Decision Time for Bypass?

The Sun Sets on Llanbedr

Gwynedd Council has now registered a planning application for a bypass round Llanbedr with the Snowdonia National Park Authority (SNPA). The application does not call it a bypass, although that is obviously what it is, but clings to the illusion that it is merely improved access to the airfield.

Some people may have received the usual type of planning notification letter dated 27th July 2017 telling them that they have 21 days within which to ‘make representations’ to the SNPA. Others may have seen an announcement in the Cambrian News on 3rd August saying that they have 21 days for representations from that date too.

Many people may wonder why notification of a planning application for a major infrastructure project like this, which will transform Llanbedr, was not sent to everyone household and business in the community.

There may be others who are under the impression that they have already objected to the bypass. If you submitted a comment when you saw posters in the village during May (it was not called a bypass then either of course) that was not part of the planning process. It was a pre-planning consultation that the developers had a statutory obligation to carry out. The public’s representations were subsequently discarded and will not be seen by the planning authority. No one was told this so far as Protect Llanbedr can find out.

The SNPA’s planning website  shows that Gwynedd Council’s application comprises no fewer than 136 documents, some of them running to scores — or in one case hundreds — of pages. Much of the content, particularly that dealing with road safety, economic impact, environmental impact, and flood risk is complex and highly technical.

At least two requests have been made to the SNPA for a substantial extension of the consultation period, one by a watchdog organisation that is well equipped to asses the application and the other by a councillor. Both have now been told that representations must be submitted by 1st September. This is clearly unacceptable for the following reasons:

  1. This is a major infrastructure project that will have a transformative impact on the community of Llanbedr and on its surroundings. People’s homes and the livelihoods of those who own or work in established businesses in the village will inevitably be affected, not only by traffic being diverted away from a thriving village community, that still has pubs and shops, but by the prospect of increased traffic noise, increased risk of serious road traffic accidents, environmental impact, and flood risk.
  2. Even reading the full planning application will be a major and daunting task for those who will be affected, which is likely to require any layperson to either seek professional advice or ask questions of the planning authority and the developers. Such a process cannot, and should not, be undertaken without due time being allowed.
  3. This is the height of the tourist season when business people in this area are least likely to be able devote sufficient time and attention to the task. It is also the height of the holiday season when many people are likely to be away from home and not even be aware of what is going on until the there is insufficient time to put together adequate representations.
  4. The obstacle that this situation presents for those who wish to get expert guidance or representation before submitting comments to the SNPA is considerable and quite unjustifiable

If local democracy is to have any real meaning in this case, surely due time must be available for people who will be affected by the proposed bypass to assess the planning documents and, where necessary, access the information and advice that will allow them to present appropriate representations to the planing committee when the time comes for a decision. Even if, in due course, the SNPA considers that the predicted benefits of a bypass outweigh the downside that such a development will undoubtedly have, surely those who live and work in the village, and think otherwise, are entitled to a fair opportunity to have their objections heard, and sufficient time to make their case.

A deadline of the end of October should be set so that the period when comments will be accepted does not entirely coincide with the time of year when people have least time to devote to the matter. A bypass at Llanbedr has been under discussion since the early 1950s. Why this indecent need for haste?

Protect Llanbedr has been unable to contact the person who posted this image on the internet

12 thoughts on “Decision Time for Bypass?

  1. There is no doubt that for several months in the summer the traffic in Llanbedr is a nightmare….so it was on the M5 the other weekend with all the holiday traffic and so it is on most roads in the holiday season in the UK,
    What the locals need to be clear about is that a “bypass” will not alter the character of the village and enable development of the airfield to such an extent that Mochras will lose trade for ever and the permanent employment that it provides locally will be lost for the sake of two years of easy money from workmen brought in from outside.
    Duffryn and the road to Harlech will still remainas local bottlenecks.and the traffic problem will NOT be cured.
    An improved access road and one way system to the south might help the bridge in the village as would a footpath from the new estate across to the victoria.
    There are many features in the village (St Peters and standing stones} that could be enhanced without the eyesore and character changing effect of a modern bypass.
    The village will lose its character at its own peril… has Llanfair. .

  2. I support the proposed relief road, as do 97% of people polled, It is vital for the economic development of the area, to provide jobs, to reduce pollution in the village and improve traffic flow.

