Well, call me controversial, but I’m absolutely delighted that a top trio of Barry’s iconic pubs are being turned into social housing – and in the so sadly seen better days Holton Road area of our town.
Sweet to see, that whilst Barry is busily bidding for twenty million to spruce up the already well-developed Waterfront, a Public Consultation has led to a perfectly placed planning application for the Seaview, the Castle, and the Windsor.
All popular pubs back in the day that I have had the pleasure to take a tipple in. Fond memories of popping in the Windsor after a hard day slaving over a computer, careering around the Castle to the latest local rock band, and spending Sunday nights in the Seaview’s clever quiz team.
A total trip down Memory Lane indeed but even I am not nostalgically blinkered enough not to see the deep decline in the fortunes of these once packed pubs. I’m also heartened to hear that our local, and national Governments are working together to at least salvage some history with their social housing happening.
Job opportunities including apprenticeships are part of the package, these derelict buildings, will be boosted with that cliched ‘new lease of life’, and crucially, the plan will kick start a regeneration project in, what I think is, one of our most declining districts.
‘Down Town’ has become down trodden in my book, and our once halcyon Holton Road area needs a rapid renaissance.
I think, our Council should show some front, and use the pot of cash its rumoured may be coming from the Town Centre Regeneration Fund (or whatever it’s called) to be boldly brave in its vision.
I’d strive to see to the main shopping drag as the beating heart of the area with mixed bag or residential, leisure and commercial ventures sitting perfectly placed side by side.
I’d forget chasing the big brand names – those days are gone, and only saw the Street looking soulless after 6pm anyway.
For me, it would be Barry better to turn some of the empty properties into affordable housing, support those superb independent shop and pubs already trading tidily, and spruce up the Square with outside seating to add a mix of the all-round leisure vibe.
I’d also like to pedestrianise the whole of Holton Road but that may be a step too far for some.
What do you think?
The Voice of Our Community
Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and activist. She blogs about Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.