Warning over 'smothering' of beach tourism
TOURISM at Aberavon beach will be "smothered" if Neath Port Talbot Council continues to allow private developments on the seafront, campaigners have warned.
Scarlet Avenue resident Keith Suter, who has created a Facebook campaign group called Defend Aberavon Beach, said he wanted the council to stop allowing private use only buildings there.
Mr Suter, whose group has now grown to more than 1,500 members, said: "I believe the council appears to have done everything in its power to keep visitors away from this beach by allowing private houses/ apartments, two nursing homes, a mental health hospital and a proposed respite home for adults with learning difficulties.
"This promenade is a natural jewel in the crown, but there is nothing to attract visitors.
"The council just say there is no money for investment.
"But surely they are going to smother tourism."
Last week the Post revealed that another seafront business — Chinese restaurant The Water Margin — had closed.
It means there is now another empty premises alongside the fire-ravaged Afan Lido, vacated fast food outlet Burger Knight and proposed bowling alley development.
Mr Suter added: "There is nothing to attract visitors and that is why the Water Margin has closed.
"I think that instead of the council replacing the Afan Lido, they should build an ice rink.
"It would be something new to attract people from all areas."
In response, the council's head of regeneration Gareth Nutt, said that along with the private sector, the council had invested "considerable resources into the regeneration of the seafront."
Mr Nutt said council investment had included the complete upgrading of the promenade and access to the Blue Flag status beach, upgrading the street furniture and lighting, and facilities like the Aquasplash and children's play facilities.
Car parks on the seafront had also been upgraded, he said, and the private sector had invested in leisure facilities.
He said: "The council continues to look to the future and is currently out to public consultation for a proposed £13.6 million leisure and community hub facility on the site of the fire damaged Afan Lido.
"The council is committed to ensuring the continued development of Aberavon seafront."