Anglesey beach access row sees council intervene

Anglesey Council has been called to intervene in an access row after boulders were placed near a popular beach in an apparent effort to stop people from parking there.

Llanddona beach, on the island’s east coast, is a popular spot with both locals and tourists alike.

But after rocks and boulders were placed which now stops vehicles from parking along the front, which is also popular with campervans, there are concerns that the impasse will cause issues when the weather gets warmer and visitor numbers rise.

Exact ownership of the land has not been clearly established, with Anglesey Council confirming it is not its responsibility but that officers have participated in meetings involving councillors and local landowners to try and solve the dispute.

One local businessman says there have been several issues with motorhomes parking on the site.

David Percival, the owner of a holiday cottage business overlooking the beach, said he was not aware of who placed the rocks nor had he been informed of such a move beforehand.

But he added that over 30 campervans have been known to park on the beach front at any time, describing it as “a substantial drain on local resources.”

“Camp fires and barbecues left scars and litter was left by people who paid nothing at all for using a resource that should be for the benefit of people who live, or are taking paying holidays, in this area,” said Mr Percival.

“I am told that when the person entrusted with cleaning the public toilet tried to stop someone from emptying the contents of their chemical toilet into the public toilet, he was verbally abused and physically threatened.

“Its a pity that landowners appear to have been driven to take action to protect their own land by placing large stones on the sea front. If it has the effect of preventing the return of large numbers of campervans I’m all for it.

“The stones may reduce the appearance of the seafront but its by far the lesser of two evils when compared to the damage done to this local amenity by hordes of campers.

“There’s a free public car park 100 metres down the road, so I don’t know why people would prefer to park on grass and shingle rather than the paved area, which is free.

“Overnight parking and the accommodation of caravans, campers or caravans, requires planning permission, I believe.

“If people wish to camp on this lovely island then there are plenty of caravan parks who will be glad of the business and accommodate them in properly managed and designed facilities with social distancing rules in place.”

Efforts have been made via the community council to contact local landowners, but a spokesman for the council confirmed that officers recently met landowners and were exploring all possibilities for an acceptable solution.

Community councillor, Myrddin Roberts, said: “The campervans are certainly a problem, no one’s disputing that, but blocking access is not the way to go about it.

“Ssome of these people have only just moved here yet now decide to block off access to a beautiful beach that’s been enjoyed by generations of local people, its wrong.

“Many people who are disabled or elderly enjoy being driven down to the beach, but they can’t do that now as the public car park doesn’t have the same access, it feels like something’s been lost.”

The Local Democracy Reporting Service has requested a copy of the minutes of a meeting involving the community council and local landowners in late March, but has not yet been made available.

But local county councillor, Carwyn Jones, said: “I can confirm that I chaired a meeting between adjacent landowners and Llanddona Community Council in the hope of trying to find a way forward.

“This is a very sensitive area where local people have enjoyed roaming freely for centuries, but everyone agrees there are challenges that need to be addressed and there are certainly strong views on both sides.

“We have offered to work with all stakeholders to try and find a way forward.

“But I pointed out that its unlikely that my family and many other locals would visit Llanddona beach over the Summer if the boulders are still in place as the beach gets very busy during peak holiday times and the reduced parking spaces available will be very challenging in terms of traffic.”

Fellow ward councillor, Alun Roberts, added, “Its paramount that all those interested in a sustainable future for the beach come and work together to resolve these issues to the satisfaction of all local people.”

An Anglesey Council spokesperson said, “We are aware of the ongoing concerns about parking, in particular large numbers of motorhomes and camper vans.

“The land on which this parking occurs is not within the ownership of the council, and therefore the council cannot take any enforcement action or implement any measures to prohibit or control or encourage use. The nearby car park has remained open and is available for use.

“We are currently engaging with local landowners and the community council to try identify appropriate solutions to address the issues and concerns that exist locally.”

North Wales Chronicle | Anglesey