North West Wales

'Overbearing' Llandudno pier pavilion plan divides opinion

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Media captionThe pier pavilion site has great views across Llandudno town

New "modernist" designs for a restaurant and flats on the old Llandudno pavilion pier site have divided opinion in the town.

The owner of the nearby Llandudno pier said the scheme could change its character and "devastate" tourism.

Councillors have welcomed the proposal next to the Grand Hotel overlooking Llandudno Bay but want it to be "more sympathetic and less overbearing".

The original pavilion theatre building was destroyed by fire in 1994.

Various plans for the site - including having it grassed over or turned into a seaside museum - have fallen through in recent years.

Now, Llandudno-based Quay Developments want to build an underground car park, restaurant and residential accommodation.

Conwy council's planning and conservation departments, historic monuments body Cadw, the Design Commission for Wales and local councillors have all been consulted on the pre-application proposal.

The plot, which is listed and sits within a conservation area, occupies an iconic location within the seaside town's Victorian landscape.

Image caption All that remains of the original theatre building is a few iron pillars

But Denbigh-based Creu architects, who were commissioned by Quay Developments to design the building in April, said they had been recommended "not to attempt to copy Victorian detailing".

In a statement, Creu said consultation feedback recommended the scheme "should stand independently as a modern building with its own identity and architectural character".

They added: "A Design Commission for Wales report stated that the proposals should avoid trying to replicate details from the former pavilion and the existing structures in the vicinity and that simplification was needed to achieve the level of quality required given the context, prominence and size of the building.

"Based on this feedback, the proposals were simplified in terms of both form and detailing."

They said the design, which includes copper detailing as a reference to the mining history of the Great Orme headland next to Llandudno, follow the footprint of the original Pavilion to convey a "modernist architectural language".

"Our aim is to provide a building that Llandudno will be proud of and will be used by locals and visitors alike for years to come," they added.

Image caption The pavilion burnt down in 1994 after being empty for several years

Councillor Greg Robbins, Llandudno Town Council planning chairman, said he was happy a design had been put forward. But he added there was "particular concern" about the height of the building.

He added: "We felt the design being put forward was too overbearing for the site.

"We would like to see something more sympathetic that would blend in more with the surroundings.

"It has got to be something that is right for the town."

Mr Robbins said the consultation period for the proposal ends this month, at which stage Quay Developments will then submit a formal application to Conwy council.

Image caption The pavilion pier site sits within a conservation area, next to the listed Grand Hotel

Adam Williams, who owns Llandudno Pier as well as the Tir Prince visitor attraction in Abergele, said he had "real worries" about building residential flats in a tourism area.

"Once you start losing this area to residential, you would get people complaining about the noise and the smells," he said.

"If that happens, the pier would not be viable. It could be devastating.

"This area has been used for tourism for over a hundred years. Why change that for someone's profit?"

He said he had attempted to buy the pavilion as part of his efforts to "put the pier back to what it used to be".

"Llandudno is very dear to us," he added. "It's so important that we do the right thing.

"Communication is very important and we haven't had a lot of that so far."

Quay Developments could not be contacted for a comment.

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