THE much-anticipated Barry Island beach huts won’t be ready this summer and the Vale Council is unable to say when they will.
A multi-million pound Welsh Government funded scheme to regenerate Barry Island’s eastern side has failed to meet its second completion deadline and residents and day trippers face a fencing, earth, and machinery display attraction with ongoing works predicted, by traders, to be completed at the earliest by the end of August.
The beach huts had originally been earmarked for hire to the public, for £15 and £30 a day, but it is feared those sources of income will this season be lost.
Vale Council major projects manager, John Dent said, in April, that work on the Barry Island beach huts was “progressing well.”
The council then asked the public for suggested uses for the huts and Barry Island Primary school indicated they would like to utilise one of the 24 huts as an all-year-round “beach school” base.
Mr Dent, speaking to the Barry & District News, in April, said: “The construction of the huts is due to be completed in June and we fully expect them to be open to the public in time for the school holidays.”
But now bad weather in January is taking the blame.
Baruc councillor, Nic Hodges said: “Progress on the new council initiatives to breathe new life in the tourism jewel of Barry Island has been painfully slow.
“We were told and expected that the new facilities including the council run beach huts would already be in operation by now and helping to secure the future of the resort.
“The clock is ticking and we are losing this summer’s opportunity.
“I have been contacted by concerned traders on the Island as well as by residents who would love the chance to book the huts for family events and days out. They have been unable to find out the current position and are bemoaning the lost opportunity this summer.”
Vale Council director for development services, Rob Thomas, said work undertaken by contractors WRW had slipped beyond the intended completion date and this was a “disappointment to all of those with an interest in the project.”
WRW managing director, David Harris, said: “Regrettably the completion date for the works has exceeded the original programme. This has been due to a number of factors but principally the poor weather over the winter period together with additional works required installing specialist rock anchors to the cliff.”
He said it was working closely with the council to mitigate the effects of the delays and to expedite the completion of the remaining works.
A Welsh Government spokesman said the knock-on effect of severe storms had caused the delay and the day to day project management remained the Vale Council’s responsibility.”
Pride in Barry chairman Paul Haley, a former member of the disbanded Barry Regeneration Area Board, said John Collins was classed as a high risk project as it couldn't be completed by March 31.
He added: “I challenged that this project would also not be completed on time if we had bad weather. It hasn't and we still don't have a completion date, it has gone past the Government Accounting rules that were constantly thrown at the Regeneration Board and one wonders how the project has achieved funding.”