PUPILS at a Barry primary school are spearheading a campaign to claim one of Barry Island’s new beach huts for use by themselves and future generations.
Barry Island primary youngsters have instigated the idea, supported by staff and parents, of using one of the 24 eastern promenade huts – currently under construction and part of the Welsh Government-funded multi-million pound Barry regeneration area scheme – as a learning resource promoting the award-winning school as a “beach school”.
The Vale Council recently asked residents for ideas on how the huts could be used and the school said it would use it as an exhibition space and an additional learning resource throughout term-time and during the holidays.
The authority’s economy and environment, scrutiny committee, in May, recommended the huts should be hired to residents and visitors at a cost of £30 a day for one of the 12 larger huts and £15 for the smaller ones.
The report put before councillors said the huts would contribute to the vitality and vibrancy of the area and contribute financially to future regeneration initiatives.
Barry Island primary school ambassador, Marnie Davies, 10, said: “We are trying to become a beach school and we are down here every week.”
Fellow Year five school ambassador, Dylan Brookes said pupils used the place to play and learn.”
Year 2 class teacher, Donna Evans added: “It would be nice to have somewhere we can store general resources and equipment. We do a lot with families and it would be nice to say “We’ll meet at the beach hut.””
Former Barry Island primary chairman of governors and dad of two children at the school, Lee Waters said he thought the huts looked lovely, but the council had mistakenly not involved the community a long time prior to construction.
He said: “It’s pretty and nice for visitors, but it’s not going to change the position of Barry Island. We ended up with something that could be delivered. It was a classic officer solution.
“There’s an opportunity to work with the community and school. There’s a chance to make amends.
“The school can use the sea, marine life, and beach to bring learning alive and make sure the children have a footprint on the Island. It’s a no-brainer.”
Baruc ward Barry town councillor, Shirley Hodges said she thought the school had a good idea as safe outdoor play was important.
She said: I only hope this invitation extends to the other schools in Barry who could all benefit. We need to encourage all our students to enjoy and appreciate the beautiful coast we have in Barry.”
But Pride In Barry chairman, Paul Haley said the Vale Council had submitted a bid to the Barry Regeneration Board that identified beach huts as establishing social entrepreneurship and creating a number of jobs.
He said: “The bid was accepted and funding awarded on that basis. The criteria for usage of grant monies was set out within their bid. The Vale will need to deliver on the outcomes promised.
“It is for the Vale of Glamorgan Council to decide how it will fulfil the target outcomes of social entrepreneurship activity and job creation as per its' Bid promises through the usage of the Barry Island beach huts, and it is for Welsh Government officials to conduct the target monitoring of outcomes that justified the award of public monies, just as should be happening for any other funding project. Pride In Barry has been asking to see a programme evaluation of the £9.8 million Barry Regeneration Funding and this has not been forthcoming.”
Vale Council, cabinet member for regeneration, Cllr Lis Burnett said the council had been encouraged to receive so many interesting and innovative suggestions for additional uses.
She said: “The huts are being constructed to attract people to Barry Island and will primarily be hired out to individual visitors. We are currently reviewing all of the suggestions for additional uses ahead of finalising the rental policy for the initial twelve month pilot period.”
Vale cabinet members will consider the scrutiny committee’s report on Monday, June 16..
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