Call for summit to break impasse on Old Colwyn sea defences

Clwyd West Assembly Member Darren Millar has called on the Welsh Government to organise a summit of decision makers to overcome the lack of progress in addressing the fragile sea defences in Old Colwyn.

Darren has repeatedly called for action to improve the defences, but is concerned the situation has reached an impasse.

During a statement on ‘Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management’ in the Senedd yesterday, he urged the Welsh Government to organise a summit to  break the stalemate.

He said:       

“I've listened very carefully to what you've said about the need for other partners to come to the table in order to address the concerns around the Old Colwyn area. Yet the reality is that, because of this current impasse, the likelihood of anything being delivered there anytime soon is pretty dim, and pretty low. I do think, Minister, that it is going to take the sort of leadership that you've been able to provide elsewhere in Wales in order to knock heads together and get the right people and decision makers around the table in order to make things happen.

“I wonder whether the Welsh Government could call a summit of decision makers, of Welsh Water, Network Rail, Conwy County Borough Council and anybody else with an interest in that particular part of the coast in order that we can try to get a timetable together and get the investment on the table that needs to take place in order for that work to be done. Because I can't stress this enough: I've seen parts of the railway embankment washed away in storms in recent years. They've been repaired, yes, but they're patch repairs and unfortunately, at some point, there will be a catastrophic failure.”

He added: “I lived in Towyn at the time of the Towyn  floods, and there we had a sea defence that was designed, really, to protect the railway, which, once it gave way, caused thousands of people to have to be evacuated and thousands of homes to be flooded. It was because of the negligence of what was British Rail at the time, which was responsible primarily for that asset. I don't want to see that sort of catastrophic failure of an important flood defence asset take place again, and I do think it's going to require, I'm afraid, some leadership, some sort of summit arranged by the Welsh Government, in order to move things forward. I wonder whether you would consider that as something that you could perhaps do in order to inch that project through to completion.”