North West Wales

Blaenau Ffestiniog mountain bike centre given go-ahead

Mountain biker
Image caption Plans include four mountain bike trails, an uplift road and a 4-cross area

Plans for a new mountain biking centre for Blaenau Ffestiniog have been given the go-ahead by Gwynedd councillors.

Officials have already given consent for new mountain biking trails to be built near the town.

In a meeting in Dolgellau, planners backed proposals to build a visitors' centre at Llechwedd.

Plans for the centre include a café, conference facilities, a bike workshop and areas for cyclists to shower and wash their bikes.

Gwynedd Council's planning officer Gruff Morris said the access to the site off the main A470 was good.

"All the materials used in the construction will be slate and wood and the development will be a tourism asset for the area," he added.

Organisers hope the centre on the old quarry tip site near Plas Talywaenydd will be the hub of an international-standard network of mountain biking trails to compliment those in nearby Coed y Brenin.

The developers also intend to make use of environmental technology by installing solar panels and a rain water harvesting system to supply the centre with water.

Blaenau Ffestiniog will be one of four locations forming the Eryri Centre of Excellence in outdoor activities.

The £4m investment by Gwynedd Council and the Welsh Assembly Government will include improving facilities at the Coed y Brenin biking trails, Glanllyn water sports centre and fishing at Trawsfynydd Lake.

'Rugged features'

Ceri Cunnington, vice-chair of Antur Stiniog, which is a partner in the Llechwedd quarry plans, said before the plans were approved that they would be "a step forward towards developing the economy of the area".

"A dedicated group of people have been working hard on these plans for three years and it will be great to see the fruits of their labour realised.

"We're looking to employ around seven people at the centre and if cyclists want to stay in the area then we'll work with local hotels to ensure Blaenau gets the best of it."

The centre and the cycle trails should be ready by the end of 2011.

The centre of excellence is part funded by the European convergence programme's European regional development fund, through Visit Wales and the Welsh Assembly Government.

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