New ways of operating Barry Island attractions to be debated
18 February 2016
The Vale of Glamorgan Council is to debate how best to manage its seafront concessions at Barry Island, including the eye-catching new beach huts.
The vibrantly coloured beach huts are the centrepiece of the £2.9m regeneration scheme that has revitalised the seaside resort. The Council managed the huts for the 2015 season but is now considering whether a private operator would be able to market them more effectively and so enable more visitors to enjoy the latest addition to the seafront.
The Council’s cabinet will meet on Monday to debate the idea and if the recommendations of a report setting out the options are agreed then the beach huts would be added to a package of concessions along the seafront currently out to tender. This package already includes a space for children's rides, the operation of a bouncy castle, and the hire of deck chairs.
Cllr Gwyn John, the cabinet member responsible for the Barry Island’s management, said: “The new beach huts proved to be very popular last summer, especially as the season progressed and the buzz around the new-look Barry Island grew.
“Our goal remains for the huts to be enjoyed by as many visitors to the resort as possible. We also need to ensure that the huts generate enough money to cover their ongoing maintenance. There are a number of options for how best we could do this and the discussions at cabinet and scrutiny over the coming weeks will allow us to determine which is best for Barry Island.”
Barry Island attracts 360,000 visitors each year, and has a total economic impact of £12.7 million.
A total of 233 beach hut bookings have been made since Easter 2015, generating over £8000 of income for the Vale of Glamorgan Council.
The Council believes that as the operating costs of a third party would be lower and the marketing of the huts could be combined with that of the other attractions there is likely to be considerable interest in taking on their management.
If this option is pursued then any new operator would be responsible for the day to day management of the beach huts, including their cleaning, and would be able to vary the hire cost throughout the year. However, the Council would retain control over the maximum rental charges, the opening hours and terms, and conditions of use.