  3. Sorry Colin you are talking absolute rubbish. The bypass is not at all vital to economic development – even Gwynedd Council’s own report says so. Jobs are more likely to be provided at the airfield by investing some of the £14million pounds from the bypass to start up enterprises (which is actually what the money is supposed to be for) and for new small reactors at Traws (I assume you would support these?) and possibly to improve flood defences along the Artro. Traffic flow and pollution are very subjective – I suspect you are right that a large majority of those who don’t live in Llanbedr may well support the bypass and will happily speed by at 60mph which as I’m sure you will know is far more polluting than moving at 20mph. The ONLY reason that the bypass is being supported by politicians is to attract a spaceport here – now that would finish off Llandanwg (and Shell Island and Dyffryn Seaside Estate) as tourist spots!

  4. C J Mackie:

    Given that at no point during the planning of this scheme either the developers, or the local politicians who are supposed to represent Llanbedr people, have dared make a serious attempt to consult the community about having a bypass, it would be very interesting to what your claim of “97% of people poled” supporting a bypass is based on and who was asked.

    Anyone who has bothered to explore the issues raised by diverting tourists away from Llanbedr, and who has given the matter some thought, must conclude that there is no point in endangering the existing commercial activities of a rural community in the faint hope that there will then be an economic miracle that will repair the damage that has been done.

    Philip Ferguson:

    Having visitors who wanted to go places and see things this weekend, we travelled through the village repeatedly on Saturday and Sunday. No problem, no hold up, just holiday traffic moving slowly, but steadily and safely too. That is at a weekend in mid-August; the height of the tourist season. Sure the are delays at times, there always have been, but you are right; that is a very small price to pay for living in a village with some life to it rather than a dead one like Clynnog Fawr.

  5. Well I for one as a local resident say a very big yes to the bypass, its bloody mayhem tiring to get through Llanbedr in the holiday season and as far as saying the Bypass will kill llanbedr that’s pure rubbish as no one can find a place to park their cars owing to there is no car parking any where except the side of the road there for coursing more mayhem to through traffic and the Vic car park witch is always full by 11:00 am, more people would visit the village if there was more car parking space which a bypass would provide as there’d be no through traffic congestion anymore

  6. Bruce Williams

    Are you really suggesting that difficulty parking in the village is preventing more visitors stopping, so the answer is a bypass which will divert traffic away from the village, and there will then be fewer people wanting to park, but at the same time that will make it possible for more people to park and there will be more visitors supporting village businesses but less congested parking?

    Surely the answer would be proper off street parking, which has been talked about ever since I can remember but never acted on because local politicians have always wanted a bypass. Perhaps it is significant that the councillor who initiated the present bypass scheme, and is vigorously promoting it, no longer lives here.

  7. If the relief road was not built, we all know that the £14m saved would not be spent on other beneficial projects. And no, travelling at 60mph in the countryside is not more polluting than travelling at a stop start speed through the village. The people travelling through are not interested in stopping and spending money in Llanbedr, they just want to get somewhere. People using the shops, pubs etc in the village are already living or staying in hotels, B&Bs, caravan sites or camping locally. They will spend more time in the village if it is easier to get into, easier to park, has less traffic and less pollution..

    1. TEMP C J Mackie

      I really would like to be able to agree with you about that, but over 40 years experience of the tourist trade both in Wales and Scotland tells me that it just doesn’t work that way. If what you say is true, then half the villages in the Lake District, where there really is serious congestion, would have bypasses by now.

      So far as the £14m cost of a bypass is concerned, that comes our of our taxes and it is in all everyones interests that public funds are used wisely and not frittered away on political vanity projects. And this one is a about diverting enterprise zone funding to build a bypass that could not be justified a transport expenditure.

      Improved access to the enterprise zone – if that is ever needed – together with improved traffic flow through the village at peak holiday periods, and more parking can all be provided at a fraction of the cost of a bypass and without endangering existing businesses or unnecessarily urbanising yer another part of the national park with just the kind visually intrusive infrastructure tourists come here to get away from.

  8. With regard to “97% of people poled”, when I posted a comment on Facebook on 24th March 2017 supporting the relief road it got 97 likes. There were 16 “comments”, only 3 were adverse. There were also 39 “shares”, which could also be taken as supportive, but I do not know how many of those had also “liked”.

    1. How many of those comments came from people who Live in Dyffyn Ardudwy, Tal-y-bont, Harlech, Talsarnau, Tremadog, Barmouth, Willenhall, and in one case Minneapolis, or for that matter Llandanwg, among many other places, or from people what do not say where they live on their facebook page? How many of those people just see Llanbedr as an obstacle on their way somewhere else and would think very differently if they lived here or ran a business that will loose turnover if a bypass is built?

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