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Rhyl's landmark Sun Centre set for demolition


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

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.’

 73593878 rhyl

73593878 rhyl


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Readers' comments (2)

  • Really glad that this had been highlighted, I have very fond memories of this rightly described 'landmark' its a shame how council mismanagement led to its closing down and subsequent status of being set for demolition.

    The current plans for the redevelopment of whats in its direct vicinity look very disappointing indeed and don't really seem to capture the seaside town spirit. Alas if this was south of the Watford Gap I'm sure it would still be a destination...

    Enjoyed the 80's clipping as well. Thanks for raising it's (and by virtue the towns) profile.

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  • The demolition of the Sun Centre will leave just one of the major leisure pools built/conceived in the 70's by Gillinson Barnett and Faulkner Browns- Swindon Oasis. These buildings are (or mostly were) an important part of the culture of latter part of the 20th century and it is sad that they have not been preserved. While none of them could be deemed iconic, as this term is used about buildings these days, they all brought a huge amount of pleasure to millions of people in a way that most buildings do not.

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