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MS slams Welsh Government for lack of sand on popular beach

09 May 2024 4 minute read
Llandudno’s North Beach. Photo via Google

Richard Evans, local democracy reporter

A call has been made for urgent action after a beach in Wales was voted the most disappointing in the UK.

Aberconwy MS Janet Finch-Saunders has accused the Welsh Government of “not giving anything back” to Llandudno’s hoteliers, retailers, and residents after the town’s North Shore beach was named the most disappointing, according to TripAdvisor reviews.

In 2014 Conwy County Council placed hundreds of tonnes of boulders on the beach as part of a sea defence scheme.

Whilst the town is better protected from rising sea levels, some say the beach is now unusable for many visitors.

Sea-defence scheme

In March the Welsh Government gave Conwy Council £5.2m for improvements to its latest sea-defence scheme, protecting 4,982 residential properties and 1,056 businesses.

But the Welsh Government refuses to pay the additional £12m needed to create 600m of sandy beach as part of the scheme.

Mrs Finch-Saunders has slammed the Welsh Government, accusing them of giving nothing back to businesses, residents and visitors who pay millions in taxes every year.

“I’m absolutely appalled by the Welsh Government,” she said.

“The option that was put to them was a business case supported by Conwy County Council itself for a sandy beach restoration.

“Yes, it was more of a cost, but when you look at the figures and take away what was spent on Penrhyn Bay and take away what they’ve spent on West Shore, the difference wasn’t that much in the scheme of things.

“I believe a sandy beach is important to our town. I also know, in terms of revenue from business rates that our retailers and our hoteliers pay, it is millions of pounds that comes from Llandudno as a whole, and everybody I speak to wants to see a sandy beach restored.

“It’s not just about aesthetics. It is about disabled people can’t go on there. Children can’t go on there. The elderly can’t go on there. Children do go on there, and they get injured.

“It is shocking, and I keep fighting this because they are wrong to be doing this cheap scheme as they did in 2014 when they spent £1.4m of Welsh Government money to just dump quarry rock.

“It was horrendous, and of course, some of those (rocks) have worn down over the years, but we don’t want that hard rock approach.

“There is talk of more rocks going on there. We want a sea defence scheme that restores the sand.

“If they won’t pay for it through the sea defence money, the Welsh Government should be looking at the amenities that beach gives to our tourism, and they should be giving us tourism funding.”

£12 million

Mrs Finch-Saunders said she believes the Welsh Government would have paid the £12m needed if Llandudno beach was in South Wales.

“We are fed up of all the big projects going on in South Wales. This is an ask for the beach in Llandudno to be restored once and for all, to give back to the hoteliers, the retailers, the visitors, the residents. Just give them the beach they want once and for all,” she said.

“Anything that damages Llandudno’s reputation… We cannot afford to see people buying packages in the Lake District or other parts of England.

“We want them to come to Llandudno.

“Llandudno is a Victorian holiday destination and has been kept beautifully by Mostyn Estates and all our hard-working private business owners who don’t get anything from the Welsh Government, but they do spend a lot.

“Some of the hotels pay £700,000 a year, £500,000 a year, in business rates, and what do they get? Nothing.”

A Welsh Government spokeswoman said: “Our flood risk management budget aims to reduce risk to life and property and there are key things we consider before approving funding.

“These include the level of flood protection afforded to the community, associated environmental and carbon impacts, and value for money.

“Conwy’s outline business case found that installing a sandy beach would be significantly more expensive than their preferred option.

“It would also have much greater environmental and carbon impacts and would not provide any additional flood risk benefit.”

Conwy County Council was contacted for a comment.


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Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
13 days ago

JFS has taken a walk from her constituency office to the north shore beach and said to herself that we need to get rid of these rocks to expose the seafront hotels to flooding. She blames the Welsh government for their presence and will do the same in their absence if, God forbid, the hotels get flooded. A friend of mine on the west shore side was flooded out of a basement flat in the 90s. The water even consumed the ceiling light flex. EVERYTHING lost, devastating trauma. I saw it but who cares, eh? Certainly not JFS. Don’t let… Read more »

blc
blc
13 days ago

And if the Senedd HAD funded the additional £12m, the narrative would have been “Why are they spending £12m on this vanity project when our NHS and schools are in disrepair?” Perhaps Mrs Finch-Saunders might find it more productive to work with Welsh Government ministers, instead of throwing rocks from the sidelines. No doubt she would be of great benefit in helping to determine the services that should be cut back in order to fund the project from an already insufficient budget. But working with the Welsh Government would entail cross-party cooperation, discussion, negotiation, and compromise. These qualities are, sadly,… Read more »

Last edited 13 days ago by blc
Steve Woods
Steve Woods
13 days ago

Vote Labour, get coastal erosion!

That will look good on your next election posters, Ms Finch-Saunders.

hdavies15
hdavies15
13 days ago
Reply to  Steve Woods

… or “Vote for JFS and get more trash talk “. Tories have the skids under them and they are now spewing bile on their way out and down the plughole.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
13 days ago

Lovely stretch of sandy beach in Rhos to go with the great shops, chippies and cafes…

Ap Kenneth
Ap Kenneth
13 days ago

aah but if it was in South Wales, JFS totally forgetting that the beach restoration in Colwyn Bay was funded by the Welsh Government. But the sand at the North Shore was dissappearing before 2014 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-north-west-wales-21610436 Ask yourelves why the sand in the picture is so far below the level of the Prom, necessitating the rock armour. Largely because the sea wants the beach to be in the middle of town which is a reclaimed marsh behind two storm beaches. Slight changes to sea level and storms means the sea wants that temporary land back. Any sand stacked up there… Read more »

Ianto
Ianto
13 days ago

Yeah, right, close a couple of local schools to pay for a beach. Tories, eh? Evil or just thick?

Jeff
Jeff
12 days ago

I thought any expenditure from the Welsh government should go to the NHS, according to the cons that is. Free school meals, should be NHS, Airport, should be NHS, 20mph, should be NHS, supporting vulnerable, should be NHS, pay rises, should be NH…. er… thank you very much.

Nobby
Nobby
12 days ago

The old wooden groynes built by craftsmen were far more efficient and aesthetic looking than a bunch of rubble dumped on a beach.

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