Aquarium and family activity centre: Barry Island leisure plans on track
A VISION to transform the former Barry Butlins holiday camp site into a leisure oasis is on track and set for a rollercoaster ride against time.
Members of the Vale Council's economy and environment scrutiny committee this week (October 9) heard that proposals for a mixed use development consisting of an aquarium, family activity centre, centralised hub for related activity, food and supporting facilities had passed their second stage, following a presentation by consultants LDP/Collins Leisure.
But, because the remaining £3.4m Welsh Government Barry Regeneration Area funding needs to be spent by its deadline of March 2014, and the scheme may not be completely progressed, a back up plan will run in tandem where money would be invested in refurbishing the crumbling Eastern Shelter and other improvements to the popular Barry Island resort.
Barry Island traders have welcomed the Nell's Point proposals, linked to one of tourism's leading figures - John Collins OBE.
He was the former Barry Island Pleasure Park co-owner before becoming one of the directors of the Tussauds Group Theme Parks Division and, with a team, was instrumental in the development of the groups' portfolio of theme parks and attractions including Alton Towers and Port Aventura in Spain.
John is a non-executive director of the Pleasure Beach, Blackpool.
Committee members recommended that the consultants begin marketing the site, using their industry contacts, after council officers prepare a Barry Island masterplan brief, marketing and investment plan.
They also recommended a time frame be established to attempt to meet funding deadlines.
Vale Council director of development services, Rob Thomas said: "We feel that Collins are best placed to bring forward this range of use - the aquarium, family activity centre if that's what the council wants to see developed on Nell's Point."
In the meantime the Vale Council has drawn up plans for enabling works, footpath improvements, public art, Eastern shelter improvements, eastern end toilet block facilities, developing the Harbour Road causeway, and a potential splash pad similar to one constructed at Pencoedtre Park in Gibbonsdown, Barry, to add to the appeal of the area and help regenerate Barry Island - creating a "legacy" for the investment.
Mr Thomas said: "It's almost the forgotten end of the promenade."
Reports will now go before Vale Council cabinet members.