Poll

What should be done with Colwyn Bay Pier?

Demolish it
Carry out basic renovation (spend up to 5m)
Carry out comprehensive renovation, including all buildings (spend up to 10m)

Author Topic: The long running saga of Colwyn Bay Pier  (Read 157557 times)

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DaveR

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The long running saga of Colwyn Bay Pier
« Reply #-1 on: September 20, 2010, 06:44:45 PM »
Already featured in our 'Local Eyesores' section, I feel the future of the Pier is such a major issue in Colwyn Bay that it deserves its own thread. Has it already reached the pint at which an economic renovation is unfeasible or could a dedicated band of volunteers wrest control from the Administrators and begin the slow process of repair?

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Nearly 40 years separate these two photos of Colwyn Bay Pier....

The top one, taken in the early 1970s, shows a bustling pier with Golden Goose Entertainments (Admission Free!), Dixieland Palace Showbar with Cabaret & Dancing, The Lincoln Suite (whatever that is?) and Golden Fry Restaurant.

Today's photo shows a closed and shuttered pier. A cheap looking extension was built onto the front of the Golden Goose sometime in the 1980s, with the Golden Goose itself becoming a combined amusements/cafe/bar area. The Dixieland Showbar (later CJs) and Golden Fry Restaurant both closed in the late 1980s and the pavilion building (to the right) they were housed in is falling further into decay. Even the ornamental turrets have gone from the roof towers! The pier's owner, Steve Hunt, was made bankrupt in 2008 by Conwy County Borough Council in a spat over unpaid rates and the pier has remained closed ever since.

Fester

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Re: The long running saga of Colwyn Bay Pier
« on: September 20, 2010, 11:34:41 PM »
For what its worth ...I believe that if the powers that be in the re-generation committee want a pier there, they will throw money at it.

If they set there fac against it,  it will be gone ...almost instantly.

The recent engineering survey showed that the Ironwork is in suprisingly good condition.  That in itself should be the basis of keeping it, and re-inventing it.

But....I'm pessimistic.


Fester...
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Indigo

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Re: The long running saga of Colwyn Bay Pier
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2010, 06:22:03 PM »
Good news that the engineering survey shows the ironwork to be in good condition. A testimony to Victorian craftsmen and another reason to retain the pier.
There is a foundry in Yorkshire that have the capability of replicating original cast iron mouldings. They can also manufacture tie-bars. All at a price but at least we know the work can still be done.

I still think that giving the superstructure a facelift is job one.  It may be that a new superstructure is required; but for this moment in time a paint job will suffice to remove the tired look.

Might I ask who actually owns it now?  Is it Mr. S. Hunt or some other party?  Whilst the legal challenges are still dragging on the pier is deteriorating. I hope these delays are not being orchestrated with the view that the pier will, in time, be scheduled for demolition.

The pier in is private ownership and is (supposedly) not eligible for an EU grant.
Whilst the local council are getting excited about renovating Colwyn Bay and its environs with buckets of cash from the EU, the pier might be problematic in the grand scheme. In my view the pier is a focal point in Colwyn Bay and cannot be left out of the scheme.  No, this pier belongs to the people of Colwyn Bay and must be kept that way. I think a lot more voices are required to rally the cause.




DaveR

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Re: The long running saga of Colwyn Bay Pier
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2010, 06:50:36 PM »
Good post, Indigo, and welcome to the Forum!  :)

The issue of ownership is a thorny one. Since Mr Hunt was made bankrupt, the pier has been in the hands of Administrators who, I've no doubt, would dearly love to get it off their hands as soon as possible. I've seen mention of a minimum price of 10,000 in order to recover their expenses so far. There is both a Pier Steering Group and a Victoria Pier Pressure Group set up, but progress seems to be painfully slow.

I would be in favour of a community group buying the pier from the Administrators and it being run as a community venture. The Pier was the hub of Colwyn Bay social life up until the 1970s and it could now perform that role again, along with providing a host of attractions for visitors and locals alike, eg. cafe, bar, amusements, childrens rides, small concert venue, exhibition hall. The restoration process could really bring the community together and provide training in various building skills, along with work for small businesses in the area.

You're quite right in saying that a good coat of paint would transform the exterior of the buildings for a couple of years until more permanent repairs could be carried out.  The strategy for a community group should be to try and get the main building at the entrance looking smarter and reopening all of the facilities/attractions within, thus generating the cashflow to begin other work. Members on this forum have, in the past, suggested a market in the old Ballroom as a way of initially generating revenue and bringing people back onto the pier.

ormegolf

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Re: The long running saga of Colwyn Bay Pier
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2010, 08:58:50 PM »
Personally I find the saddest thing about the pier in its present state is the five, maybe six large signs for everyone to see ---- "O P E N."   Could someone, anyone, get a bucket of paint and wipe these out.  Mike

DaveR

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Re: The long running saga of Colwyn Bay Pier
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2010, 09:31:33 PM »
A rarely seen aerial shot of the Pier in its current state, as taken by our very own Mike Owen:
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Indigo

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Re: The long running saga of Colwyn Bay Pier
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2010, 06:56:49 PM »
Thanks for the welcome DaveR.

Ah! so its back to money again. Whilst I agree that Mr. Hunt must feel aggrieved to be treated so shabbily he will have a monumental task of regaining his investment. To my mind he bought the pier for two reasons - he likes piers, as most of us do, and he wants to make money from his dream. Nothing wrong with that. However if he is bankrupt he will only be able to help and advise the volunteers and I am sure that the community would go along with all his suggestions.

He has done more than most in taking a chance in the purchase of the pier. He must have got caught because he had two square inches of unaccounted floor space that the council decided they needed a 'business rate' for.

