The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) – the organisation which provided most of the public money for the redevelopment of Penarth Pier Pavilion in 2013 – is now citing what it calls the “negative performance” of the Pavilion as a reason for turning down similar restoration projects.
HLF Trustees has now told a group which is hoping to renovate and rebuild part of the derelict pier at Colwyn Bay in North Wales that HLF now considers pier projects as “high risk” in view of what it describes as the “negative economic performances” of projects at Hastings Pier and Penarth Pier.
Nigel Gilbert, vice-chairman of the Colwyn Victoria Pier Trust (CVPT) said the group had to pick itself “off the floor” after learning that its bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund bid to redevelop Colwyn Bay Pier had been denied because the project was deemed too “high risk”.
The decision appears to indicate that what the HLF described earlier this month as “weaknesses” at Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd [ the not-for-profit company/ “charity” which has leased Penarth Pier Pavilion for 125 years from the Vale of Glamorgan Council] is now having knock-on effects to other piers in the UK which are attempting to carry out major renovation schemes .
PDN sources say that as far as Penarth is concerned there’s no comparison between the completed restoration of Penarth Pier Pavilion and the plight of Colwyn Bay’s Victoria Pier because:-
- In Penarth it was only a matter of restoring the Pavilion building itself – not the rest of the pier structure.
- At Colwyn Bay however, two sections of the derelict pier had collapsed into the sea in February this year and the restoration scheme involves demolishing part of the existing pier structure and its two main buildings and then restoring the entire pier to its original length, complete with kiosks and a pavilion .
Richard Bellamy, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales, says: “At Heritage Lottery Fund we invest time and resources in developing a constructive dialogue with all our potential applicants to ensure they have a clear understanding of our funding criteria and we advise them accordingly.This helps the applicants in deciding whether to make an application to us or potentially to tailor it in view of the discussion.
Mr Bellamy says :“We have a responsibility for distributing money raised by National Lottery players and as a result we take great care to spend the money wisely taking the possible risks of each project into account.The projects that we invest in must demonstrate longevity and a clear vision for their future sustainability.”