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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 May, 2005, 16:10 GMT 17:10 UK
Millions towards seaside facelift
Rhyl's West End
Parts of the West End are starting to be renovated
Plans to transform part of Rhyl seafront, which has been called the most deprived area in Wales, have received a multimillion-pound cash boost.

The 2.9m in European funding will go towards Rhyl's West End over 10 years.

The ward, with bedsits and a rundown funfair site, has been known for deprivation and drugs problems.

Economic Development Minister Andrew Davies said that the transformation of the town was "fast becoming a reality".

The grant under the Objective One programme was announced by the Welsh Assembly Government on Thursday to help redevelop the promenade stretching west from the town's busy seaside arcades.

A similar amount of match funding will come from both Denbighshire Council and the Welsh Development Agency, bringing the total amount of grant aid under the Rhyl Going Forward Project to 15m.

Patricia Yates
The area has gone steadily down hill, according to one visitor

Seven acres of the west promenade will be developed under the so-called Drift Park project at a cost of 3.8m.

A further 1.9m will be spent on developing the nearby Foryd Harbour and in creating new units for businesses in the town.

The West End has been fighting social problems brought about large groups of often unemployed people living in rundown properties.

It was first named Wales' most deprived area in 2000 by the Welsh Assembly Government and it has remained so according to latest figures.

Foryd Harbour in Rhyl
Drift Park and Foryd Harbour' - cost 4.9m
Edward Henry St - 1m
Cefndy Economic Dynamo Project - 1.8m

Shayne Jones, a former community warden in Rhyl has been helping people locally for two years. He said the drug problem was a big one and the wardens had picked up 356 needles in a year

But he also recognised a change in the area's image

"It has changed for the better in the last year," said Mr Jones. "We have shops starting up in the West End. There are a lot of community associations in the area.

"I think there is a good community spirit and if we all pull together things have to improve."

But visitors to the West End's small market in the shadow of the area's funfair were not so sure.

Patricia Yates, from Hindley near Wigan, has been a visitor to nearby Towyn for 56 years and said she has seen Rhyl go downhill.

"It's horrible, it's terrible, frightening," said Mrs Yates.

"It needs a lot of money spent on it and it needs revamping.

Rosaline and Thomas O'Connor from Kinmel Bay
More investment in leisure activities is needed

"It's scruffy on the front, everywhere you go. You get a lot of drunks. Today it seems much worse than it did when I came here as a child."

Rosaline and Thomas O'Connor said they were relieved to hear that a cash injection was being made.

"It's a mess and full of drugs," said Mr O'Connor, who lives in Kinmel Bay.

"I would like to see some redevelopment here".

His wife said investment in leisure facilities for families should be made a priority.

Vale of Clwyd AM Ann Jones said she hoped private investors would now see the regeneration going on in Rhyl and move in too.

Drug dealers targeted by police
27 Oct 04 |  North East Wales
Regeneration plan for Rhyl
12 Apr 04 |  North East Wales

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