Gillinson Barnett & Partners’ ground-breaking Rhyl Sun Centre – which featured the first indoor surfing pool in Europe – is to be pulled down
Opened in 1980 after a series of lengthy delays which sent the budget spiralling to £4.25 million, the seafront attraction, once the largest indoor pool in the country, boasted wave pools, a bar, slides, licensed night club and a monorail and regularly pulled in about 4,000 visitors a day in its first decade.
But by the early 1990s numbers were waning. In 2001 the running of the centre was taken over by not-for-profit trust Clwyd Leisure, set up by Denbighshire County Council.
The trust went into liquidation in 2014 and the pool – described by the AJ in July 1980 as a ‘60m span, glazed portal frame shed’ – shut its doors the same year. A revamp of the 36-year-old building, the council later confirmed, was deemed too costly.
scan plan of Rhyl Sun Centre
Once the centre is flattened the site, which has been boarded up, will be partially landscaped and there are plans by Neptune Development to build a new aquatic centre further along the promenade.
According to Denbighshire Council, the much-photographed octopus and elephant slides in the centre will be sold for scrap.
Council leader Hugh Evans told local press the demolition work marked ‘an important milestone for Rhyl’s waterfront development’, hailing the move as ‘the first piece of the regeneration jigsaw.’
However, the plans have not been universally welcomed and a last-minute petition was launched last month in a bid to save the landmark, which campaigners claim ‘made thousands of memories for families from Rhyl and throughout the UK’.
‘A wonderful chapter in the architectural history of indoor swimming pools will now be lost forever’
A spokesperson for the Twentieth Century Society added: ‘It is a real shame that we were not notified in advance of these demolition works. The heritage value of modern pop culture is too often overlooked, and this wonderful chapter in the architectural history of indoor swimming pools will now be lost forever.’