Calls for Welsh Water to confirm pipe safety at Penrhyndeudraeth site


Penrhyndeudraeth Councillor, Gareth Thomas is calling for confirmation from Welsh Water that an underground sewage pipe is safe for allotments to be created at Cookes field in Penrhyndeudraeth, Gwynedd.

The field, part of the former Cookes Explosives Factory site or Gwaith Powdwr has been leased long term from Penrhyndeudraeth Town Council to a community group, Penrhyndeudraeth Allotment Association who kindly offered the location to Hochtief construction during the development of Briwet Bridge. 

Now the new bridge is in place, local residents and the allotment association is keen to progress with developing the site to create 26 allotment units for community use.

“This is a great scheme for people in the area, and this town council is working hard to move things along. We are becoming increasingly frustrated by the lack of movement from Welsh Water to confirm that the underground sewage pipe is safe for the development of the land to progress,” explains Councillor Gareth Thomas who represents local residents on Gwynedd Council, and who is also Chairman of Penrhyndeudraeth Town Council.

“Historically, we are aware that this pressurised sewage pipe has blown three times in the past 15 years, so there are real concerns before any development can take place.

“A number of meetings have been held with Welsh Water, but we are still awaiting their input into the state of this pressurised sewage pipe, as we await planning consent from Gwynedd Council. The safety and well-being of our residents is paramount, especially as this site will in the near future be developed for community food production,” Councillor Gareth Thomas explains.

The site situated near Penrhyndeudraeth Train Station, was the recreation field for the former Cooke’s explosives factory. It was one of the main employers of the area in its heyday, and an integral part of many Penrhyndeudraeth area’s residents.

Locally known as Gwaith Powdwr, the factory began producing explosives in 1865, supplying products for both world wars, as well as explosives for the mining industry later in the 20th century.

The factory closed in 1995 and the site was later decommissioned.

Councillor Thomas continued: “The field itself holds many fond memories for people who worked at the factory, and we hope that a new allotment scheme at this location will allow local people to create a legacy plus new memories for the next generation.

“We all know that reducing food miles and eating locally seasonal food is beneficial to the environment. What better way to teach our youngsters than giving them the opportunity to help adults sow, nurture and grow fruit and vegetables in their own locality?” Councillor Gareth Thomas concluded.

Penrhyndeudraeth Town Council will discuss the matter at their next Council meeting on Tuesday 9 February, with a view to making an official complaint to Welsh Water Chief Officers regarding this matter.