Wales

Old Colwyn sea defence failure could cause 'massive disruption'

Stormy seas at Old Colwyn in 2017 Image copyright Conwy council
Image caption Storms have battered Old Colwyn's sea defences in recent years

Crumbling sea defences could lead to the permanent closure of Old Colwyn promenade, councillors have warned.

The stretch from Porth Eirias to Cliff Gardens is described as "failing" in a report for Conwy council.

Local councillor Brian Cossey warned of "massive disruption" to sewers, the main rail line and the A55 expressway if the defences collapsed.

The Welsh Government said all organisations concerned should work together to find a solution.

Councillors claim they can no longer afford to spend £30,000 to £40,000 a year in reactive repairs to the wall, railings and the surface of the promenade, which has to shut for several days at a time during spring tides and high winds.

Image copyright LDRS
Image caption Councillor Brian Cossey warned of "transport chaos and economic losses" if the sea defences failed

Mr Cossey told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: "The highly probable failure of Old Colwyn promenade will take out main sewers, the railway line, and the A55, which will cause massive disruption for the residents of Old Colwyn, transport chaos and economic losses for Conwy and the rest of north Wales."

The estimated cost of repairing the defences ranges from £2m to fix about 400m of wall to £36m for a full set of works on the whole stretch.

Another Colwyn councillor, Cheryl Carlisle, said the situation was "getting more and more dire".

"The alternative will be that the promenade will have to be permanently closed for safety reasons, which is in no-one's interests," she said.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: "We recognise the importance of robust sea defences at Old Colwyn Bay which are key to protecting infrastructure and utility networks.

"There are a number of potential beneficiaries from improved sea defences including Network Rail, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water and the local authority and it is important all those involved find an agreed way forward, taking into consideration shared risk and the most appropriate funding mechanisms.

"We have been working closely with the local authority and are awaiting their final report which will explain the steps that need to be taken to protect the promenade area."

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