If the administrators want rid then an appropriate fee (less an amount to recover the cost of recovering the onset of deterioration whilst it was in administration) should be proposed. The figure of 10,000 to recover costs is probably correct but looking at the pier after over a year of neglect it would seem that it would take 12,000 to fix - I may be cheaper to have the administrators pay for recovering the pier to the same point as it was when Mr. Hunt was so rudely bankrupted.  Anyway we all know it 'aint going to happen and the fat-cats will still make money out of it.

DaveR you mentioned two groups the Pier Steering Group and a Victoria Pier Pressure Group. I don't know much about them. Hmm ! - not totally in favour in having separate groups trying to do the same job form different angles. I have been there before and it never worked then.  When there is more than one there are always choices and disagreements and it gets so tedious and time wasting.
Steering Group and Pressure Group ??  I think it must be me but it doesn't sound very positive. The word action is missing. I am sure they are doing good work behind the scenes. Pity they don't post here.

Moving on. Is it not possible to generate revenue by accepting donations. All donors will have their name entered in the roll book (not the donation amount) and possibly a certificate to say they have helped the pier. Additionally those who have donated will be allowed a small discount on the pier attractions.

Those guys with their jet skies would donate because I an sure they would just love to have an affiliation with the pier.

If 10,000 people donated 1 it would be nearly there. Better still if 2000 people donated 5 - Something needs to be done and quickly.  Ooops! do we have to put all these ideas before the two groups.

@Mike. The first can of paint should be used to wipe out the sign - maybe you could do that.

I've rambled on to long.   See you again soon. Bye. . ...



DaveR

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Re: The long running saga of Colwyn Bay Pier
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2010, 08:34:59 PM »
What I never quite understood is why Steve Hunt didn't just pay the disputed amount of rates back in 2008 and then sue them to get it back. I believe the disputed amount was only about 5000, yet Mr Hunt has now lost practically everything, as the pier that he paid 100000 for is pretty much worthless, not to mention out of his control.

The Steering Group was set up by David Jones MP at the second public meeting to try and break the impasse surrounding the pier. Why there needs to be a separate Pressure Group, I'm not quite sure? One focussed group would be far more effective, I'd have thought and the model for them to follow is definitely that of the group working to save Hastings Pier:
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I'm told that things are happening 'behind the scenes' with these groups but newsflow seems to be very sparse - I feel that the momentum achieved with the two public meetings has been pretty much lost as nothing has happened in the 3 or 4 months since.

And every day that passes, the pier decays a little more. The pier survived the storms last Winter but it is only a matter of time before there is a structural failure of some sort. I've been saying it for the last couple of years but time really is running out...  :(

ormegolf

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Re: The long running saga of Colwyn Bay Pier
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2010, 08:43:28 PM »
Going back to the photo of the pier, I'm described as "our very own Mike Owen."  This brought a tear or two to my eye----its been a very long time since I was anyones very own. Indeed, I do remember once someone saying to me that I looked as if noone owned me!!!  Thanks Mike

Fester

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Re: The long running saga of Colwyn Bay Pier
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2010, 10:54:21 PM »
One thing emerges loud and clear to me from the last few postings on this thread.

That being, that is has gone very quiet indeed since the ''packed out'' meetings of earlier this year.
Is it a case of,  ''yes we all care .... but no we don't want to do anything'' ... or is it.. ''we don't actually know what to do'' !!

There are a lot of rheorical questions, about why didn't Steve Hunt do a certain thing, or why don't CCBC do another thing ....but truth told, Dave is absolutely right... it will be too late in the near future, and the bill for regeneration will go from a couple of million, to a fundamental re-build of 20m.
Maybe thats what CCBC are hoping for,  in the same way Anwyl behaved over the Pen Morfa hotel.

Did the 2 groups formed to save the Pier ever commit to a newsletter?, or other form of ongoing information?  Because if they did, I must have missed every months instalment.  Come on guys, what (if anything) is happening??   We will join in and contribute, if we know what we are working towards.



 
Fester...
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DaveR

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Re: The long running saga of Colwyn Bay Pier
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2010, 10:13:26 PM »
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One thing emerges loud and clear to me from the last few postings on this thread.

That being, that is has gone very quiet indeed since the ''packed out'' meetings of earlier this year.
Is it a case of,  ''yes we all care .... but no we don't want to do anything'' ... or is it.. ''we don't actually know what to do'' !!

There are a lot of rheorical questions, about why didn't Steve Hunt do a certain thing, or why don't CCBC do another thing ....but truth told, Dave is absolutely right... it will be too late in the near future, and the bill for regeneration will go from a couple of million, to a fundamental re-build of 20m.
Maybe thats what CCBC are hoping for,  in the same way Anwyl behaved over the Pen Morfa hotel.

Did the 2 groups formed to save the Pier ever commit to a newsletter?, or other form of ongoing information?  Because if they did, I must have missed every months instalment.  Come on guys, what (if anything) is happening??   We will join in and contribute, if we know what we are working towards.
There is a Facebook Group for the Victoria Pier Pressure Group here:
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Ermmm...that's about it!

DaveR

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Re: The long running saga of Colwyn Bay Pier
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2010, 10:14:17 PM »
How about we return it to this design (and pier length):
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You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login by You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login, on Flickr

Fester

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Re: The long running saga of Colwyn Bay Pier
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2010, 11:10:16 PM »
Looks too top heavy ... It'll never stand up...!

But it obviously did ..for many a long year!

Wouldn't that be amazing.
Fester...
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Trojan

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Re: The long running saga of Colwyn Bay Pier
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2010, 12:51:44 AM »
Here's one from the opposite direction.

Fester

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Re: The long running saga of Colwyn Bay Pier
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2010, 07:06:38 PM »
It looks majestic, amazing..and very flimsy, in equal measure...

Fester...
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