North West Wales

Festival No.6 flood plain car park decision defended

Flooded park and ride site for Festival No.6 in Porthmadog Image copyright Phil Colbert

Festival No. 6 organisers have defended their decision to site a park-and-ride facility on a known flood plain where vehicles became stuck for days.

Hundreds of people were stranded when the site at Porthmadog flooded after heavy downpours at the weekend.

Tractors worked around the clock to free those still stranded on Tuesday - while others abandoned their vehicles and made their own way home.

The festival said the site had been used without problem in previous years.

"We have used the park and ride site at Porthmadog Rugby Club effectively and without incident for the last four years and did so again this year with the guidance and support of the authorities and safety advisory group," said a spokesperson for Festival No.6

"We were aware that the site had flooded previously, however we were advised by the landowners and knew from experience that the land drained well.

"At the time the decision was made there were no advance flood warnings and no intervention from other agencies."

Image copyright Dave Thurlow
Image caption A handful of cars remained on Tuesday
Image caption Digger at site on Tuesday morning

The festival organisers said they had been in contact with Natural Resources Wales and had arranged preventative measures at the site.

"But ultimately the extreme weather was beyond our control," they added.

"We strive to deliver the best customer experience for all our guests and are genuinely saddened by the outcome of this weekend."

Both Natural Resources Wales and Gwynedd council have said that Festival No.6 organisers knew the park-and-ride facility was on a flood plain, and had also been warned of a flooding risk on Saturday.

"The risk of flooding is an issue that has been exposed to the organisers over a period of years," said a council official.

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Media captionFestival No.6 event director Jon Drape insists the festival will be back in 2017

"Because of the concern about the state of the ground following heavy rain over the past month, we agreed that the organisers considered alternative parking plans in case the situation deteriorates. We also asked them to negotiate directly with Natural Resources Wales."

Insurance situation

The festival has told those affected that its own insurers are assessing the situation and have passed insurance details to those who have requested them.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said anyone worried about the impact on their car or losses should act immediately.

"Our advice is to pick up the phone and speak to your own insurer," said Caroline Jones, from the ABI.

"It may be that they want to proceed with a claim - speak to them first."

Image caption Around 200 people took refuge in Porthmadog's Glaslyn leisure centre on Sunday night

Festival goer Pete Henley told BBC Wales that he was still trying to get home to Bristol after his vehicle was pulled free on Tuesday morning.

He said the vehicle was "dragged out by a tractor" and then jet washed and although it seemed driveable he had to stop due to a "nasty shudder".

He was forced to spend the night in a hotel on Monday after becoming stranded, while his wife took a train home.

"There was a lot of expense there and it looks like my car is not pretty road worthy at the moment. Not a great end to what was a great weekend," he said.

Image copyright Nick Crowther
Image caption Write-off? Nick Crowther is waiting to hear from insurers

Nick Crowther, from Urmston in Greater Manchester, said he fears his two-year-old Skoda Octavia was now a complete write-off after he waited almost eight hours to be pulled out of the mud.

"We got pulled out backwards - the noise was horrendous, and the amount of mud on the car was horrendous," he said.

"We got about 600 yards down the road and the engine wasn't working properly - it cut out."

The car to be relayed by a recovery service back to Manchester.

Mr Crowther said the car engine was covered in a "muddy grit paste" and he was now waiting for an insurance assessment.

"I feel very, very sad - it has completely soured what could have been a wonderful weekend, despite the inclement British summer weather."

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