Prestatyn’s economy is characterised by many small businesses and strong business networks. Major employment sectors are in the Public sector (2538), Wholesale and retail trade (1202), Construction (610), Accommodation and Food (591) and Manufacturing (587). Tourism has a strategic significance to the local economy bringing revenue to the area through retail trade, accommodation and food spend. There are a number of long standing tourism assets such as the beaches, golf, walking and cycling opportunities, accommodation offer and holiday parks at Presthaven Sands and Pontins. Leisure and tourism facilities have also enjoyed substantial investment in recent years with major redevelopment of the SCALA, NOVA and North Wales Bowls Centre all benefiting.
In recent years’ retail too has seen significant investment with the Parc Prestatyn retail park opening in 2013. Some concerns were raised about the potential impact on high street shops but the data shows that despite an initial increase in vacant town centre properties to 10% this has subsequently improved to under 7% in 2015 which was the lowest level since 2010 and well below the national average.
When estimates of income and deprivation are considered we see that Prestatyn is a mixed community with some areas (Prestatyn East and Prestatyn Central 1) having higher median household incomes than Denbighshire, and others (notably Prestatyn Central 2) having lower. Like the county as a whole, incomes reduced during the financial crisis of 2008 onwards and have yet to return to pre-crisis levels. Unemployment in Prestatyn is low compared to other parts of the UK.
Education and skills are a crucial enabler of prosperity. The Prestatyn & Meliden Area has 4 English medium primary schools: Bodnant Community Primary, Ysgol Penmorfa, Ysgol Clawdd Offa and Ysgol Melyd; and a Welsh medium primary school Ysgol Y Llys. The area is also home to an English medium secondary school Prestatyn High. In common with other Denbighshire secondary schools, Prestatyn High School has seen significant improvement in recent years but there is now concern that the pace of improvement is not keeping up with that of other areas. It now performs relatively poorly in terms of the percentage of pupils achieving the core subject indicator at both Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 3.
Skills are more difficult to measure skills in the working age population, but we can see from the 2011 census that Prestatyn had a smaller proportion of the work force with higher qualifications (NVQ level 4 and above) and a larger proportion of people with no qualification when compared to England. Participants in the community conversation suggested that a diverse range of education opportunities should be developed to meet a growing need for a hands on, practical skilled workforce. There was also an expectation of growth in the creative industries.
The Prestatyn Area contains a number of significant sites of natural beauty, biodiversity and scientific interest. Currently restoration work is being undertaken on the SSSI grasslands across Prestatyn Hillside. Gronant Dunes Special Protection Area is home to a number of rare species notably the Little Tern Colony which is the only breeding colony found in Wales. This site is internationally important as it contributes to over 10% of the entire UK breeding population as well as supplementing other important colonies.
A number of community schemes, in the area, have enhanced environmental resilience while promoting community spirit and social wellbeing. These include Coed Y Morfa Community Woodland and Community Food Growing Area which is now an attractive area in the heart of Prestatyn with excellent walking/cycling and volunteering opportunities. Also the development of Meliden Goods Shed into a vibrant Community Hub that promotes the outstanding recreational, historical and biodiversity interests in the immediate area.
Prestatyn also hosts major off-shore wind turbines producing renewable energy, contributing to the battle against carbon emissions and climate change. Increasing climate variability and extreme weather events bring with them an increased risk of flooding incidents to all coastal towns including Prestatyn.
19% of Denbighshire’s population reside in the Prestatyn area. A similar (20%) proportion of the county’s social service clients reside in the Prestatyn area. This includes 24% of the counties adult carer clients, 22% of the counties learning disability clients and 20% of the counties PDSI/Frailty clients.
Prestatyn has a high proportion of older people which is expected to rise. Accompanying this is an expected increase in age related illnesses such as dementia and an increase in people requiring assistance with personal care, mobility and everyday tasks.
Prestatyn includes key assets and examples of social care and health collaboration and integration. Nant y Mor Extra Care housing and the Healthy Prestatyn Iach.
The Healthy Prestatyn Iach is an innovative primary care NHS service absolutely committed to providing the best, person-focused, experience possible. The Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board managed practice is one of the largest in North Wales, serving 19,900 patients.
They have a broad and forward-looking range of professionals who are grouped together into KeyTeams. There are five of these multi-disciplinary KeyTeams, each one caring for a specific group of patients. Each KeyTeam contains GPs, Nurse Practitioners, Occupational Therapists, Pharmacists and a dedicated coordinator. Supporting the teams are a range of other highly skilled professionals, for example, physiotherapists.
