Colwyn Bay Pier
The Victoria Pier and Pavilion opened on the 1st June 1900. The Bijou Theatre was added in 1916. In 1922 the main pavilion burnt down and was replaced the following year. In 1933 the pavilion again burnt down and two months later, another fire wrecked the Bijou Theatre. A replacement pavilion opened in 1934 and remained a popular attraction until the 1980s, by which time its condition had deteriorated to a point where it was unsafe.
The story up to this point is standard pier history, but in about 1976 it starts to get messy. Despite refurbishing the pier in 1968, the owners, Trust House Forte, applied for permission to demolish it. A petition persuaded the Colwyn Borough Council to refuse this request, although they tried again in 1987.
Ownership started swapping around, disputes emerged and the legal profession were the major winners. The pier fell into the hands of trustees as it slowly fell apart.
By 2011, a local support group, the Victoria Pier Pressure Group, and a new not-for-profit company, ‘Shore Thing’, collaborated with plans to buy the pier from the trustees and make it a going concern. However, the Chairman of the Colwyn Bay Civic Society was calling for the pier to be demolished and despite the County Council having bought the pier from the Crown Estate with a £36,000 grant from the Welsh Government, (although the ownership was in dispute), they also wanted it gone.
In 2013 Conwy councillors voted to demolish the pier at a cost of about £1M and the following year the Council declined the Heritage Lottery Fund award of £594,900 which had been intended to develop restoration plans.
By February 2015, it was reported that Conwy Council’s legal costs in their dispute over the ownership of the pier would be likely to exceed £250,000.
In 2017 a large section of the pier at the seaward end collapsed into the sea.
The pier has now been dismantled and stored, the plan being to reconstruct a truncated pier in the same location. However, the council have shown such incompetence and outrageous disregard for council tax payers’ money that I’m not overly optimistic about the outcome.
The only good news is that murals by Eric Ravilious and Mary Adshead, painted inside the pavilion in 1934, have been saved.