Proposed new visitor centre at Ogwen

Posted by Elfyn Jones on 30/03/2011
Artists impression of new Idwal Visitor Centre

Snowdonia National Park Authority have announced plans for a consultation on proposals to redesign and construct a new information centre at Idwal Car Park in the Ogwen Valley.

The existing car parking and information centre at Idwal cottage was built in the 1970s, and included a toilet block, warden centre and the replacement of the old roadside tea-shack which had been in existence for very many years.

However the current set up is not felt by the authorities to be suitable or adequate for the 250,000 plus walkers and climbers who use the site as the gateway to Cwm Idwal each year, and proposals have been drawn up by the Cwm Idwal Partnership (made up of Snowdonia National Park, the National Trust and Countryside Council for Wales) to have a more aesthetically pleasing building and functional facilities.

The current arrangements are very basic and the building is seen by some as being aesthetically intrusive, with practical issues surrounding the pedestrian/vehicle mixing, a substandard waste and sewage disposal system, and very little scope to provide information to visitors to the site.

Many organisations (including BMC Cymru/Wales) have already had the opportunity to comment on the concept and are pleased that the authorities have listened to the original concerns from outdoor groups, who objected to having a large modern visitor centre at this location, and the new proposals hopefully reflect the views of users that only simple (but high quality) facilities are required at this very traditional mountain venue.

However the opportunity is now available for all users to make their thoughts and views known to the National Park Authority, in a series of open evenings and public consultations.

Consultation sessions will be held as follows:
Monday 4 April (7pm) - Capel Curig Community Centre
Tuesday 5 April (7pm) - Plas y Brenin
Wednesday, 6 April (7pm) - Neuadd Ogwen, Bethesda

And drop-in sessions:
Tuesday 5 April (11am – 5pm) - Ty’n y Coed Hotel, Capel Curig
Thursday 7 April (10am – 4pm) - Neuadd Ogwen, Bethesda

On behalf of the partnership, Tim Jones of the Countryside Council for Wales said:
“There is a fantastic story to tell visitors at Ogwen, the gateway to Cwm Idwal, Wales’ first National Nature Reserve. It will enhance their enjoyment of this spectacular landscape, and its internationally renowned geology and wildlife. However, before progressing to the next step of seeking planning permission for the building, it is crucial that we find out what people think of the design and hear their ideas about how we use the new facility. We are looking forward to a wide range of ideas during our consultation sessions.”



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