Demolition of lifeline seaside kiosks will be huge loss, say distraught customers and owners – North Wales Live

Buying an ice cream or a enjoying a cuppa at one of the seaside kiosks dotted along Rhos on Sea promenade will soon be a thing of the past when they are demolished as part of the next phase of improvement works.

The news has dismayed visitors and residents alike, as the kiosks have been around for at least 60 years and are still very popular, with owners saying it’s been the busiest summer yet.

Feedback is currently being invited on Conwy Council’s plans to reduce the Rhos on Sea promenade road along the bottom of the Cayley Embankment to one lane of traffic, heading towards Colwyn Bay, while the Cayley Promenade road will remain two-way.

If given the go-ahead, footpaths would be widened on the promenade for cyclists and pedestrians with the existing kiosks on West Promenade being removed.

Conwy Council admits there is no funding to relocate or upgrade the kiosks, and the construction will be under a separate scheme.

North Wales Live spoke to some of the kiosk owners and their patrons on a wet, blustery day to gauge their reaction.

Despite the unfavourable weather conditions, the kiosks were busy serving tea, chips, bacon butties and tea cakes and coffee for just £1.20.

Caroline Williams, who was on holiday from Stoke on Trent, said: “I’ve been coming to these kiosks since I was a child.

“I’m so upset to hear the news that they are going, it’s the simple things like having some chips and a cup of tea that makes coming here so special.

“I really hope the council will build them back as soon as possible, as it will be very empty on the promenade without them. Why can’t they get the funding in place before demolishing them?

“Also, how wide do they want the promenade to be? It seems wide enough to me for cyclists and walkers.”

The Cayley is one of several businesses that is set to be demolished
(Image: Ian Cooper/North Wales Live)

Eirlys Roberts from Abergele, who enjoys the Cayley Kiosk, said: “I meet my friends here. It’s a meeting place for people as it’s a lovely place and the prices are reasonable.

“This place is a lifeline to many, and stops people getting depressed. It’s open 365 days a year. There’s nowhere like it anywhere.

“Why shut thriving businesses like this? It’s just daft. They will be a huge loss to so many people.”

Stuart Heptinstall, from Cheshire, was enjoying a burger and chips with his wife Sheila. They were also sad to hear the kiosks are set to close.

Mr Heptinstall said: “We love coming here as it’s so reasonable and in a lovely spot by the sea. Why take places like this away from working class people? These places are valuable.”

Dicon Peeke, who lives in Rhos on Sea, said: “This place has kept me going through Covid. I come here most days as it’s a good walk from my house and I recently had a heart attack so need the exercise.

“I meet my friends here, and coming here gives me a reason to get up in the morning. I have no idea where I’ll go when it closes.”

Mike Matta is the manager of the Coffee Pot kiosk and said that, as the lease doesn’t run out until 2025, they have no intention of closing.

Mike Matta, manager of The Coffee Pot
(Image: Ian Cooper/North Wales Live)

He said: “These kiosks are not outdated like Conwy Council says. They are perfectly fine. What the Council should be spending their money on is providing more toilets for people.

“They are trying to take my livelihood away and the four people we employ. Our customers are very sad when they hear about what the plans are.”

Moussa Salem has ran the Cayley kiosk for the last 21 years. For the last 10 years, he has been given a temporary lease by Conwy Council but it’s coming to an end in March, and he’s been informed it will not be renewed.

“It’s very upsetting for both me and my customers,” he said.

“I am very worried about a lot of them as they are very elderly and this place helps to keep them going.

“I’ve been told by the council that perhaps I can keep on trading on a month to month basis but that is quite stressful as I wouldn’t know how much stock to order.

“What I’d like to propose to the council is to help pay for the refurbishment of the kiosk or even contribute to rebuild it. I just want to keep my livelihood and this place open for my customers.

“These kiosks are genuinely part of the history of Rhos on Sea.

A council spokeswoman said: “To allow wider space on the promenade for cyclists and pedestrians, the existing outdated kiosks on West Promenade will be removed.

“We are looking for funding to relocate and upgrade the kiosks – this construction will be under a separate scheme, but we have included the necessary space and utilities as part of this proposal.”

The Horizon Shine kiosk that was developed as part of an earlier phase of the Waterfront project (a completed phase) is not in the section that’s currently under consultation.

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