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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 September 2007, 16:06 GMT 17:06 UK
End of an era for Rhyl's funfair
Artist's impression of the planned Ocean Beach site
Work on the new development was due to start at the end of 2007
The historic funfair at Rhyl, Denbighshire, has opened its doors for the last time.

The seafront funfair, which dates back to the 1890s, will be demolished to make way for an 85m development with apartments, cafes and pubs.

Despite once attracting many thousands of tourists, the funfair's popularity has declined since the 1960s.

Town mayor Dave Thomas said he felt "sadness" at the closure, but said Rhyl now had to look to the future.

Mr Thomas, who once worked at the funfair, added: "On one side of me it's a sadness because I have been part of the team that's brought enjoyment to a lot of holidaymakers.

It's the way things are going for small amusement parks...we're not getting the visitors that we used to get
Harold Robinson, owner

"But the other thing is, we have got to look ahead. A lot of seaside towns now are suffering."

All rides at the funfair cost 1 to mark the last day on Sunday.

Harold Robinson, the funfair's chief executive, said: "Seaside resorts aren't what they used to be.

"I'm afraid it's the way things are going for the small amusement parks like us. We're not getting the visitors that we used to get.

"They're all doing other things now, holidays have changed. There's more in-house entertainment, there's more out-of-town shopping, there's cheap holidays abroad. It's all played a part."

Package holidays

Rhyl took off as a holiday resort once its rail station opened in 1848 and by the 1890s the Marine Lake fairground was seeing thousands of visitors annually.

The funfair moved to its present site on the seafront after World War II, but it later fell victim to the rise of the overseas package holiday.

The town too has suffered in recent years, with the West End ward - which takes in the seafront - being described in 2000 as the most deprived area in Wales.

Denbighshire Council believes the new development will form a vital part of the town's regeneration in recent years.

Rhyl seafront
All rides will be 1 to mark the funfair's last day

The Ocean beach plan, put forward by Manchester-based Modus Properties, also includes a hotel and a supermarket.

The local authority's planning officers recommended the council back the scheme - which will also include affordable housing and a conference centre - and approval was granted in May.

A spokesperson for Denbighshire County Council said: "It is always sad when a much loved attraction has to close, however times change and Rhyl needs to move with these changing times.

"The Rhyl Going Forward project is the dawn of a new era for the whole of the town.

"The Ocean Plaza project on the former Fun Fair site is a catalyst for development in the West End of the town."

But some people who cater for the tourists attracted by the promenade said the town would lose out and claimed the new scheme offers little for visitors.




SEE ALSO
Funfair demolition plan is backed
18 Apr 07 |  North East Wales
New shops plan for central Rhyl
27 Mar 07 |  North East Wales
'End of funfair' plan submitted
22 Dec 06 |  North East Wales
Mini golf tees off park's revamp
21 Mar 07 |  North East Wales
Keeping it Rhyl
23 Aug 06 |  Wales

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