Net is cast across the globe to attract seaside developers
THE charms of Mumbles Pier and headland are being used to attract potential developers from around the world.
Swansea Council has already given the green light to outline planning permission for a 70-bed hotel and an apartment block on land near the popular 1898 Victorian landmark pier.
The idea to redevelop the headland on the far sweep of Swansea Bay was hatched by the Bollom family, who have owned and operated the site for more than 70 years.
The Bolloms claim that a major redevelopment was the only way of funding a much-needed £3.5 million restoration of the pier.
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Their plans also involved a brand new state- of-the-art lifeboat station.
Wide-reaching sales specialist Savills has been brought in to help market the opportunity.
One of their first moves was to place pictures of the area on the internet.
A spokeswoman for Savills, who describes the opportunity as "an exceptional mixed use development opportunity" said: "We have had a fair amount of interest in it, but it really is very early days as it has only been advertised this week. Our website can be viewed around the world so we are hoping that interest will be global."
She added that a cut off date had not been set yet as the level of interest in the site was still being evaluated.
There was initial confusion when the pier was first placed on the web as it was thought that the pier itself was being put up for sale (as it indeed was several years ago when it was offered to the council for a token fee — but the cost of maintenance and repairs proved prohibitive) until it was explained that the parcel of land is known as Mumbles Pier and Foreshore.
A spokesman for the Bollom family stated that formal marketing of the sites was considered necessary after a number of expressions of interest were received.
He said: "We have spoken to a number of potential developers, some of whom have international experience. From the wide range of the ideas presented to us, it became clear that we needed to conduct a formal tendering exercise.
"This will allow the best value scheme to emerge but also enable potential developers to think through some exciting design options."
He also revealed that research suggested that a proposed hotel could generate year-round occupancy by offering to niche markets such as casino or health resort.
The plans caused a split in opinion both among members of the public and community leaders when first announced.
Plans for a major redevelopment of the area around Mumbles Pier have been compared to something from the Costa del Sol.
The £39 million scheme would see flats, cafés and shops, a foreshore boardwalk and a new headland hotel, as well a refurbished pier.
Supporters say the development would be good for the area and a price worth paying if it is the only way of funding the essential repair work needed on the Victorian pier.
But opponents, who likened it to something from Costa del Sol, have questioned the scale and quality of the development, and the impact it would have on the landscape and on congestion.
A Facebook campaign to gather support for the redevelopment at Mumbles Pier and the surrounding area gained around 1,880 members.
Local business leaders have welcomed the announcement that the project is being placed on the international market.
Tracy Duffy, treasurer of the Mumbles Traders' Association, said: "We always welcome any development in Mumbles. With the shops which have closed down recently we could do with any added footfall."
The first phase of the development has already started — a £9.5 million offshore boathouse for the RNLI at the end of the listed pier.