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MSs discuss petition calling for restoration of ‘unsightly, dangerous and inaccessible’ beach

22 Mar 2024 3 minute read
Jack Sargeant

Chris Haines, ICNN Senedd reporter

The Senedd debated a 12,000-name petition calling for the restoration of an “unsightly, dangerous and inaccessible” beach at Llandudno North Shore.

Jack Sargeant told the chamber campaigners want 50,000 tonnes of quarry rocks removed after they were dumped on the beach as part of flood defences in 2014.

Mr Sargeant, who chairs the petitions committee, said the petition warned this has destroyed the beach – making access dangerous, blighting the landscape and harming tourism.

He explained the petitioners want to see sand and groynes – barriers that extend from the shore into the sea – restored but their calls have so far been rebuffed.

Mr Sargeant, a Labour backbencher, said the climate change minister has been clear: “Her priority is the safety of people who live there and addressing the risk of flooding.”

‘Ineffective’

He raised Julie James’ warning that the pre-1996 groynes were ineffective and the business case for a 600m sandy beach would be significantly more expensive than other options.

The Alyn and Deeside MS, who visited the beach to meet campaigners, said they were keen to stress the ambition to grow the area as a tourism destination over the next 20 years.

Janet Finch-Saunders hailed Ian Turner, a local councillor, who submitted the petition, paying tribute to his passion and determination.

The Conservative MS for Aberconwy said: “Huge rocks were dumped without notice or consultation; even the town councillors didn’t know. Lorries started arriving on Good Friday.

“This was just an absolute shock to residents. There was no transparency, no accountability and no responsibility. We are now left with an unsightly, dangerous and inaccessible beach.”

‘Cheapest option’

Ms Finch-Saunders said nobody wants to see the town under water but there was an option that would see sand restored.

But she told MSs: “Once again, Llandudno felt it came down to the cheapest option of constructing a wall and the potential of adding more rock, and that … is most unacceptable.”

During the debate on March 20, Plaid Cymru’s Llŷr Gruffydd said you cannot compare a pebble beach with a sand beach.

He said: “That iconic image of the promenade at Llandudno without a golden beach doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t look right without that sweep of golden sand.”

Carolyn Thomas, a Labour backbencher, who also represents North Wales, also spoke in favour of a sandy beach, urging the UK Government to provide the necessary funding.

‘Enormous damage’

She said: “The Welsh Government no longer has funding for national schemes such as this. It’s losing out on almost £1bn of EU funding.”

Julie James, Wales’ climate change minister, told MSs the shingle bank reduces damage to the promenade and the risk of flooding caused by overtopping.

Warning of the impact of coastal storms in 2013 and 2014, she recalled how huge waves caused enormous damage to Aberystwyth promenade, for example.

Ms James said Llandudno North Shore was also impacted and while the shingle bank protected the town, material washed away leaving the town at risk.

She argued the council acted swiftly to replenish the lost material: “They did not, I’m sorry Janet, dump boulders on the beach. And nor was it not open and transparent.

Ms James said an alternative option for a 600m section of sandy beach was 14 times more expensive than the council’s preferred option, a figure disputed by the Tory benches.


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
29 days ago

A photograph of the beach in question would have been handy…one man’s pebble is another’s small boulder!

A Evans
A Evans
27 days ago

Funny that! They’ll discuss a 12,000 petition about some beach that no one visits – BUT ignore 500,000 petition to scrap the 20mph limit, which affects us all! THIS is “prioritising” in our brain dead Senedd!

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