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Plans submitted for refurbishment and repair of historic Holyhead landmark

03 Jun 2022 3 minute read
Holyhead Breakwater. Photo by Larry Myhre is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Dale Spridgeon, local democracy reporter

Plans for the “refurbishment and repair” of a Holyhead landmark battered by storms and damaged by vandals are set to go before planners.

Councillors in Anglesey will consider the proposals for maintenance at Holyhead’s historic breakwater and port area.

A full application for the “refurbishment and repair” of the Victorian breakwater structure and the manufacture of concrete at the Salt Island site has been received.

Holyhead’s breakwater provides coastal protection for the port and a number of waterfront facilities in Holyhead New Harbour.

Salt Island is a natural shelter for the town’s Old Harbour from the Irish Sea and part of the Port of Holyhead.

The latest maintenance plans include the formation of a “temporary concrete batching plant” for the “fabrication, curing and storage of concrete armour units” at Salt Island, and has been received for consideration by Anglesey County Council.

The armour units, or interlocking blocks, will be used to protect the breakwater and coastal structures from the direct impact of waves. The breakwater, which is almost 200 years old, is thought to be one of the longest in the UK.

Construction on the 1.7-mile long structure – using rock from nearby Holyhead mountain – initially started in 1848 and carried on until 1878. Operated by Stena Line Ports Ltd, the forthcoming work is being undertaken in collaboration with Anglesey County Council.


It comes after the breakwater was badly hit by Storm Arwen and Storm Barra last year. The historic location has also been the subject of recent vandalism.

Last October, Stena closed the breakwater temporarily after vicious storms rendered the area unsafe for public access. Recently, it was closed after vandals cut through a live power cable feeding the breakwater light.

A spokesperson for Stena Line said: “During the winter the breakwater was closed temporarily due to storm damage, following which we undertook repairs and were able to reopen to pedestrians.

“We continue to have a programme of ongoing routine maintenance that we undertake to preserve the historic breakwater.

“However, there needs to be a long-term strategy put in place for this important and much-loved national monument, so we are in discussions with the authorities on how best to safeguard the future care of breakwater.”

The latest application has been made by Steven Edwards for Stena Ports Ltd through the agent Jamie Gardiner. The public is able to comment on the proposals until June 26.

The application will go before the Council’s Planning and Orders Committee later this year.

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