Posted on August 29, 2022
Hopes of bringing sand back to Llandudno’s main beach have suffered a setback – because of the estimated £24m cost. In 2014, rocks were piled onto the resort’s North Shore beach to protect seafront hotels against flooding.
Locals have long campaigned for the return of their sandy beach, arguing it would give the town a major economic boost. Conwy Council commissioned a beach management plan that would support the proposal to improve the town’s North and West Shores – with a range of options brought forward in a step to bidding for part of a £150m Welsh Government fund for coastal risk management.
The options put forward included raising promenade walls or, as many locals want, replacing the stone with sand. It is hoped work would further reduce the flood risk to more than 5,000 properties.
The cheapest option is around £7m but would leave the rocks in place while returning sand to the beach would cost around £24m. An outline business case was approved for the more expensive plan by Welsh Government – but councillors have since been told officials have “serious reservations” about the proposals.
Officials said the plan “does not appear to provide any additional flood risk management benefits”. Now Conwy councillors plan to lobby the Welsh and UK Governments about the importance of replacing the stones.
A council report warned officials were concerned about the lack of additional flood prevention benefits and the estimated £17 million extra cost of the sandy beach option. Council leader, councillor Charlie McCoubrey, told a meeting: ”We have a real desire to get sand on this beach. It’s clearly what our residents want. The war isn’t lost.”
Councillor Harry Saville was disappointed at the “bureaucratic block.” He said: ”The north shore is a really big part of Llandudno’s draw as a destination. It’s one of the UK’s top seaside destinations. This is a really important project for Llandudno.”
Councillor Frank Bradfield said: ”Llandudno is the most outstanding resort in Wales. It generates more revenue than any other seaside resort in Wales and yet it’s been allowed to deteriorate.”
Aberconwy MS Janet Finch-Saunders today said: “I am deeply disappointed with the response from the Welsh Government, the option most widely supported by residents, visitors, business owners and the previous local authority administration is to see the sand that has been covered by thousands of tonnes of quarry stone restored. It is clear that once again the Welsh Labour Government, in Cardiff Bay, is failing the people of Aberconwy and North Wales.
“They have simply chosen to ignore the need of our tourism sector here. Llandudno is without doubt the Queen of the Welsh Resorts and our local tourist and hospitality industry is an essential part of the local economy, providing thousands of jobs across North Wales.
“It is shambolic that we have a fabulous promenade however much of the beach cannot be accessed by children, the elderly and the disabled because of these huge rocks. I will be challenging the Welsh Government on its recent decision, and I will continue to work with all interested parties to see a programme of works rolled out to restore Llandudno’s North Shore sandy beach.”
A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “We are providing record levels of investment across Wales to help protect communities at risk of flooding and coastal erosion. Conwy council is responsible for identifying flood and coastal erosion risk at Llandudno and for bringing forward funding proposals for us to consider.
“We note that the Conwy CBC Scrutiny Committee approved the ‘non-sand’ option as the preferred proposal and acknowledge that Conwy CBC wishes to explore alternative funding to secure potential tourism and economic benefits. We will continue to work with the local authority to help ensure that a cost-effective and sustainable scheme can be brought forward to protect Llandudno from potential sea-level rise impacts.
“We look forward to receiving the full detailed design funding application and supporting Conwy council in meeting its Climate Emergency Declaration and Well-being of Future Generations Act commitments.” Elsewhere, work is being completed on importing one million tonnes of sand to protect neighbouring Colwyn Bay.