Gem readers will be aware of the priority to regenerate Barry Island. It is a fantastic resort that deserves to be revitalised. It once attracted quarter of a million visitors a day at its peak at the turn of the last century. A new fairground facility is within our grasp.
The Island has a magnificent natural resource and a number of small business that provide leisure, catering and amusements to many visitors. A major new attraction would provide a welcome boost to all concerned.
I have been working with the landowner for many months and am delighted that Britain’s most respected showman, Henry Danter, is keen to invest in Barry. He wants to build a new year round facility on Barry Island.
Henry runs two other fairgrounds in the UK; one at Stourport-on-Severn and another at Symonds Yat. They are first class examples of how a fairground should be run. All are maintained to the highest standards. He has a record of continuous investment and refreshing rides on a regular basis. He wants to invest tens of millions of pounds. This has the potential of making Barry Island a major regional tourism centre again.
I am doing all possible to help facilitate an agreement between the Barry Island Property Company and Henry Danter. If there is ever a time when an arrangement can be won, it is now. The economy is growing strongly, peoples spending power is increasing and all indicators suggest that the public are ready to spend more money on leisure over the coming years. The relevant Authorities also have a major part to play.
As part of the discussions with the local community, I was anxious that local interest groups express a view. Representatives of Focus Barry and Pride in Barry have attended a number of meetings with both the developer and fairground operator. All have responded positively, which is great news.
Local traders are also in support. After all a first class fairground facility will bring more and more customers to the businesses that are already based at the resort. More jobs will be created and those small operators will have a more funds to reinvest as a result.
Huge challenges remain and we can’t take anything for granted. I fear that losing this opportunity could lead to a derelict site for another decade or longer.
I want us to get to a position where everyone wins; the community, visitors, local residents and traders.