VALE MP Alun Cairns has waded into the Barry Island beach huts debate after the Barry & District News reported delay concerns.
Mr Cairns said the Vale Cabinet’s plans had gone “pear-shaped” - adding his voice to concerns expressed in the Barry & District News highlighting disappointment and anger that the Barry Island beach huts won’t be ready until after the peak summer season when visitors flock to the popular resort.
He said he was concerned auditors would pursue the project because the outcomes promised by the Vale Cabinet, in generating wealth and jobs were highly unlikely to be achieved, and that he would also be enquiring about what penalties could ensue.
However, councillor Lis Burnett, cabinet member for regeneration called on Mr Cairns to raise his concerns directly with her and that the completed works will eventuall exceed all expectations.
Mr Cairns said: “Clearly, this is of great embarrassment to the Vale Cabinet members. Yet again, the their plans have gone pear-shaped.
“They went out on a limb to gain support for this project and another summer passes before any form of benefit is realised. At this rate, they will need repainting before they have been used for the first time.
“Most serious is the risk of an audit investigation. Jobs and wealth would have been predicted by the Vale Cabinet that are not going to be realised. The biggest losers are local traders and the public.”
Mr Cairns has regularly called for the further regeneration of Barry Island and was a strong supporter of the Collins recommendations that proposed an Aquarium and a multi-function indoor facility.
He said he had been sceptical about the benefits of the beach huts when they were proposed, but hoped he would be proved wrong. He added that the Collins report was thorough and considered and offered long term prospects for a year round attraction.
Mr Cairns said: “It is so sad that the Vale Cabinet abandoned the Collins Report. They lack ambition for Barry and the Island. They were forced by locals to back down on the new access road and they need to raise their sights of what can be achieved.
“The Island is one of the jewels of South Wales. So much could be made of the area, but delivery requires leadership. The Cabinet don’t seem to be able to meet the aspirations of local residents and traders.”
When asked for a response to Mr Cairns' comments, councillor Lis Burnett, cabinet member for regeneration, said: "If Alan Cairns has questions about the regeneration work at Barry Island then he could have raised them with me directly at one of our regular meetings.
"Had he done so I would have been happy to inform him that I am confident when our residents see the completed works they will exceed all expectations.”