Snowdonia car park to get major upgrade to ‘bring safety and control’
Dale Spridgeon, Local Democracy Reporter
A bid to bring “order and control” to a Snowdonia beauty spot that has been at times almost overwhelmed with visitors, has won unanimous backing.
Cyngor Gwynedd’s planning committee has approved a bid to create more than 100 parking spots for cars, camper vans and disabled bays at Y Glyn, on the banks of Llyn Padarn in Llanberis.
Known locally as the “lagoons” the area is hugely popular with tourists to North Wales and locals alike. But since the post-lockdown staycation boom the area has struggled to absorb the sheer number of day-trippers and there has been traffic gridlock at the site, at the height of the summer season.
The planning committee met this week to discuss a full application for the rearrangement of the area, and to formalise the parking provision. The plans said the current informal parking spots were “excessively full and dangerous at times”.
There were currently no marked parking areas, bays, or specific footpaths, and the area was full of ‘dangerous’ potholes.
Addressing the meeting, Llanberis councillor Kim Jones said another application, to seek parking charging in the area, was also on the cards. Both applications were borne out the “frustration” that the chaos caused for local people.
The car parks fell within the Padarn Country Park in a Site of Special Scientific Interest and adjacent to the World Heritage Site. The current proposal would see car park area “No 1” developed to include 52 car parking bays, three disabled parking bays and nine camper van parking bays.
A drinking water fountain would be installed, as well as a bicycle, shelter with a green roof and timber cladding for up to 10 bicycles with three EV charging points for electric cars added.
An area to wash canoes and equipment had been removed from the plans due to concerns raised by Natural Resources Wales, the meeting heard. Car park area “No 2” would see 57 car parking bays, one trailer parking bay and 13 camper van parking bay.
Car park area “No 3” would get three car parking bays, two. disabled parking bays and four camper van bays. An accessible walking path with tarmac surface and installation of a gravel cell surface system, would be created, with light grey gravel in the parking areas and dark grey in the roadways to provide “visual contrast.”
Planning officer Keira Ann Sweenie said the main considerations were for the visual impact on the environment and impact on trees and habit. The plans gave “an opportunity to improve the quality of parking and ensured the area be “tidied up and was more orderly for the users and long-term management of the site”.
Hardstanding would improve facilities for people with mobility problems and bike storage would encourage use of sustainable transport. She noted the scheme would change the nature of the site, and included clearing some trees.
“The plans do include replanting, and the mitigation work means the trees will be planted as well as vegetation an area double the value of what will be cut back,” Ms Sweenie added.
Being within an SSSI, if all mitigation measures were followed, it was “unlikely” it would lead to lead to significant impact on ecology. The trees unit had confirmed the arboriculture impact was of an “acceptable standard” and suggested measures to save trees and woodland.
Cllr Kim Jones said the improvements were part of the council’s Parc Padarn plans. The situation at the site she said had been “concerning” and “a lot of pressure (had been) put on the council to do something about it”.
“Cars are parked all over the place, there are potholes which appear often and are a danger. It is an area popular with motorhomes who park free of charge overnight, and currently the park budget is used to clear the site in the evenings.”
It was also popular area for bikes but there was no storage, and also an area where rubbish was discarded. Resurfacing and putting in one way parking schemes, would “improve safety,” she said.
The plans also “encouraged green travel” with charging .points and more bins would help with litter problems. “It was intended to submit an application for parking enforcement, on Y Glyn,” she added.
“If successful we will be able to generate income from this site and hopefully employ more wardens in the future. The public can park free of charge use the lake and toilets and no money comes into support the village which is frustrating for locals as we clean the rubbish voluntarily.
“The purpose of this project is to improve safety and have better control, of the site. If parking enforcement is in place it could help resolve matters raised by local residents for many years.
“The community council and I are very supportive of the application and called for the committee to sympathise with the current situation.” Cllr John Pugh said he was “very happy” to support the application saying anything to help with parking will be “very effective, and complied with the National Park Authority”.
Cllr Anwen Jones was happy to second the proposal and Cllr Elin Hywel said she was also “very supportive.” Cyngor Gwynedd’s planning committee accepted that the scheme be approved with conditions, in line with the officer’s recommendation.
A vote resulted in 14 in favour, carried unanimously. A statement in the plans from the town council read “This council welcomes the effort to improve the facilities at Y Glyn.
“In the council’s view it is high time to improve this area in relation to the parking and the environment.
“We hope that this work will bring some order to the area, and that it will be respected by residents and visitors. The lake is an important resource in the area and we assume that no aspect of the development will affect the local nature, bearing in mind the SSSI status of the lake and its banks.”
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So promoting further over-tourism? Why not just drain the lake and turn it into one huge car park?
Incontinent van occupants will merely move on to other sites and lay-bys to freeload…. Next location? There needs to be a county wide solution.
Why not have busses to and from Bangor/Caernarfon/Porthmadog/Bethesda? Promote our towns and cities and get the deluge of cars out of the park.
Its popular because its free. Charging will .move people to the main highways and back roads.