Pier restoration fund given lottery boost

The Heritage Lottery Fund has provided a £594,900 first-pass development grant towards the £5m restoration of the grade 2-listed Victoria Pier in Colwyn Bay, North Wales.

Conwy County Borough Council now has up to two years to submit more detailed plans and apply for the remainder of the £4,974,500 HLF support that it is seeking for the project, which includes the development of the pier's art deco pavilion as a centre for arts, entertainment and community activity.

The restoration of the Victoria Pier is part of plans for the wider £56m regeneration of Colwyn Bay.

The pier, which is one of the last pier building projects of the Victoria era, has been closed to the public since 2008 and is in a critical condition.

CCBC will use the development grant to develop its plans in consultation with local people.

As well as structural repairs, the proposals include the creation of a Bay Discovery Centre.

Ideas range from telling the history of Colwyn Bay through an interactive exhibition and a community-led oral history project to apps, costumed tours and walks.

If CCBC is successful in its bid for a firm award at the second round of the HLF application process it plans to hand over the management of the restored Pier to Colwyn Bay Shore Thing, a community company, to run it as a social enterprise.

It is hoped the project will attract a team of 100 volunteers to take part in the management of the pier.

Plans include the use of funding to support the employment of a Learning and Outreach Manager and Volunteer Coordinator to develop a full programme of learning and skills training opportunities.

CCBC has also outlined that two apprentices would be employed by the main contractors appointed to carry out the proposed restoration work, with a commitment to provide work placements for Coleg Llandrillo students undertaking NVQ Level 2/3 Building and Heritage Skills.

Manon Williams, chair of HLF in Wales, said: "The pier not only sits in the heart of Colwyn Bay but also holds a prominent position in the resort's history and that of Welsh seaside architecture.

"The project, which is integral to the regeneration of Colwyn Bay, has strong support from the community with significant opportunities for job creation, training and volunteering and would provide a significant boost for the local economy.

"This was an important consideration for the HLF Board of Trustees.

"We have awarded a first-round pass and a development grant of £594,500 in recognition of the potential this project could bring to the local area and Wales as a whole."

Cllr Mike Priestley, chair of the Pier Project Board, said: "The support of the HLF is a major step forward for the future of the pier and the potential it has to contribute to the regeneration of Colwyn Bay waterfront and the wider community."

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