Saturday, 23 January 2010


I am probably the last of the local Bloggers to report on the Public Meeting regarding the Pier, unfortunately work kept me away from the keyboard until now; however, my report comes from a totally different perspective than the others considering I couldn’t get in!
I arrived quite early, accompanied by Steve Hunt, I was quite surprised to see the place already busy, by the time I’d gone through a few pleasantries with people and acquaintances people were crowding in and I had to direct them to sit where they could.
By the time we reached the 150 mark I was asked to inform the people outside that we were full, struggling against those trying to get in I made it to the Town Hall steps and was greeted by approx 250-300 people queuing to still get in!
We managed to squeeze in a few more but in the end I had to turn away approx 200 people, calls for a photographer were answered and the press came outside to take pictures of those unlucky enough not to have gotten in, I heard demands for another meeting in a bigger venue, calls for Councillors to resign and I was even called “Scum” when asked if I was a Councillor! (A lady with the gentleman quickly pointed out and said “No! He’s one of the good ones” to which the gentleman apologised and followed it with”But they are Scum”)
By the time I’d turned people away you could not move inside the Town Hall and trying to get back into the chamber was a complete waste of time. Instead I fielded questions and complaints from those left in the hallways.
Feedback was fantastic, everyone has their concerns and this was more than evident in some of the questions poised. It wasn’t a Chris Hughes witch-hunt and, hats-off, he did attend as did quite a few other County Councillors. I was pleased to see “Oscar” in the crowd along with other local Bloggers.
I had a very informative chat with Councillor Stuart Anderson regarding our mutual interest in an off-shore lagoon but I won’t bore you with the details.
Suffice is to say it was an excellent result, it all hinges now on whether CCBC listen to what the people had to say. It is not too difficult for them to bite the bullet and sit down and talk....... is it?


Chameleon said...

Chris Hughes didn't say a word, as far as I know. Cllr(?)Gwyn Hughes said quite a bit and Goronwy Edwards was named and shamed by Steve Hunt. There were some very good contributions to the debate from local businessman. The gentleman from Colwyn Bay Civic Society did not get an good reception when suggested the pier should be demolished and rebuilt as a restaurant - everyone started laughing. David Jones did a great job at keeping order. A far bigger venue will be needed for any subsequent meetings - I just hope that the people who didn't get in wont be put off attending next time.

Dave Maratos said...

I just want to say that John is spot on with the numbers, literally hundreds couldn't get in. My wife and I were amongst them and have always supported Steve Hunt and the pier. Some people who couldn't get in said to us they had come all the way from Huddersfield, others said they had travelled from Manchester, adding they had originally come from Colwyn Bay. Others in cars saw us all standing outside and decided to 'give up' and drive off. There was nowhere left to park, but one lady saw what she thought was a disabled space and parked in it, only to find it said 'Reserved for Police' - as the town hall is next to the Police Station. The police were very nice to her, and there was a great atmosphere except when people spoke about 'councillors' (which for some had become a dirty word, spoken with contempt). We managed eventually to stand just outside a doorway near Cllr Brian Cossey, and cllr Chris Hughes. A lady speaker said 'if the councillors don't get the pier done, we need to get them (the cllrs) out!, my wife and nearly everyone else cheered (excepting of the Chris Hughes and Brian Cossey and 'their friend' whoever he was. Lets hope the electorate has a long memory. My wife says They are out of touch with ‘what’ small businesses, young families (and the tourist industry - guest houses, hotels) need and want to thrive in Colwyn Bay.

Steve Hunt said...

Chris Hughes (Chairman of the Friends of the Pier when it suits him) walked out of the Town Hall the instant Pat Jackson (Secretary of the Friends of the Pier) walked in.

Coincidence? or could he not face up to his REFUSAL to answer recorded delivery letters from Pat Jackson as to when he is calling a meeting so he can be formally voted out? I'll let you all decide for yourselves.

By the way, Pat Jackson was the lady behind me in the red jacket who spoke briefly about there still being money in the Friends bank account, confirming it had NOT been paid to me, as some people had evidently been led to believe by someone... Wonder who?

Pat Jackson is also secretary of the preservation trust over in Hyde that I am a trustee of, and Bob Howarth, another trustee, was also there. It was hoped they might have given a bit more insight into how hard it is to obtain Lottery funding etc. - we've been at that one for 10 years, and spent 40 or 50 thousand pounds so far just on paperwork to get to a stage where we can start to think about applying for Lottery money. Sadly, most of the Heritage Lottery Fund has since been 'robbed' by Tony and Gordon to pay for the Olympics - and who knows what the "anti-terrorism" bill is going to be on that folly!

I digress...

Dave Maratos - I am really sorry to hear that you did not get in the hall, as I was hoping for a chat!. I have decided to stand for election to the Town Council in the seat created but your forced resignation. I have no idea if anyone will vote for me (probably not - I'm far too outspoken!!) - but I think people now realise that if nothing else I will NOT stand for bullying and shite from anyone, especially the likes of Goronwy Edwards, Chris Hughes & Co.

I hope you will feel able to help and support me in this - give me a ring sometime.

Anonymous said...

Free country hummm.

