PHOTOGRAPHS circulating online of a blaze near the old Barry Island Pleasure Park attraction have fuelled debate about the iconic site’s future.

Last week’s Barry & District News reported that travelling showman Vernon Studt had decided to end his association with the legendary funfair site and co-owner Ian Rogers was searching for a suitable replacement. Reader Chris Thomas took photographs of a fire near the old fairground rides and posted the images online on Thursday, September 25.

But one of the park’s co-owners, Ian Rogers, has assured residents and visitors “controlled burning” is in place – and the fire service is aware – while public opinion rages on the park in its heyday and the role of the privately owned site in the seaside’s future.

Vale Council planners withdrew outline planning permission for a multi-million pound mixed development in March 2012, saying the scheme for the 1.9 hectare park had no “realistic” way of moving forward.

Vale Council cabinet member for regeneration, Cllr Lis Burnett, in a new statement issued yesterday, said: “The Vale of Glamorgan Council is doing everything in its power to lead on the regeneration of Barry Island. While recent years have seen great improvements to the resort, it is my belief that Barry Island can only fulfil its enormous potential if all of those with a stake in its future work together.”

“Consultants acting for Mr Rogers and the site’s other owners have consistently advised the council that the scheme for indoor leisure, cinema and restaurants is not viable. This is disappointing given the amount of time invested by officers and elected members in the process.

“Despite an earlier resolution by planning committee to approve the scheme, there was a continued lack of progress in bringing the scheme forward. As a consequence the scheme was withdrawn.

“Since that time, council officers have been working with the owners and their consultants to find a way forward. To date this has however not resulted in a new proposal.

“The council has been advised by the owners of the site and their consultants that there is currently interest in the funfair from a party willing to develop the site for leisure and tourism. Frustratingly the full details of this interest have not been shared with council officers.

“The Vale of Glamorgan Council is very eager to see the site brought back into use and so council officers have encouraged the site’s owners to progress this interest further. Despite the encouragement of the Vale Council progress is not being made.”

Mr Rogers questioned whether the council had the Island’s interest at heart.

“Look what happened to the Butlins site. They built houses on it. All I know is the S106 has killed the scheme. It’s hard enough to do what we wanted to do.”

He said he believed another council had waived a S106 to help a development go ahead, but the Vale Council had upped the S106 from nearly half a million to around a million pounds and also wanted 30 per cent affordable housing, but had allowed Barry Waterfront developers a lesser amount.

He said: “Me and my partners are saying it’s not viable because of the S106. The council knows how hard it is because they’ve got a similar problem across the road there (Nell’s Point). I’m stuck in the middle. It’s a dream that I don’t think is going to happen.

“This is the key to make everyone on Barry Island earn money.”

He said funfair facilities had been criticised and the development needed to move into the 21st century.

He said: “My life is in Barry. I want this to happen. I want to be able to look back and say to my dad (Ken), “it happened”.”

Mr Rogers added he would welcome sensible and viable solutions, for a new scheme they hope to submit, and invited the council and anyone else to get in touch with proposals for what could be achieved.