Our Secretary’s Musings – March 2012

My first task is to report that our 2012 annual general meeting was recently held at the Rhos on Sea Cricket Club. I have pleasure in attaching a copy of our chairmans annual report for the preceding 12 months and to record thanks for his valuable work. 2012 Chairman’s Annual Report

First of all, praise , seldom offered, to various councillors. – I applaud their stance in fighting Conwy County Council’s Local Development Plans. Demands that local councils build thousands of new homes, condemning green spaces  so unnecessarily, need to be fought as strongly as possible. I am pleased to see our councillors are doing just that.

Praise , also, to our Councillors for lodging an appeal to reduce the speed limit on  the stretch of Abergele Road in Old Colwyn which is at present 40 mph ( often ignored by motorists ) and which , to prevent some tragedy happening, should be reduced to 30 mph.

Praise, also, to those who persisted in their request for a Zebra pedestrian crossing to be sited in Penrhyn Avenue close to the shops at the bottom of Church Road, Rhos-on-Sea. It has taken much time and hard work to raise the funds for the crossing which has added much needed safety for the many schoolchildren in the area.

Praise must also go to a local councillor who is encouraging the youngsters in Colwyn Bay to read  by turning her very interesting book shop – Swanlake Bookshop on Hawarden Road – into a Library. With so many ‘high-tech.’attractions these days to those of school – age, reading is well down the list of things to do. I hope her efforts prove to be successful , and her public- spirited offer is taken up by many. Her premises have recently seen the introduction of a magnificent wrought iron Victorian- style verandah, similar to those found elsewhere in town – a most attractive improvement.

We joined forces with Councillors by lodging our objections to closure of the Police Station on Rhiw Road. We felt that to move from there to the Head Quarters on the far side of Eirias Park would leave Colwyn Town centre devoid of a police presence – something that needs to be increased, rather than decreased.

We recently also lodged an objection to plans to introduce Help and Re-habilitation services , to those recovering from drug and alcohol abuse, within a building in Station Road , now occupied by the ‘Judge and Jury’ public house, Whilst we appreciate the need for such services and the help they offer, Station Road – the hub of Colwyn Bay’s retail business –  is not the right location for them. We hope the authorities will turn down the application to develop this property in this manner. It is good to read that , at last , the assorted and very dilapidated properties to be found at the site of what used to be the Colwyn Bay Indoor Market have all been acquired by Conwy County Council. The sooner the whole site is raised to the ground in readiness for development , the better. What is built on this site must be architecturally befitting it’s location and offer attractive retail and office accommodation in this important part of town.

In the New Year the Society’s Executive Committee wrote to all Town and County Councillors suggesting ways in which Rhos-on-Sea could be improved and given a 21st century ‘face-lift ‘.Their reply told us that all our suggestions had already been discussed and that the public was to be asked for it’s opinions on it’s ambitious plans. Plans are now afoot to re-develop Rhos Point – to pedestrianise part of Abbey Road and link the green playing areas on either side and to enlarge Rhos Harbour breakwaters, thus creating a safer and larger harbour with more moorings. We also applaud the suggestion that somewhere along the sea-front , from Rhos Point to Rhos Golf Club, a statue of Prince Madoc, or obelisk, be raised to tell the public of this legendary Welsh figure.

The difficulty, of course, is not so much the forward thinking and inspirational plans , but the raising of funds needed to bring it all to fruition. No longer, it seems, is it the case that projects are funded out of Council Tax , and no longer is it the case that our councillors can find the funds for us. Now , apparently, it is up to the community at large, with the assistance of the County Council, to apply for funds from a large variety of sources.A Community Group has recently been formed – The Rhos-on-Sea Environmental Action Group – and I am pleased to report that two of our Executive Committee are part of the ten strong members of the group – all of whom are keen to apply for funds to make much needed improvements to Rhos-on-Sea.

