THE owners of Mumbles Pier have said a multi-million pound redevelopment, including a headland hotel building, will finally start to get underway this year.
But family firm Ameco needs to prove to Swansea Council that it has met a five-year planning deadline, which expires next month.
It has asked the council for a certificate to confirm it has met the deadline by demolishing the former Cinderella’s nightclub building which, along with the adjacent Copperfish fish and chip restaurant, was badly damaged by a fire last August.
Planning agents on Ameco’s behalf have argued that this demolition, in conjunction with work to meet various planning conditions, means that the planning consent from five years ago has been lawfully implemented. If the council agrees, then the five-year deadline is lifted.
The agents’ statement to the council said demolition work costing nearly £50,000, which was undertaken after the August 31 fire, constituted a “material operation” in planning terms.
A spokeswoman for Ameco said: “We can confirm that this year will see the start of our exciting redevelopment plans at Mumbles Pier.”
Details, she said, would be announced in the coming weeks and months.
She added: “In the meantime, we are happy to report that following the devastating fire in August, our insurers have accepted liability.
“This means we can now press ahead with our plans to resurrect our popular Copperfish restaurant which sadly got destroyed in the blaze.
“We are currently working closely with our insurers to select an appropriate contractor to rebuild Copperfish utilising the remaining part of the building that survived the fire.”
She said the plan was to open a fish and chip takeaway as soon as possible while work on the restaurant continued.
A comprehensive redevelopment of land at the pier, including foreshore flats and headland visitor accommodation, was first approved in 2011. The outline plans have been revised since, detailed plans have been approved, and work to refurbish the pier itself has been completed.
The headland building will be up to five storeys, while the 26 foreshore flats between the pier and the former lifeboat station will be up to four storeys. The main pavilion building will also be refurbished, a new boardwalk added along the water’s edge, and parking reconfigured to provide 61 public spaces. Occupiers of the flats will have their own undercroft parking.
Developers can submit a new planning application if their current one expires.
Firefighters spent hours at the pier on the day of last year’s fire. The pier itself, pavilion and lifeboat station at the pier’s end escaped damage. No-one was injured. Pier owners Bert and Fred Bollom, of Ameco, said they were devastated by the blaze. Thieves then broke into the fire-damaged businesses and stole scrap metal and alcohol.
The fire was ruled as accidental following a multi-agency investigation. Mid and West Wales Fire Service said it was caused by the ignition of waste linked to the renovation of the former Cinderella’s building. South Wales Police said there was no evidence, information or intelligence to demonstrate the fire was a deliberate or reckless act.