While the reopening of the Colwyn Bay’s Victoria Pier is a positive, it’s a pity the local council has left the space empty, Edward Lowton opines.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before – a local council spends a large sum of money on a pier restoration only to leave it empty.
At the reopening of Colwyn Bay’s truncated Victoria Pier in July, the chair of the Pier Project Board counsellor Brian Cossey was quoted as saying “it will be great to see families being able to enjoy the space”.
Yet looking at the photos of the restored pier, “space” appears to be all there is to see at present.
While admittedly the 132 ft pier doesn’t offer a lot of room to play with, surely anything – souvenir shops, a cafe, kiddy rides – would be better than the current Hopperesque combination of empty boardwalk, sea and iron railings.
We’ve been down this road before. Hastings pier reopened in 2016 after a £14m renovation paid for by the Heritage Lottery Fund without any amusements or attractions.
Notably, one of the first changes Gulzar introduced after taking the reins was to reintroduce amusements.
Admittedly, the situation with Victoria Pier is different, and at the risk of sounding mealy-mouthed, its reopening is still a positive, especially given the effort to preserve its historical features.
Nevertheless, it does serve to illustrate a degree of woolly thinking from local leaders with regards to just what constitutes the classic British seaside attractions that visitors are looking for.