Conwy cabinet supports non-sand option for Llandudno’s North Shore beach

THE cabinet of Conwy County Borough Council (CCBC) has backed plans to improve coastal defences at Llandudno’s North Shore beach without the addition of sand.

At a meeting on Tuesday, September 27, the cabinet approved its support of the option to modify and extend the existing dwarf wall to the rear of the promenade at North Shore.

At West Shore, these plans will involve the modification and extension of the existing rear wall between, Gloddaeth Avenue and the Welsh Water pumping station.

A full business case, as requested by the Welsh Government’s Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM) branch, and which is in line with Coastal Risk Management Programme (CRMP) guidance, will now be submitted.

In August, Welsh Government rejected CCBC’s proposal for funding to see sand returned to North Shore beach.

The schemes at both North and West Shore are expected to benefit a combined 5,307 properties.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Cllr Chris Cater (Penrhyn ward) said: “I’d like to support those recommendations.

“It is disappointing that Llandudno is not going to have the restored sandy beach that we remember.

“I was in Llandudno at noon yesterday (September 26), when there was a high tide and wind was blasting in from the North and North East, and the waves were crashing on the prom.

“We really need to reduce the coastal flood risk to those 5,000 properties in Llandudno; it was blatantly obvious again yesterday.

“I do support these proposals because we’ve got to get on with defending Llandudno.”

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Geraint Edwards, head of service at CCBC’s Environment, Roads and Facilities, added: “I think, for the sand funding, we have to look outside of the CRMP funding.

“It’s quite clear that CRMP won’t provide funding (for this), so alternative funding from other streams now need to be considered.”

Cllr Charlie McCoubrey (Pen-sarn Pentre Mawr ward), council leader, added: “I think it’s clear that the CRMP scheme is purely flood defences, and we’ll carry on with that.

“It’s hard to think of somewhere you can get that kind of money off the top of your head, but that doesn’t mean to say we don’t keep lobbying for it.

“It (Llandudno) is the queen of Welsh resorts, and tourism is an incredibly important industry for us in Conwy.”

Cllr Aaron Wynne (Llanrwst a Llanddoged ward) added: “As a councillor who represents a town that has to deal with flooding on a constant basis, I think we have to go with the option Welsh Government are offering here.

“We can’t lose out on this money; we have to protect Llandudno.”

Prior to this meeting, in a response received from Julie James MS, minister for climate change, the Aberconwy MS, Janet Finch-Saunders, discovered that, while Welsh Government accepts that sand can be an effective sea defence, it remains opposed to deploying it on North Shore.

Mrs Finch-Saunders has been fighting since 2014 to see a programme of works undertaken to remove quarry stones from the beach, and to have sand returned.

Commenting on the response, she said: “Having previously indicated that sand would not be a feasible option for Llandudno’s North Shore beach, Julie James MS has now confirmed that the use of sand on both the Rhos-on-Sea and Colwyn Bay beaches is viewed as an effective sea defence.

“I am deeply disappointed that, once again, the Welsh Government have agreed that sand can be used effectively to protect communities from coastal erosion and flooding, but remain determined not to see it used at the queen of Welsh Resorts, a position that I and others will find totally ridiculous.

“Llandudno plays a leading role in the national tourism sector.

“It has been identified that, should the town continue to adapt to the changing conditions within the tourism market and invest accordingly, there is every possibility that the number of day visitors could increase from 2.88 million in 2018 to 4.08 million by 2045.

“Additionally, the economic impact of tourism in Llandudno is expected to rise to over £500million by 2045.

“I believe that the restoration of a sandy beach at North Shore is vital if we as a community are to achieve these ambitious targets.

“Visitors, businesses, residents, the local authority and other elected representatives can all see the common-sense approach of utilising sand to protect Llandudno while simultaneously supporting the local economy.

“It appears that it is only the Welsh Government that cannot see the win-win outcome in such a programme.

“Currently, I am still awaiting a response from Vaughan Gething MS, minister for the economy, regarding other potential funding avenues that could be used to see sand returned to this beach.

“I remain firmly committed to exploring all possible opportunities to see a sandy beach returned at the North Shore.”

In response to Mrs Finch-Saunders’ comments, a Welsh Government spokesperson said: “We are providing record levels of flood risk management funding, which includes earmarking funding for Llandudno North Shore Beach.

“Our flood risk management budget aims to reduce risk to life and property.

“We consider the cost effectiveness of every business case and prioritise funding accordingly to enable us to channel investment fairly to communities at risk of flooding.

“Following the approval by Conwy Council’s cabinet to support a non-sand option for the North Shore at Llandudno, we look forward to receiving the funding application and to working with them on the development of this next phase.

“Value for money for the taxpayer, the level of flood protection afforded to the community, the potential wider benefits and the associated environmental and carbon impacts of potential measures are key considerations in designing flood mitigation measures.

“We are satisfied that Conwy Council has taken these issues into account.”

North Wales Pioneer | Llandudno