. Early in the year we lodged objection to the proposed closure of the Police station in Rhiw Road and also to the development of the old ‘Judge and Jury pub as a ‘Help and Rehabilitation Service Centre’. This was because we considered the choice of situation in a retail commercial road was wrong, not because we were opposed to the cause or idea. Members of the executive committee became involved in the developments and improvements proposed for Rhos-on-Sea at Rhos point and the promenade leading to it from the village, consideration of which is on-going. We have suggested a site for an obelisk or statue of Prince Madoc, which could be situated along this promenade to inform the public of this legendary Welsh figure and bring interest to the area. The Society is represented on the Rhos-on-Sea Environmental Action Group by three members of the committee. The purpose of the group is to organise the raising of funds to facilitate the advance of the improvements.

Bryn Euryn and also the Pwllycrochan Woods Local Nature Reserves both have Society representatives on their committees. The consultation by the Betsy Cadwallader Health Board considering the reorganisation of services in this area has been followed by myself and other committee members. Meetings have been attended and a letter of protest regarding the proposed closing of the Minor Injuries Unit at Colwyn Bay Hospital was sent to the authority. More recently a letter of welcome and suggestions for improvements in Police Services has been sent to the new Police and Crime Commissioner, Mr Winston Roddick We are awaiting a reply.

On the centenary in 2012 of the sinking of the Titanic, on which one of the ship’s officers, Mr Harold Lowe, showed great courage in assisting drowning passengers on to a packed lifeboat, the Society recognized this action by arranging and paying for the lettering on his gravestone at St. Trillo Church to be restored to the original condition.

Many other activities have taken place, but the one which was most commendable by one of the Society’s members was the work of raising funds for Robert Owen House. Mrs Dorothy Lowe had an idea and immediately put it into action by organizing, with other members, a Garden Party. When this proved very successful she started inviting people to dinner at her home , the charge going to the cause’s funds. This was almost weekly from July to December – and the meals were excellent. What an effort it was – and in December a substantial check was presented to our Prof. Bob Owen , after whom the House is named. I must now limit my report on the year’s activities and the many causes your executive committee has been involved in, but I must mention the excellent monthly meetings of the Society. Our speaker secretary, Tom Wyatt with the help of Bob Owen have provided an exceptional programme of speakers – too many good ones to pick just one. Thank you both for your efforts.

I also must thank again all the members of the Executive Committee , our President Graham Roberts, and the mainstay of the committee, Jim Lowe ,who have all served the Society so well. Dave Smith and his son must be thanked for their work in maintaining our excellent website. All members who have been active in work for the society are appreciated and we, the Executive Committee, would always welcome volunteers to offer their services. The staff of the Colwyn Bay Cricket Club, who look after us so well, are last to receive my thanks – but certainly not least ! I believe we have had another successful year and look forward to 2013 with optimism.

Donald Saunders
Chairman.

Posted in News & Comments

CBCS Newsletter – Secretary’s Thoughts

As I write these notes there is some good news, – and some bad news – and overwhelming frustration. One piece of good news is that the Rhos-on-Sea Environment Action Group – made up of some County Councillors and other public-spirited persons, including representatives of the Civic Society – is , hopefully , en route to raising funds to vastly improve Rhos Park , which stretches from Penrhyn Avenue up to Elwy Road. There are plans to renew the children’s playing equipment , to restore the badly neglected tennis court, put new high fencing in place and generally improve the paths and ‘greenway’. The children and teenagers of Rhos deserve a safe , high standard , area in which to take some fresh air and exercise. This application for funds to provide these facilities needs to succeed.

Another nugget of good news – our County Councillors are also hopeful of finding funding to erect a sculpture in Rhos of the legendary Prince Madoc – who , it is believed , sailed from Rhos in the 12th Century to land in Mobile U.S.A. Printed below is a copy of a letter sent by the Society in support of the latter project. If brought to fruition it will add interest and attraction to tourists and residents alike.

Copy of letter to Cllr. David Roberts

Copy of letter to Cllr. David Roberts

The bad news is the fact that the Colwyn Bay Minor Injuries Unit is earmarked for closure and transferred to Llandudno. This is totally unacceptable.

Copy of letter to the Betsi Cadwallader Health Council (word document)

AND – the overwhelming frustration – the Daily Post of August 18th tells us that , yet again, there is delay in deciding “WHO OWNS THE PIER ?” We are told to wait until November or December for a final decision. My view is that if a project goes ’ bust’ , your money is lost – end of story. Can a lawyer explain to me whether this approach is incorrect ? Please use our website contact procedure to comment. Many Thanks.

Jim Lowe, Secretary.

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