Snowdonia planners approve Llanbedr bypass

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Llanbedr
Image caption,
The bypass will take traffic away from the village and its narrow bridge

A bypass has been approved for a village in Snowdonia more than 60 years after the need was first raised.

Llanbedr, which lies between Barmouth and Harlech, suffers severe tailbacks during the height of summer with people visiting Shell Island.

A plan approved in 2018 was withdrawn after a landowner sought a judicial review to protect a conservation area.

National park planners have backed a new proposal despite concerns about the visual and environmental impact.

Supporters of the 1.5km (one mile) bypass have claimed it will slash journey times by an hour, and boost investment by improving access to the Snowdonia Aerospace Centre, a drone-testing facility at the former RAF Llanbedr airfield.

The scheme proposed by Gwynedd Council was approved by the Snowdonia National Park Authority, whose officers said most impacts on the environment could be successfully mitigated while cutting traffic through the village by 90%.

Annwen Hughes, a Gwynedd county councillor for Llanbedr, said traders hoped it would boost their incomes, claiming the volume of traffic puts off many visitors.

Image source, Shell Island
Image caption,
Nearby Shell Island is one of the biggest campsites in Europe, attracting 85,000 visitors a year

Gwynedd Council said traffic was exacerbated by the narrowness of the listed bridge over the Artro river, street parking, and the number of junctions on the A496.

The new road will leave the A496 north of Llanbedr, cross the Artro on a new bridge, and rejoin the A496 south of Llanbedr near Llwyn y Pin, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Some community councillors raised concerns about the size of the scheme and how it sat with Gwynedd Council's declaration of a climate emergency, calling for a 40mph speed limit.

However, national park planners said it was right to strike a balance between the environmental and economic aspects.

They said further discussions would take place between Gwynedd Council and the local community over some remaining concerns.

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