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‘Eyesore’ Llanberis tourist attraction set to be demolished and turned into green space

21 Dec 2022 3 minute read
Jim Barton / Dinorwig Pumped Storage Visitor Centre, Llanberis / CC BY-SA 2.0

Dale Spridgeon, local democracy reporter

A landmark Gwynedd tourist attraction which deteriorated into an “eyesore” is set to be “substantially demolished” and turned into a green community space.

Council planners agreed this week to an application to knock down the Electric Mountain Visitor Centre also known as Oriel Eryri in Llanberis.

The former tourist attraction on the banks of Llyn Padarn, was previously used as a base for tours of Dinorwig Power Station. It also had a community space, staged regular exhibitions and other events and also had a shop, information centre and cafe.

A deferred decision over the site’s future was discussed after previous plans to replace the site with a car park had met with opposition. Observations by the community council to the original car park plan had described it as “…a threat to Cyngor Gwynedd’s income from car parks” and “…indirectly to the community council not to mention Y Ganolfan as its income is key to the site’s success.”

It had also been established that reopening the former tourist attraction was no longer “financially viable.” The applicant, the First Hydro Company, had stated the once popular the visitor centre had been “under-used” and and “too large for the facilities accommodated inside.”

The building was “too expensive to run and was unsustainable, the ventilation/heating system had reached the end of its lifespan.” In addition, it was confirmed that First Hydro was not in a position to offer opportunities for the public to visit the power station itself.”

It now had “no use” for the centre and over time the building’s condition would “deteriorate further.” The current condition of the structure “is already an eyesore within the local area,” the planning committee heard.

Planning officer Idwal Jones explained the current proposal was now for a “substantial demolition of the existing Electric Mountain Visitor Centre (bar the existing electricity sub-station). Change of use of the site to form a grassland area, replacement of lighting and the provision of electric vehicle charging points at the existing car park and associated landscaping.”

“An area of grassland would be used for occasional community events and would include the installation of temporary structures.”

‘Don’t object’

The recommendation was to delegate the rights to the senior planning officer to approve the application subject to a number of conditions in the planning report, which included items such as a five year time limit, risk and flooding, safeguarding measures, as well as adding a note that the applicant must submit a permit or license over permits for work to provide roosts for bats.

Councillor also heard that late observations received by the council had also included amended landscaping by the applicant and no objections had come from Welsh Water.

Speaking at the meeting local member Councillor Kim Jones said she had no objection to the application with the amendments.

“The site will be grassland, not a carpark, I don’t object to it and I don’t think the rest of the community do either,” he said.

Planners had recommended the committee members accept the recommendations with the amendment. The demolition of most of the existing Electric Mountain centre will proceed.

Councillors agreed to the plan by 10 votes, and with one abstention, none against.

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