Colwyn Bay Waterfront Project Phase 2

Year:2018

Duration:1 year & 11 months

Cost:£5m

Country: Colwyn Bay, UK

People

Restoring a former promenade while protecting its coastal area

The Colwyn Bay Waterfront Project represents a substantial investment in the infrastructure along Colwyn Bay’s seafront.

The objective of the scheme is to provide environmental improvements to the promenade to offer a modern, sustainable and attractive public realm. This has been combined with a significant upgrading of the predominantly Victorian coastal defences to protect the promenade and the town behind from the threat of the sea for years to come.

The promenade was once the town’s biggest asset. The Colwyn Bay Waterfront Project seeks to restore it to its former glory to help support the ongoing regeneration efforts in the town and wider areas.

The completed phase 2 work has provided a new, modern, robust, accessible and inclusive promenade which has drawn visitors back to the area.

A key element of the wider regeneration within the town, the project has created a space that represents the best elements of the town’s past but is also a vision of the town’s future.

The improved coastal defences will safeguard the future of the town and its infrastructure.

People's Choice

Project achievements and benefits

Before the work began, the promenade was a tired, uninviting and underused public space. Poorly lit and often host to anti-social behaviour, the uneven surfacing and crumbling shelters were the results of years of patchwork repairs.

The project has transformed the area into a public space which the local community can take pride in and make use of all year round.

Parents with buggies and people with mobility issues are now able to enjoy being by the seaside. There’s also a wide range of visitors seen on the promenade since its reopening. From cyclists to dog walkers, fitness classes to school trips, the promenade has once again become a hub of activity.

Key community benefits were also built into the core clauses of the construction contract, meaning that nine local unemployed people were engaged on the project, and local suppliers were used extensively.

How the work was done

The Colwyn Bay Waterfront Project is fully aligned to the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act.

This piece of legislation was put in place in Wales to guide policy and strategy and encourages projects to deliver not just for those enjoying the project today, but to improve the world for future generations.

The Act sets out seven wellbeing goals:

  • A globally responsible Wales – the project achieved a CEEQUAL rating of Excellent through careful planning to maximise sustainability at all stages of the project. This was delivered by including electric vehicle charging points, LED lighting, solar panels on the roof of the concession building, solar-powered parking meters and more.
  • A prosperous Wales – the high-quality promenade drives regeneration by attracting visitors back to the area and provides a public realm which residents can be proud of.
  • A resilient Wales – an increased level of protection from coastal erosion and coastal flood events is provided through raising the promenade level.
  • A healthier Wales – granite health markers provide healthy lifestyle information and promote exercise. The work saw almost 1km of the National Cycle Route 5 significantly improved, helping people get active.
  • A more equal Wales – a new, gently sloping ramp to the beach provides greater access for people of all levels of mobility.
  • A Wales of cohesive communities – new headland spaces along the promenade have provided space for local groups to meet up and for community events. The annual Prom Xtra event continues to grow, and more high-profile events are planned for the promenade, such as a brand-new stage of the upcoming World Rally Championship.
  • A Wales of vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language – culture is undoubtedly the fourth ‘pillar of sustainability’ in Wales. The inclusion of educational granite ‘postcard pavings’ provide information about significant elements of Colwyn Bay’s heritage and culture.

Along the promenade, a ‘share with care’ combined area for pedestrians and cyclists was employed.

Previously, a thin, segregated cycleway running down the centre of the promenade encouraged cyclists to speed through the area. Any young children, pets, or people too busy on their phones unintentionally straying into the cycle lane, became a danger to themselves and cyclists alike.

The newly widened promenade area provides sufficient space for all and encourages all users to modify their behaviour based on how busy the promenade is.

A new concession building was constructed to serve the increasing number of visitors to the beach and promenade.

In line with the project’s innovative approach, Conwy County Borough Council approached Wrexham Glyndwr University to offer a workshop to architectural design and technology students.

They were then asked to prepare concept designs for their second-year coursework projects. This gave them an opportunity to work on a real ‘live scheme’ and provided them with the experience of presenting their work to a real client.

Such was the success of this venture that the design of one student, Nichola Hilton, was chosen by the Project Board as the preferred design and was developed through to construction.

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The Colwyn Bay Waterfront Project has completely transformed the town’s frontage. It is very satisfying to see storm waves lap harmlessly onto the new beach instead of crashing against the old Victorian sea wall, but nothing beats seeing hundreds of visitors enjoying the fantastic new beach and promenade on a sunny day!

Benji Poulton

Project Manager - Colwyn Bay Waterfront Project

Fascinating facts

Careful planning, design, innovation and vigilant construction practices led to an impressive 99.84% of all the project’s waste being diverted from landfill.

The project included a series of workshops with the architectural technology students at Wrexham Glyndwr University. One of its students, a Colwyn Bay local named Nichola Hilton, produced such a fantastic design for a concession building on the promenade that it was incorporated into the project and built.

People who made it happen

  • Client: Conwy County Borough Council
  • Design team: Mott MacDonald, BCA Landscapes
  • Architects: George +​ Tomos Penseiri Architects
  • Key contractors: VolkerStevin Ltd, Elate Construction
  • Others: Wrexham Glyndwr University

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