MEnter the name Rhyl and for many it conjures up an image of family vacations on the North Wales coast, dodgem cars and long sandy beaches, although now a bit dated. For a certain generation it may trigger memories of moms and dads struggling to fit assorted sunbeds, spades and overzealous kids into the back of a Ford Anglia. But those booming days as one of Britain’s most popular holiday destinations are long gone.
As with many other seaside towns, the cool breeze of changing leisure habits as foreign travel and the relative glamor of Spanish Costas and Greek taverns began to blow more and more loudly from the 1970s. And while other Welsh resorts either redefine themselves or, like Aberystwyth, had a university community to provide meaning and context, Rhyl has struggled with an existential dilemma centered on its identity.
The cumulative effect has been devastating not only economically but also socially. Its two electoral wards are officially the most disadvantaged in Wales, according to the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation, which is published every five years, with West Rhyl 2 being ranked the worst among the country’s “lower super output” areas at 1,896 . It has been rated the “most dangerous medium-sized town” in Clwyd, and the second most dangerous in the whole of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with the most common crimes being violence and sex offences. In addition, these crimes are thought to be worse, along with drug abuse, possession of weapons, and offenses of public order.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /