The Snowdonia National Park’s Planning Officer presented the railway’s case with a recommendation for refusal.
The fundamental reason being that there can be no certainty that with additional tourists coming to Bala and riding on the train, consent would not contravene Welsh Government legislation regarding additional phosphates discharging into the river Dee.
In simple terms the more tourists to the town the more it will increase the sewage levels.
This was of immense disappointment to the team of volunteers who have been working on this project for over nine years and to the many hundreds of donors who have been so incredibly generous with financial support.
Julian Birley, chairman of the Bala Lake railway Trust says “It really is not the outcome we had hoped for. We expected consent with a number of conditions or to have the case deferred to allow us time to further engage with the consultees to finalise all outstanding issues, some of which had only been made aware to us with the publication of the final report.
It was very apparent that the committee members were, in principle, in support of our project and the economic and commercial benefits it will undoubtedly bring to Bala and the surrounding area.
However, many of them were reluctant to go against the Planning Officer’s recommendation and direction. Some members argued vigorously in the railway’s favour but it was not enough to carry the majority and the application was refused.”
But, it is not over.
Everybody, but everybody wants this to happen. From MP Liz Saville-Roberts, who took time out from the Westminster Chamber to find out the result, to Mabon ap Gwynfor AM, to county councillor Dilwyn Morgan, Bala town mayor, Owain Rhys Evans, Gwynedd Council, the businesses and residents of the town not to mention the three hundred letters of support that were sent in to the National Park as well as the countless donors.
And for all those people we are going to apply again and the town of Bala will get its railway.
Being a charity, we are dependent on fundraising and to that end we are immediately launching an appeal for people to continue to believe in and support the project by donating via the website:
That day of a train arriving back into Bala will happen. But in keeping with the nation’s railways it has been delayed!
Railway Website here