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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 May 2007, 14:45 GMT 15:45 UK
Seaside park 'closure' talks held
HAVE YOUR SAY
Barry Island pleasure park sign
Barry Island is definitely something for the locals more than holiday makers, and until the council do something to boost tourism, I see no point in the park's existence.
Paul in Cardiff

Owners of Barry Island's pleasure park have assured council leaders the attraction will reopen for the bank holiday and summer season.

It follows talks about the funfair which failed to open on time for the second year running.

Owner Ian Rogers and the Vale of Glamorgan council met after the council set up new rides on the seafront to counter the closure.

It had angered Mr Rogers, but the council said it was only temporary.

At the meeting held on Tuesday, Mr Rogers assured the council the fun fair would be open in time for the bank holiday.

He said he was confident everything would be up and running in time for the expected influx of visitors and plans to invite showmen from across the country to bring rides to the site.

Mr Rogers had been angry about the decision to set up rides on the beachfront during the permanent fair's closure.

He has admitted financial difficulties but said he still plans to open the historic park with new rides.

But concerns it could fail to open in time for the bank holiday weekend has led the council to grant a 28-day licence for rides to be allowed to operate on the beachfront.

It follows a decision by the council to set up a temporary funfair on the beachfront.

However, at the meeting the council told Mr Rogers the licence would not be extended if the permanent fair opens.

Barry Island Pleasure Park
The Pleasure Park may not be open for the bank holiday weekend

The Vale of Glamorgan council said it arranged for the new rides to be set up for around a month because it could not rely on the pleasure park opening.

The council's deputy leader Neil Moore said they had a duty to provide an alternative.

"Basically it is desperation I guess," he said.

"As far as we are concerned Barry is a tourist area and we want to make sure that when people come they have somewhere to enjoy themselves.

"We weren't sure whether the park was going to open or not. We think it is unlikely, and even if it is, it is going to be very limited.

"All we have done is take the contingency of actually bringing someone in for a month."

Barry Island Pleasure Park has been a major attraction for day trippers since 1920.

But increased competition from cheap flights and changing leisure trends has seen its popularity wane. The former Butlins holiday camp at Barry Island was demolished in 2004.

From 1995, it was owned by the late Barry entrepreneur Ken Rogers, who also founded discount retailers Hyper Value.

When he died in 2000, his son Ian became company chairman.

Closed gates at Barry Island pleasure park
The park owner said he is 'sad' to close the gates

In October, Mr Rogers announced that Hyper Value was to close nine of its 15 stores in Wales because of a fall in trade. He then went on to form Hypa Xtra - a new discount chain which bought six Hyper Value stores in December.

Earlier Mr Rogers said he felt let down by what he described as a "lack of support" from the council at a time when he was going through financial difficulties.

"With the obstacles that I have got in front of me I don't know, I don't need anybody on the front affecting what we are trying to get on with," he said.

"I am very sad, as a lot of people are sad, that we have got to the situation that we are in."

Mr Rogers said he was planning to bring in new rides for the summer and was inviting showmen from across the UK to lease areas of the pleasure park to run their own rides.

But Craig O'Shea, who runs a beach front cafe in the area, said the park should undergo a radical modernisation or be demolished to be replaced by something else.




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"It's quite old fashioned up there."



SEE ALSO
Blue sky thinking in seaside town
22 May 07 |  South East Wales
Are seaside towns dying out?
22 May 07 |  Wales
Hyper Value closing nine stores
23 Oct 06 |  South East Wales
Holiday camp evacuated after fire
09 Sep 04 |  Southern Counties
Spirited away from carnival
26 Aug 04 |  London
Butlin's campers to learn online
21 Aug 03 |  Education

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