This arrangement means that people can be seen directly by the person most appropriate for their care needs, and ensures that GPs can devote their time to those patients who need to see a doctor.
Active leisure opportunities can help people achieve healthy lifestyles. Facilities include:
The redeveloped Nova centre where there has been investment in the swimming, fitness and soft play offer. Over 1,000 members are regularly using the fitness suite, the swim lesson programme is growing and the soft play facility is full to capacity at peak times.
The North Wales Bowls Centre which continues to be popular following its refurbishment attracting over 16,000 visits last year.
Planned improvement to the Prestatyn and Dyserth Health Walks to encourage healthier lifestyles, and
Improve the start/ end of the Offa’s Dyke National Trail at the Nova.
In addition, a wide range of sporting and recreational activities are available within the community, such as Prestatyn Tennis Club, football club, cricket club, three outdoor and one indoor bowling venues, ten pin bowling at Frith beach, walking for health and Prestatyn Rambling Club.
The Prestatyn Area displays a very large proportion of people who identify their ethnic group as White – British at 96.1%. This is larger than the proportion in Wales (93.2%) and the proportion in the UK (80.5%).
48.7% of Prestayn’s population were born in Wales which is lower than the 58.1% of Denbighshire’s whole population born in Wales and Wales’s total population of 72.7%. (source: Population characteristics (Census 2011).
All of the wards in the Prestatyn Area have larger proportions of their population who are disabled or experience a limiting long-term illness than it the case in Denbighshire, Wales or England. A Disability Sport programme is in place for Prestatyn with inclusive activities at Prestatyn Athletics Club.
There is little research about other protected characteristics that is specific to the Prestatyn area. Nevertheless, many of the challenges faced by different groups, described in other parts of this assessment, are likely to affect some Prestatyn residents too.
In common with other parts of Denbighshire and Conwy rates of crime and anti-social behaviour are low.
Prestatyn has a large number of active community and voluntary sector groups providing services, volunteering opportunities and managing a number of buildings and facilities. There are also a wide range of Churches and Chapels providing space for worship and community activities.
In particular, there are a large number of Community Events including Flower Festival Vicarage garden, Life’s a Beach, Prestatyn Carnival, Prestatyn Walking Festival, Prestatyn Classic Car and seasonal events.
Examples of recent investment in housing stock and adjacent environment include the Caradog Road site where good quality communal garden spaces to the rear of the properties with paved seating areas, wider paths for better access, raised planters, trees and hedge to screen the railway line and shopping area, have been developed. The area to the front of the flats was enhanced to create a more attractive streetscape.
In Denbighshire as a whole 24.6% of people over the age of 3 reported they were able to speak Welsh. The proportion who speak Welsh in the Prestatyn area being 15.1%, which is also lower than the all Wales figure of 19%. (source: Population characteristics (Census 2011).
Cultural assets include the SCALA Prestatyn, which has a long history as a theatre, performing arts and cinema venue and benefits from a recent redevelopment. Prestatyn Library & One Stop Shop was developed as a modern paper based and digital information resource and point of contact for the public and public service providers.
The area boasts a rich heritage including a Roman Bath site, the masterwork of dark-age engineering which is Offa’s Dyke and its modern beginning / end statue and a range of Victorian and Edwardian listed buildings including several churches, chapels and other structures and the iconic Hillside Gardens Shelter.
The range of heritage, cultural and environmental assets and developments provides Prestatyn’s contribution to a Globally Responsible Wales. Sustainability principles will be implemented through the Wellbeing Plan, Local Development and Regeneration Plans, biodiversity and conservation work.
A specific example is: Youth Workers work with organisations that support children and young people from Chernobyl to experience life in North Wales. Young people and families develop a wide appreciation of globalisation responsibilities and the impact of people.
Positive and Successful Experiences
County conversation workshop participants in a North Denbighshire focus group listed many positive experiences related to the local natural environment. They valued areas where there has been additional tree planting, waste lands have been developed into nature reserves and other areas that have been left to grow so nature can regenerate itself. They also valued good housing support, as well as the community support throughout the Covid-19 pandemic which seen communities come together to provide food, support and medication to those in need.
As part of the County Conversation, focus groups were held with all mainstream secondary school councils and the youth council. A theme common across all young people sessions was the positive impact of having access to local green spaces, beaches and scenery throughout the county. They enjoy that these areas are peaceful and calm with opportunities to spot wildlife. It was felt that there are a lot of good walking areas and outdoor spaces which were especially important as they are a free activity for young people to enjoy.
