Saturday, 27 March 2010

We Can Rebuild It

I've just been to the Colwyn Bay Regeneration Consultation that has been carried out by Consultants DPP Shape over the last few days in Colwyn Bay. As they were keen to point out to me, the Plans they had pinned up on the wall were proposals and ideas designed to stimulate local discussion, rather than a firm intention. To be fair, they seemed to have the right idea - amongst other things, it was accepted that the vast expanses of grey paving (and indeed the continued closure of Station Road to traffic) were mistakes and they seemed keen on proposals to improve access from one part of the town to another (i.e. town centre to beach, town centre to eirias park etc). 'Softening' the appearance of the streets with more trees etc was also mentioned, and that was something that I certainly welcomed.

I was also pleased to see that they viewed Eirias Park as a 'hidden gem' of the town - this is something that I've been banging on about for some time - I mentioned to them that a Cafe at the side of the remodelled lake would be a winner - a great place to sit outside and sip a coffee in the Summer. They also stressed that they felt that Colwyn Bay had a built in 'head start' in the regeneration process, due to the wonderful nature of its Victorian architecture. Overall, I felt vaguely positive after viewing the proposals.

You can give them your own thoughts here:

Friday, 26 March 2010


BBC News Article

The news today that Conwy Council Chief Executive Byron Davies had been relieved of his duties and was being questioned by Police came as quite a shock. A Council employee described him as being 'marched' out of the Council HQ Bodlondeb by Police officers.

Whilst details are still practically non-existent, it would be imprudent, not to mention unfair upon Mr. Davies, to speculate upon the nature of the alleged offence but it's fair to say that it must be pretty serious in order for him to be relieved of his duties. Rumour has it he parked his car two inches over the white line in a parking bay on Mostyn Street....

UPDATE: A Special Meeting of Councillors has been called for Weds 31st March at 4pm. The Agenda is secret (exempt item):
I suspect it will be one of the most interesting meetings ever held at Bodlondeb....

BBC Story:

Don't Miss It!

A reminder that the second Meeting to discuss the future of Colwyn Bay Pier is tonight (Friday 26th March) at 6pm in St. Paul's Church, Colwyn Bay. I will be there.

Monday, 22 March 2010

All The World's A Stage...

A new blog post from Carneades has reminded me of one of my favourite bugbears in Llandudno - the fact that the Open Air Theatre in Happy Valley was not replaced as part of the Heritage Lottery funded renovations about 10 years ago. The Theatre had been entertaining the Summer visitors since the very inception of Llandudno as a seaside resort back in the 1860s, yet that proud tradition all came to an end in 1985, when Alex Munro became ill and the theatre was forced to close, eventually being damaged by fire in October 1987.

Open Air Theatre in its final years

Alex Munro entertains the Visitors at the Open Air Theatre

In the initial HLF Renovation plans, a new outdoor stage was clearly mentioned - to be sited where the old Open Air Theatre stood behind the Cafe:

(Click image to view Full Size version)

Yet, when the work was carried out, no stage materialised, just a rather odd looking semi-circular tarmaced area that has never been used for anything but the siting of a small childrens roundabout. Indeed, quite a bit of work went into removing every trace of the old Theatre, even to the extent of regrading the land levels completely to remove the terraced seating areas.

Similar view as the Postcard above today

Looking down at the site of the Open Air Theatre today

Of course, Happy Valley retains the natural beauty that has made it a favourite spot for visitors since those early days, but it has to be said that it feels a little lifeless now, even at the peak of the Summer season. Imagine how much better it would be with some live entertainment, be it the Llandudno Town Band, Local Amateur Musical Groups like the Trinity Players or Llandudno Musical Productions, maybe a Buskers' Stage...or even the revival of the Talent Competition. so beloved of Alex Munro. With the current enthusiasm for Talent Shows on tv, you'd have thought it would be a winner?

You'd have thought this sort of thing could be organised by Llandudno Town Council but, apparently, having endless meetings is all they are capable of doing. Maybe a new Friends of Happy Valley could get stuck into pressing for the construction of a new stage area and organising a few shows...?

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Some Light Relief

Well, its not often that I have occasion twice in one week to praise Conwy County Borough Council but....I was pleased to see that another of the original Victorian street lamps in Llandudno Town Centre is being brought back into use in Clonmel Street. Llandudno is one of the best preserved Victorian towns in the UK and, to maintain this ambience, its vital that street furniture such as lamp posts, railings etc reflect the town's heritage.

So, once again, its full marks to Conwy County Borough Council...keep up the good work!


I noticed this poster in a shop window in Colwyn Bay for the forthcoming Town Council by-election:

Regardless of the incorrect spelling of 'Independent', I was intrigued to see that he had apparently campaigned on behalf of Hafod Dynos Hall? Of course, it is spelt nothing like that, it is Hafodunos Hall. His campaigning was news to me, I had to admit, as I had spoken to many people/organisations over the past few years in my own efforts to try and save this Grade 1 listed Mansion and Gardens at Llangernyw and I can't recall hearing this gentleman's name mentioned? That's not to say he wasn't involved, of course, but even a Google search brings up absolutely nothing?

One must also wonder why he spent the time trying to save Arne Hall, Castle Hotel (presumably the Tudno Castle Hotel?) and the Alice In Wonderland Hotel in Llandudno, whilst at the same time founding a Facebook Group titled 'Llandudno Is A Dump'?

All very odd!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Spring Has Sprung

Crocuses in Queens Park, Craig Y Don

After the long and miserable Winter we've had this year, it was a pleasure to see the legions of multi-coloured Crocuses that have sprung up in parks, verges and roundabouts in the local area. Full marks to the Parks Dept of Conwy Council for this fine display of colour to remind us that Spring has arrived.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Colwyn Bay Pier - Second Meeting

(Photo Credit)

Following the sell-out first public meeting to discuss the fate of Colwyn Bay Pier, local MP David Jones has announced a second meeting, to take place in the far larger St. Pauls Church:

Mr Jones said: “I now want to report back to the meeting on options for the future of the pier and also to suggest that a steering committee be formed to explore the possibility of establishing a charitable trust to take over the pier and seek to restore it. A number of people have already said that they would be willing to serve on the committee.”

It will be interesting to see how many people turn out for the second meeting and are willing to get involved.

The meeting will take place at St Paul’s Church on Abergele Road at 6pm on March 26

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

A little sheepish...

Over the last few weeks, I've noticed a large group of sheep whenever I walk through Happy Valley park, Llandudno, probably 20 or more of them. Having cropped the grass to a fine trim, they have now started munching their way through the plant stock of the Rock Gardens.

Now, I see council gardeners working up there maybe once or twice a week but no-one seems to have done anything about removing the sheep. Whilst keeping the grass short is perfectly fine, destroying the hundreds of plants and shrubs in the gardens is not so desirable. - not to mention the trails of droppings they leave over all of the paths! Their backs are marked with a a 'J' - I assume they have come down off the Orme but can we hope that someone at CCBC will read this and take the initiative in returning them back home before all the plants are eaten and need replacing at great expense?

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Coffee At Sydneys

Sydneys, 7 Clonmel Street, Llandudno

I'm always pleased to discover somewhere new to go for a good coffee and decided to pop into Coffee @ Sydneys at 10 Clonmel Street, Llandudno the other day to see what they were like.

I had expected it to be a tiny coffee shop but was surprised to see that there were additional seating areas in both the rear of the cafe and on the First Floor (and of course, some outdoor tables for those warmer days). Decoration was also interesting, with a variety of hand painted 'words of wisdom' adorning the walls. Service was fast and pleasant, coffee was good and the prices were reasonable. Do pop in and give it a try if you're nearby. In case you've forgotten, Clonmel Street is the one linking Mostyn Street with the Promenade, having Greenwoods and Gregorys Jewellers on the Mostyn Street corners.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Shurely Shome Mishtake, Guto?

Penrhyn Road, Colwyn Bay

Whilst having the 'pleasure' of walking through Colwyn Bay last Sunday morning (avoiding bodies sprawled on doorsteps etc), I noticed that the Conservatives had a number of large and colourful posters plastered over empty shops fronts in the town centre, extolling the benefits of their candidate, Guto Bebb.

Just one problem....he isn't the candidate for the Clwyd North West constituency (in which Colwyn Bay lies), David Jones is.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Behind The Scenes...

I was fortunate enough last Saturday to be invited on a 'behind the scenes' tour of the Grand Theatre in Llandudno. It's currently used as the Broadway Boulevard nightclub, of course, but this takes up only a small part of what is a very large building and many of the theatre elements survive intact. I took the opportunity (of course) to photograph as much of the interior as possible. It was fascinating see whole areas of the theatre where time had stood still since the last theatre performance ended in the late 1970s. Here's just a few photos, the compete set of over 75 photos can be viewed over at Flickr:

Up above the nightclub, the theatre remains intact (Photo Credit)

The massive decorative ceiling, with sunburner at its centre (Photo Credit)

The Flytower, with flylines and the black safety curtain intact (Photo Credit)

Ornate staircase to former Manager's office (Photo Credit)

Red Dragon detail at centre of Proscenium Arch (Photo Credit)

Detail of circular decorative ceiling (Photo Credit)

Seats in the Gallery (Photo Credit)

Many thanks to Mr. L at Broadway Boulevard for showing me around and providing the 500w floodlight needed to light up the vast auditorium and flytower.

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