Green Light For £70m Barry Island Pleasure Park Scheme

Friday, 3rd February 2012
  Once one of South Wales most popular tourist attractions, Barry Island could benefit from a massive £70m facelift if the most comprehensive redevelopment plans since the opening of Butlins in the 1960s get the go-ahead this week. After near four years of intense debate, the scheme to transform the Barry Island Pleasure Park into a new and improved and underground visitor attraction, as well as residential development, have been recommended for approval by Vale of Glamorgan Council planners.   The scheme is partly designed to reverse the decline of the Pleasure Park, despite the success of BBC's Gavin & Stacey,which has been hit by poor summer weather in recent years, by putting many of the attractions undercover so that the park will be open all year. The scheme also includes leisure developments, restaurants and a cafe, and walkway through the site which would provide a link from the train station through to the esplanade.     The outline plan includes 124 flats and a 60-bed residential care home fronting Station Approach Road and a curved building around the perimeter of the western end of the site would include shops and a roof garden. The curved building with a central dome would also house a cinema – seen as crucial to the town since the closure of the Theatre Royal.     Pleasure Park owner Ian Rogers said: “I’m ecstatic that it has been recommended for approval. I've had to pinch myself to make sure that this is really happening.”     In his report to Thursday’s meeting, Rob Thomas, the Vale council’s chief planner, says: “In recent years the park has declined and it is currently opened for limited lengths of time on a seasonal basis. Consequently, and due to financial constraints resulting from the decrease in popularity of the park, its condition has deteriorated, as has the contribution it makes to the local landscape and the tourism economy of the area.     “Therefore, the current planning application has been submitted for a mixed-use development, which seeks to provide a mixture of indoor leisure uses, retail, cafes, restaurants and residential uses. A development of this kind would be likely to continue to contribute to the local economy and the vibrancy of the island during times of the year when the beach and promenade are less frequently used.”     He continues: “A mix of cafes, bars and restaurants would contribute to a comprehensive package of uses that would benefit tourism in the area throughout the year and assist the regeneration of the local economy.”