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A look at Barry: Protest points way.

Byline: Peter Collins

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# TODAY'S numbers are:IT'S amazing how the merest glimpse of warm sunshine attracts hordes of people to Barry Island.

Last Sunday's pleasant weather drew plenty of ``cool dudes'' to the resort. Wearing fancy shades and designer jeans and T-shirts they paraded along the promenade as if they were in Barbados.

Despite years of trying, I have never been a ``cool dude,'' although I do own a reasonably expensive pair of dark glasses and several T-shirts that were actually purchased in the sunny Caribbean. Walking on Friars Point on Sunday, I gazed across to the housing development on Nell's Point and felt a deep sense of disappointment.

This housing project, you may remember, was billed as a ``landmark'' development that would be admired by people from far and wide. What we actually have is a rather nondescript, paltry collection of houses that are unlikely to kindle much admiration in residents or visitors.

When the plans for this development were being discussed there was much pedantic debate about the definition of ``landmark''. Surely a ``landmark'' development should inspire and enthuse those who look upon it. The buildings on Nell's Point hardly stir such emotions.

Many would say that they should never have been built in the first place and that all of the land should have been restored to its natural state.

Certainly, people in Rhoose who are fighting plans to build yet more houses at Rhoose Point feel sorry for the people of Barry who have had their headland spoilt by this development. They are determined that the same mistake will not be made in their area.

But what is done is done. We must look to the future and ensure that the rest of Nell's Point is developed in a sensitive fashion. That means that we should keep a close eye on what happens to the remains of the former Butlin's holiday camp. It is exciting to think that a ``tourism university'' could be built on the site.

But it is important that the design of such a building produces a truly ``landmark'' development and not a shed where students are taught.

People in Barry should be prepared to fight for such standards and protest if they are not met.

They could learn much about the subtle and not-so-subtle arts of protest from the long-suffering people who live close to that hell-on-earth, Culverhouse Cross. They have understandably had their fill of shopping developments that have attracted thousands of motorists and made their lives a misery. They recently staged a protest on the main roundabout at Culverhouse Cross, creating even more traffic chaos than usual.

Such protests should continue until the powers that be at the National Assembly sit up and take notice. It's shocking just how many plans for Culverhouse Cross have been rejected by local planners only to be allowed on appeal.

There is growing anger in the Vale about what is being done to communities like Barry, Rhoose and Wenvoe, and mounting evidence that people are prepared to take to the streets to do something about it.
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Title Annotation:Comment
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Apr 2, 2003
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