Starling display forms part of latest plans for Wales’ oldest pier

Aberystwyth is famous for its Starling murmurations and now the town’s Royal Pier – the oldest structure of its kind in Wales – will have a dedicated viewing platform for visitors to watch mesmerising formations by the 50,000 plus birds.

Architectural designers and planning consultants, Hughes Architects, have drawn up plans for the platform as part of the latest investment to regenerate and reinvigorate the Grade II listed pier by owners Revegate Aberystwyth Ltd.

Ceredigion County Council has also approved the latest planning application that includes the creation of an indoor play area.

Last year approval was given to a new gateway to the pier that included a new frontage with updated signage and façade, retuning the pier’s entrance to its original Victorian look.

“Aberystwyth has become famous for the Starling murmurations that take place around and over the pier during the winter months and the owners wanted to provide a dedicated area where the public can come and view these amazing sights,” said Doug Hughes, principal architect and managing director at Hughes Architects.

“We’ve incorporated the platform into the latest investment that also includes an indoor play area.”

He added: “The Royal Pier’s owners are renovating and regenerating the pier as part of a long-term plan to increase visitors to it and the town.

“This is the latest part of the project and our work is to ensure the pier is returned to its original Victorian look and feel, while bringing new and modern facilities to it.

The Royal Pier was opened in 1865. Designed and built by Eugenius Birch, who was also responsible for Brighton and Margate piers, the 800ft long structure was the first pleasure pier to be built in Wales.

It had to be rebuilt a year after it opened following storms and was again structurally damaged in the 1930s.

The latest work will see the installation of new glazed screens and doors, the removal of existing internal walls, replaced with glazed screens, and the removal of a small area of floor structure.

Siwan Geraint and Henry Beddoes of Hughes Architects building design team have worked on the design, researching the pier’s architectural history, ensuring all plans for the pier meet requirements set out for listed building consent and that of CADW.

While Aberystwyth has 16,000 residents and a further 6,000 students, it has become famous in recent years for the Starling murmurations that have featured on national television and in other media. More than 50,000 of the birds take part in the daily displays and roost under the pier.

Visitors have come from throughout the world to see the displays but there has not been a dedicated viewing area, leaving most to view it from the seafront.