Incidentally , I was invited to a short tour of Rhos by a gentleman who represents the disabled in the area and those who find themselves confined to a wheelchair or ’mobile scooter’.  He pointed out to me dangers and hazards these people are faced with whilst going about their daily lives in what we regard as a pleasant , attractive and caring village. A carer pushing a wheelchair, or an individual trying to make progress on his own, will always find difficulty in travelling from the Aberhod buildings, past the Cayley Arms to the bottom of Rhos Road. Also, trying to go from the Natwest Bank on the corner of Colwyn Avenue down past the shops, Nino’s Café and round the corner to the Post Office is even more difficult. One has to negotiate verandah pillars, café tables and chairs, newspaper stands, rainwater gullies, flower boxes protruding from safety railings and , of course, again in the summer, many, many pedestrians, pushchairs, children and dogs.

At the junction of Penrhyn Avenue and the Promenade there is too much space allowed to traffic ,making it hazardous for wheelchairs to cross from Forte’s Café to the Post Office. Traffic turning into Penrhyn Avenue from the Promenade often does so at speeds dangerous to those caught half way across. If Rhos-on-Sea , in time, is to have huge amounts of money spent on it’s re-development, then the needs of it’s disabled must be met at the same time.

It is good to read in the local press that Llandudno is to undergo a £5 million station restoration. Any seaside town  relying on tourism and visitors needs a station which is attractive – it is the ‘doorway’ to the town. Colwyn Bay’s ‘doorway’ is dismal, dreary. miserable and unwelcoming. The bridge over the tracks from one platform to the other is a disgrace. The whole station, it’s approach from Princes Drive and Station Road, the taxi ranks and parking facilities all convey an uncaring atmosphere of being run-down and neglected.  This Society will continue to push for the authorities to apply for funding , and to treat the whole station area as an urgent aspect of the town’s modernisation and redevelopment.

Dan’s Den ( a charity which deserves the support of all in our community ) – what good news to read that, after over ten years since the tragic death of Daniel Cleverly , the shoddy public toilets  close to the skate park in Eirias Park are soon to be transformed into a café complex, somewhere for youngsters to go, meet up and enjoy when the weather is bad. All praise to the councillors involved and the officials of the charity , for their determination to do something for our youngsters in remembrance of a tragic loss of a young life.

2012 – the centenary of the sinking of the ‘ unsinkable’ Titanic. One of the ship’s  officers , Mr Harold Lowe, showed great courage during this disaster by taking charge of one of the too few  lifeboats and taking on board from the icy waters drowning passengers onto an already packed lifeboat. Harold survived the ordeal and , after a long naval career in which he reached the rank of commander  he eventually died at the age of 61. He is buried in the church yard of Llandrillo -yn -Rhos Parish church in Rhos-on-Sea. In recognition of the centenary, the Civic Society has arranged for all the lettering on Harold Lowe’s grave-stone to be restored to their original condition. A special church service has been arranged at St. Trillo’s Church at 11.00 am on Sunday April 22nd. The service will be held by Rev. D.T. Morgan who is the chaplain to the Mission to Seafarers.  Harold Lowe lived for a short time at the property ‘Bryn Mostyn’ which is on the corner of Mostyn Road and Conway Road opposite Queens Gardens. It would be good if the authorities recognised the act by placing a plaque on this building for all to see.

The Society is saddened to have to record the death of a former founder member , Mr John Lee. The Society was founded in 1972 when the construction of the A55 Expressway through the heart of Colwyn Bay raised grave concerns. The Town is still trying to re-build itself forty years later. John held the position of President of the Society for many years, was tireless in putting the aims and objects of the Society before the authorities and was held in very high regard by his many friends, colleagues and associates. John  maintained his interest to  the end , at the age of 91 , despite suffering severe visual , hearing and health problems.

Finally, our members enjoy a monthly meeting with a hearty meal and an interesting speaker – why not join us .

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