Monday, February 16, 2015

Colwyn Bay Pier: - Council's legal bill to demolish historic landmark nears £250,000

£250,000 that could have been spent on the restoration of the Pier!

Council chiefs vow to continue the bitter wrangle as pier's previous owner secures date for High Court hearing

Colwyn Bay pier has fallen into a state of disrepair
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.
Mr Hunt’s claim for ownership centres on his belief that those charged with disposing of the asset failed to do so in line with current bankruptcy laws.
He is also claiming ownership of the pier from the council, who have vowed to fight the litigation.
Mr Hunt has secured a hearing in London’s High Court - a date for which is believed to be sometime in mid-March.
Mr Jones added: “For a £5,000 debt this has turned into an absolute disaster.”
Conwy council recently revealed plans to create a grand light project in place of the pier.

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