The young people we engaged with mentioned the community spirit they have experienced is important. There were many other important aspects of the community that they valued. Some examples include:
- Community events
- Small well connected and friendly community
- Small and independent businesses
- Feeling safe in the community
Young people, particularly in the north of Denbighshire, expressed their enjoyment of a great selection of restaurants and tourism activities such as arcades within their local areas.
North Denbighshire residents envisioned a place where the council would increase its engagement with communities to enable them to be more resilient. Particularly in relation to the council supporting community profiles through assistance, encouragement and through financial support.
Participants said they expected to see more carbon consumption activities and said that the council should ensure economic initiatives that are more environmentally sustainable and supportive of the local area.
Some young people had ambitious and specific career aspirations such a being prime minster or working in the Bermuda Triangle finding new aquatic creatures. In the main, having a successful career featured as a high priority for all young people throughout this engagement. Some young people could see themselves progressing through education to university and others wanted to start their own businesses.
Whilst many could see themselves moving overseas, it was encouraging to hear that most young people envisioned themselves staying and settling here in Wales with a successful career and a happy family.
What needs to be done now?
Participants emphasised the need for active travel improvements. It was felt that having these facilities would have economic benefits to encourage people to shop locally rather than online which another pressure local towns and village are facing.
There was also a desire for more activities for older people, to prevent loneliness and isolation, which is felt to be common, and to encourage older people to get back into the community and contribute to the local economy.
Job creation and employment opportunities were a high priority for people.
Consideration was given to the fact that Covid-19 has changed the working styles in many organisations and it was felt that as more organisation are working flexibly, which in turn releases more office space, it was hoped these spaces could be repurposed into social housing or apartments.
Participants wanted to ensure water quality remains at a good standard throughout the county, eg river, sea, streams and fresh water provisions.
Throughout all focus groups that were held with young people, it was frequently mentioned that there are not enough activities for young people. Young people noted that when the weather is bad they struggle to find activities that are affordable, and they can often be labelled ‘trouble makers’ if they are seen in groups on the street with nowhere to go. Some ideas of improvements that were suggested include:
- More investment is needed in youth club’s facilities to make them more attractive to young people. As well as more organised events and better publicity.
- There is a lack of sport activities in general. One young person mentioned that the sports activities on offer are those that may be perceived as male activities e.g. football; and there is a particular lack in female sport such as gymnastics and netball.
- Investment and maintenance of local parks
- Reduce the prices of leisure centres to make them more accessible to young people and locals in the area, namely SC2.
- Utilise leisure centres for activities and clubs aimed at secondary school students as it is felt that there is a lot of young children and infants.
- More sports facilities and other types of equipment’s in outdoor spaces such as volley ball nets and racket sports.
- Reading cafes and healthier food restaurants for young people to socialise in
- Make better use of unused land in towns, a popular idea was an outdoor swimming pool
- Better cycle paths
Young people were enthusiastic about their enjoyment of cultural and community events and they wanted to see more arranged in their communities. Music events and other outdoor events were popular suggestions and it was suggested that annual events would increase tourism into areas. Pupils from one school agreed that there could be better use of events areas and facilities. An example was given of the site which the Eisteddfod is hosted on which isn’t used at certain times of the year. It was proposed that this could be used during these times for events and activities targeted at young people.
There was also a call for a number of environmental improvements across the county, including:
- More bins in the community. Specifically, those that are split into general waste and recycling
- Increase litter pickers to reduce harmful litter
- Biodegradable dog bag dispensers
- Less factories which cause pollution
- Increased environmental education in schools
An important point to note is that young people want to be involved in decision making. They expressed an interest in wanting to understand what the council does and to have the opportunity to have their voices heard within the local council.
Other common themes included:
- Increased employment opportunities for young people especially those with no experience
- Public transport improvements to support young people e.g. lower prices and better routes throughout the county
- Dog specific parks and fields
- Disabled young adult clubs
- Community safety concerns e.g. better street lighting and increased police presence
- Updated highstreets shops as there is currently a lot of charity shops
Risks and barriers to overcome
Participants recognised a tension between land needed for housing and some areas not wanting more housing. Although any new permissions should involve energy efficient technology.
Participants were concerned that a heavy public sector presence in the area, and job automation could pose a risk to local economic jobs and developments, and hinder the progress of other priorities to tackle employment for instance.