Offshore wind farm threat to Rhyl Golf Club’s future
Richard Evans, local democracy reporter
Plans for a wind farm off the coast of Colwyn Bay to Llanfairfechan could threaten the future of Rhyl Golf Club.
RWE Renewables want to build the Awel Y Mor wind farm to the west of the existing Gwynt y Mor site around 10.5 km off the coast.
As part of the plans, high voltage underground cable is proposed to be installed from the landfall location at Rhyl golf course, leading to a new substation west of St Asaph Business Park.
The proposed 91-turbine wind farm is a national significant infrastructure project. Councillors heard how compulsory acquisition powers could be used to allow the developer to take possession of land and carry out works on streets and sewers.
The matter came before Denbighshire’s planning committee today as part of a pre-planning committee statuary consultation process. The consultation gives both Conwy and Denbighshire councils, as well as other public bodies, the chance to have their say.
Councillors heard how RWE’s preferred option is to build on Rhyl Golf Club, although a second alternative option is also at the early phase of discussion.
Cllr Barry Mellor said he and other councillors had met with Rhyl Golf Club and representatives from RWE where a plan A and plan B scenario had been discussed. Plan B would involve an alternative cable route.
“This offshore wind farm will be off, more or less, the Great Orme, and I know Conwy (County) Council are not very happy with this Awel Y Mor wind farm,” he said.
“But my concern is where the cable is going to come onto land which will be just where the new flood defences are on the east ward of Rhyl, by the Rhyl Golf Club.
“On Monday myself and the other ward member Cllr Tony Thomas and Cllr Brian Jones met with the people from Awel Y Mor and with Rhyl Golf Club, as it came to light that there are two plans in the offering.
“They haven’t actually set out what the plans are, but I retain (there is a) plan A and plan B.
“If plan A was to go forward, Awel Y Mor want to place two transition joint boxes on two 20 metre by five metre concrete slabs in the middle of the Rhyl golf course.
“This would be right across the fourth, the fifth and the sixth fairways. This would close Rhyl Golf Club. Rhyl Golf Club has been open for 130 years, one of the former founders of golf in North Wales.”
Cllr Mellor said RWE should be pressured into drilling under the golf club when considering plans for option B.
He said: “I’m pleading on two counts here with you, members, that within the consultation that we press that Awel Y Mor goes for plan B, but we must state that plan B is that they drill from the other side of the Robin Hood camp, come under the Robin Hood, under the railway line, under the road, under the golf club and under the new sea defences.”
Cllr Brian Jones said RWE were “arrogant” during recent discussions.
“After the meeting with the golf club recently, they (RWE) went down in my estimations, and I told them so,” he said.
“They came across as pretty arrogant. It was obvious they virtually made amounts (the cost) up for option A.
“I was extremely disappointed when I asked, ‘can you give me a budget indication of the cost difference between option A and option B?’
“The gentlemen chairing said that he hadn’t got that information. I sort of laughed at him and said, ‘do us a favour, a project of this size and you haven’t got a handle of budget costs, and you can’t tell us what the budget cost is between option A and option B. I chucked (the figure) £10M at him, and then he made the comment that they had a cost but didn’t want to discuss confidential information.
“At the moment, they are set on option A, as Cllr Mellor has pointed out, and that will be the end of Rhyl Golf Club.”
A report will now be put together by Denbighshire County Council officers before Monday’s consultation deadline, informing RWE of the consensus before a planning application is made. The report will back the case for not building on Rhyl Golf Club.
The matter is also up for discussion at Conwy County Council tomorrow.