Welcome to Colwyn Bay! Enjoy your stay! Witness the wonderful town that once was.
The dream for the people of Colwyn Bay was the Restoration of the Pier. This was a beacon of hope for the town, but now with it's destruction looming, its demolition goes against the public's wishes. This town has nothing left to give, or fight for. It's just another example of another loss to a once Loved town who's glory years have long since faded.
The council has now drafted in a troubleshooter to help boost income and cut costs.
But it said the venue has been successful so far, bringing the town international media coverage, estimating the value of the exposure to be close to £500,000.
Cllr Graham Rees, the council’s cabinet member for tourism, marketing and leisure, said: “The vision for Parc Eirias is as a Regional Centre of Excellence for Sports and Events with a quality family leisure offer; it’s a key economic driver within the Bay Life Regeneration Programme.
“The figures relate to the whole Eirias site, including the valuable community resources such as Colwyn Leisure Centre, Tennis Centre, parkland and lake, as well as supporting all the activity at the stadium and barn.
“I fully support the plans for further developments at Eirias to bring more people and increase revenue opportunities, and the planned addition of the new 3G pitch will offer greater opportunities for local schools and clubs to make use of the facilities throughout the year.
“The facilities at Eirias are superb and we’re extremely proud that all these resources are available here in Conwy County Borough.”
Economic benefit to region
The figures were outlined in a report to Conwy County Council’s Principal Overview and Scrutiny Committee, although council officers believe the complex is of economic benefit to the region overall.
Eirias Park posted a deficit of £939,332 in 2015/2016 despite hosting superstar Elton John and pop band The Vamps in June 2016, attracting 20,000 paying fans.
The anticipated loss for the year was a little less than £778,000.
Eirias Events Centre, the arm of the business responsible for gigs and rugby internationals, was budgeted to lose £231,000 but lost more than a third of a million pounds (£367,866).
Colwyn Leisure Centre lost more than £517,000 - £10,000 more than budgeted - despite attracting more than 337,000 customers to the facility which employs 136 full, part-time and casual staff.
The report to the council said: “Activities delivered at Eirias have brought regular local, national and international media exposure to Colwyn Bay, Conwy County and the North Wales region.
“It is estimated that the annual value of ‘just’ the TV exposure created for Colwyn Bay/Conwy, as a result of the events held at Eirias, is approximately £450k.”
The Tennis Centre and Cafe lost more than £50,000.
The report said a business manager had been seconded to the complex to help increase revenue and cut cost.
Economic benefits for the area from the Elton John/Vamps concert were estimated by the authority at around £350,000 and those from rugby activities in excess of £500,000.
The report also outlined £240,000 worth of funding secured for the “Health Precinct” at the site, part of the National Exercise Referral Scheme (NERS).
Projected losses for 2016/2017 have been set at £708,484, a year in which Lionel Ritchie pulled in 15,000 fans.
Under their agreement with the Welsh Rugby Union it also emerged the council will pay £380,000 over five years towards the cost of hosting U20 matches at Eirias Stadium.
Conwy council has admitted its legal bill in the fight to demolish Colwyn Bay pier is set to break the £250,000 mark.
The Daily Post discovered the huge legal bill after requesting a breakdown of the £660,000 figure quoted at last week’s full Conwy County Council meeting, for maintaining the severely dilapidated Victorian pier.
The breakdown, that covers a period of less than six years, also includes the amounts paid for security (£93,091), fencing (£68,206) and almost £42,000 preparing applications for demolition of the 115 year-old boardwalk.
The true total figure spent for the period up to when the report was recorded as £681,203.
However, it is the large legal fees which take up more than a third of the ‘upkeep’ figure that have caused most alarm.
A council source claims the final figure could be in excess of £400,000.
The council has been in a legal battle with former owner of the pier Steve Hunt since 2008.
Clwyd West MP David Jones called the council’s battle over ownership with owner Mr Hunt as “unfortunate”.
Mr Jones said: “It’s unfortunate this dispute is taking such a long time as well as so much money to resolve.
“It would be better if we could find a way forward.
“We are already going down the road of a further hearing.”
A spokesperson for Colwyn Victoria Pier Trust said: “That money could have been used to maintain the pier and not let it go into the derelict state it’s in now.
“That money could have been better spent elsewhere, like on the pier to maintain it until the funding bid is complete.”
Council leader, councillor Dilwyn Roberts, defended the council’s position.
He said: “There are lots of ways we would prefer to spend money rather than on legal fees.
“But Conwy County Borough Council's objective has always been to solve the problem of a derelict pier in a key location within a town that we’re working hard to regenerate, and to do this it is essential that we defend our ownership.”
Mr Hunt, who took over ownership of the pier in 2003, was the subject of bankruptcyproceedings instigated by Conwy County Borough Council in 2008.
The original debt pursued by the council was reportedly in the region of £5,000.
Royce Peeling Green then became trustees of the structure.
Cllr Dilwyn Roberts, leader of Conwy council, said: “We know that the Pier Trust hopes to restore the pier and has submitted a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund, but we also have to prepare for the worst.
“The pier is a danger to the public and a significant drain on scarce public resources, so we have submitted our application now in parallel with the Pier Trust/Town Council HLF application.
“The planning application and listed building consent application have been formally registered and will be subject to the usual planning process.”
The listed building consent application will be submitted to Cadw once the application has been considered and assessed by the council. The listed building consent decision will be made by a Welsh Government minister advised by Cadw.
Meanwhile, the ownership of the pier remains the subject of dispute, with Steven Hunt hoping to win ownership back in a court case in coming weeks.
Mr Hunt said: "Conwy council cannot comply with the requirements of the relevant planning process because they do not own the pier. If they owned the pier, the matter would not be in the High Court as I would have no case. It is that simple.
"The forthcoming three-day hearing in the High Court will bring an end to this farce. Demolition of the pier will achieve only one thing: a substantial increase in the amount of compensation the council will ultimately have to pay me."