Anonymous said...

the buzz from everyone ive spoken to is that they want to see the pier restored and are willing to help out with donations and labour but only if it is handed over to a trust of some sort thats run by an independent committee of local people. is steve hunt willing to grant a long lease on the pier to such a trust for a nominal sum?

Steve Hunt said...

anon 10:28

I have said numerous times I will consider any proposals, however, being as I am a trustee of a properly constituted Registered Charity Building Preservation Trust trying to save another listed building (The wondeful Theatre Royal in Hyde near Stockport), I know first-hand it is NOT the magic overnight solution you have all been duped into believing by the likes of Chris Hughes...

The Theatre Royal trust has a very very dedicated team of people who put a hell of a lot of time and effort into it. They have spent 10 years and over £50k so far just on 'paperwork' trying to get the trust to the stage it can actually start applying for the funding to help pay for the Lottery Application. This would be for a development grant of £50,000 TOWARDS the total cost of submitting the Lottery Bid (which will be a bid for around £6million of funding).

As the gentleman on the stage remarked, Penarth Pier in South Wales has just had a £90,000 grant to fund a Lottery bid... that isn't £90,000 to spend on repairing the roof or whatever, it is £90,000 to pay for the thousands of pages of reports, studies, surveys, options appraisals, endless forms etc. etc. etc. you have to fill in before the Lottery will decide if they are going to give you any money or not!

Applying for these big grants is INCREDIBLY expensive, and involves more work than anyone could possible imagine.

And once you've done all that, and spent all that, there is still no gaurentee whatsoever that the Lottery will say yes - it says no far more often than it says yes!

Morecambe Winter Gardens, for instance, took 15 years to get their money.

As I have said for 6 years, if someone comes to me with a sensible proposal I will consider it. If you come to me with a trust with £6-10m in the bank ready to start work, then I will almost certainly grant you a lease on the pier, of course I would, I wan't to see it restored!

As for a nominal sum - why should I give away my property for a nominal sum? If I set up a trust will you give me your house for a nominal sum? no? thought not!

I would gladly look at a deal that didn't necessarily involve a trust (or whatever) having to find the money to pay for the pier up-front, so long as my investment thus far was recouped sometime in the future. That could be in the form of a lease starting at a very low rent, or a self-mortgage etc. That is similar to a deal the trust I am involved with in Hyde has talked to the present owner of the Theatre Royal about... Obviously I am not allowed to go into details on that, but basically we're talking about a deal that gets the trust in at a very low starting rent so the building can be restored, increasing to a fair market level once it is up and running as a theatre again, with the intention to buy the lease outright in the long-term.

Anonymous said...

"Some truths are just too big for people to face" - George Orwell

Councillor John Oddy said...

Every journey starts with the first step; I hope this meeting was the start of CCBC understanding the wishes of the people. Regardless of the legal processes, that seem endless and unproductive, CCBC must now enter into negotiation with Steve Hunt or his lawyers. The longer they remain inactive the worse the Pier becomes, the people have spoken and they spoke with a passion, that passion must now be harnessed by CCBC and it’s Councillors and this whole sorry mess brought to a speedy conclusion.

Steve Hunt said...

The legal process could be put to an end by 9.30 in the morning if CCBC wish to do so... All they have to do is drive over to Caernarfon County Court, admit they lied numerous times, and apply for the Bankruptcy to be rescinded.

Does anyone think they will actually do that? - of course not, because that would be the *right* thing to do.

Instead, they will no doubt continue to bleat on about the "complex legal situation" whilst the pier falls into disrepair and the eventual costs to YOU, dear council tax payer, now matter which way the current situation is resolved, escalate by the day.

P.S. I have had a long conversation with a very well clued up gentleman who is likely to stand against Chris Hughes in the County elections in a couple of years time... OK, it is a while away, but at least his days are now well and truly numbered.

Anonymous said...

"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe". Frederick Douglass

Anonymous said...

"As for a nominal sum - why should I give away my property for a nominal sum? If I set up a trust will you give me your house for a nominal sum? no? thought not!"
but my house is worth a few hundred thousand quid and the pier isnt worth anything, david jones said so at the meeting. its not like you would be able to sell it now is it?

"why should I give away my property for a nominal sum"
but youre expecting people to donate money to you and come and work on 'your property' for nothing?

are you saying you would rather see the pier continue to get in a worse and worse state than hand it over to a trust? cos i dont see any other options being honest. i dont believe you have the money to renovate it yourself so its gonna carry on getting worse and worse.

Carneades said...

There is a huge amount of effort needed for Lottery funding applications; I know, as I've done it, and it's a full time job. However, there are - I suspect - only two realistic options for renovation. Grants or investment. It will normally require a private individual or group of individuals to invest, and for grants, the pier would normally have to owned by a charity. Are there any other possibilities?

Steve Hunt said...

Byron Davies has proved he has absolutely no interest in the 500 or so taxpayers that turned out to the Pier meeting, including quite a few Colwyn Town Councillors, our AM and our MP, that at the meeting he had last week with David Jones, he couldn't even be bothered to write one single note about it... his admission to this is here for all to see:

... I was reserving judgment on the man, hoping he may have more about him than his predecessors, but clearly my optimism was unfounded.