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Safety fears raised over crumbling seawall

26 Aug 2023 4 minute read
The crumbling wall along the Caernarfon shore

Dale Spridgeon, local democracy reporter

Authorities have been warned that children’s lives could be put at “at risk” by a crumbling sea-wall along a popular coastal route.

Melanie Clowes is urging the local council to “do something soon” to fix and maintain coastal erosion problems on the Aber Foreshore.

Parts of the land in the Y Foryd area, beside the Menai Strait appear to be breaking up below the road.

The coastal route, skirts around the shoreline in the area below the Coed Helen children’s play park and as far as the golf course, for about a quarter of a mile.

Now Mrs Clowes’s bid to raise awareness of the issues has prompted Cyngor Gwynedd to take action.

It has confirmed that it has opened discussions with partners over Gwynedd’s “challenging” coastal infrastructure and was looking at “options to form a long-term solution.”

In the meantime, it would be revisiting the site to “evaluate the situation” and consider what short term measures would be needed to “protect the public.”

After working and living in the area for 24 years, Mrs Clowes and her husband say they have watched the area deteriorate, but she claims the situation is worse after the recent storms.

Poor condition

“The retaining wall along the Menai Strait is in a very poor condition.” She said.

“It’s been in a state of collapse or near collapse for many years despite various people and myself contacting the council over the years.

“I am not sure who is responsible, but in my opinion they should do more to maintain the area.”

In some areas heavy blocks and concrete appear suspended with little support material underneath, although a fence has been put in place.

“In parts, there are areas with cave-like gaps which could entice a child to crawl inside.” Mrs Clowes said.

“If a child played in there, they would be dead if it collapses, It is really only a matter of time before there will be a fatality. I can’t sleep at night, it is a worry.”

Cave like areas have opened up in the sea wall


Mr Clowes, who is a mum of grown-up children and has a three-year-old grand child.

“More needs to be done,” she said. Before Covid they erected fencing but people can still get through.

“There is deep erosion of the wall under the surface, with hollowed out areas, when you see close up and realise just how little is holding it up in places, its shocking.

“All it will take is a couple of bad storms coupled with high tides and the wall area could wash away completely.”

She also says the pavement has seen damage in some areas, claiming it is hard in places for mums with pushchairs or people on mobility scooters to navigate.

She is now calling on the council as a “matter of urgency” to address the problems.

A Cyngor Gwynedd spokesperson said: “Unfortunately, sea level rises and more frequent storms caused by global warming are damaging coastal defences, coastal roads and paths in many areas along Gwynedd’s coastline.

“We are working with partners, including Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales, to protect the public, monitor changes and maintain or improve coastal infrastructure.

“However, the scale of the climate change and the limited resources available mean that is an increasingly challenging task.

“With regards to the Foryd near Caernarfon, as a temporary measure, fencing has been put in place to discourage members of the public from accessing those parts of the sea wall that have been damaged over recent years.

“The Council is currently looking at options to form a long-term solution to address the continuing damage to the sea wall.

“In the meantime, officers will be re-visiting the site to evaluate the situation and to consider what short-term measures need to be implemented to ensure public safety.”

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