Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Colwyn Bay - 'Ailing' Colwyn Bay town welcomes funding

Last Updated: Monday, 22 November, 2004, 17:07 GMT 
'Ailing' town welcomes funding
Colwyn Bay town centre
There are empty shops in Colwyn Bay town centre
Residents of an "ailing" seaside town have welcomed Welsh Assembly Government funding to help regenerate the once prosperous area.Conwy Council has submitted a report which shows a problem with crime, alcohol and drugs in Colwyn Bay.
"It doesn't matter if you're elderly or young there's a genuine feeling of fear," said former mayor Chris Hughes.
A council spokeswoman said it hoped the initial £165,000 grant would lead to Objective One funding from Europe.

"Daily, I'm being told of anti-social behaviour issues, issues surrounding drugs and it is a real problem," said Mr Hughes, a county councillor for the town.
 I don't the picture is quite so gloomy 
Chris Jackson, Colwyn Bay Mountain Zoo
"I think the money's desperately needed. Colwyn Bay's an ailing town," he said.
In a report outlining the town's need for the cash, the council said the aid would be used "to develop a co-ordinated plan for the regeneration of Colwyn Bay".
The grant will pay for consultants, design and technical advice, planning fees and marketing and public relations.
A council spokeswoman said the plan would help it draw up an application for the next round of European grant money, which becomes available from 2007.
The council's application for the £165,000 grant said there had been little investment recently in Colwyn Bay, resulting in an air of neglect.
The report also referred to houses of multiple occupation where many inhabitants are guilty of anti-social behaviour including drug and alcohol abuse, with attendant crime and disorder problems.
Colwyn Bay aerial shot
The report said Colwyn Bay has had little investment recently
In March, the "ring-leader" of a teenage gang was banned from entering every shop in Colwyn Bay after he "terrorised' the town.
The 17-year-old boy from Old Colwyn, who could not be named, was given a two-year anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) by Llandudno magistrates.
The boy was the first youth to be the subject of an ASBO in Conwy.
In June 2003 a man and a woman were the first in north Wales to be banned from begging in Colwyn Bay after being issued with anti-social behaviour orders.
"We do have problems with anti-social behaviour and the town itself needs major investment," agreed Ingrid Lewis, Colwyn Bay's town centre manager.
"Like all towns there are problems here. There's a perception that people feel threatened at times in the town."
However, she said there had been economic investment and while there were a number of empty shops in Colwyn Bay, an average of 20 new stores opened every year.
Chris Jackson, administrative director of one of the largest local attractions , Colwyn Bay Mountain Zoo, said the town was "extremely deserving of any grant aid".
"I think that there have been signs of real interest in Colwyn Bay and the housing market is very buoyant indeed.
Mr Jackson said: "We have no problems whatsoever about going into the town.
"If you go to any town you'll see old people in particular who have a perception that they're too scared to go out.
"I think there's been a genuine improvement over the past four or five years," he added.

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