Drivers to face 'extreme' parking ban at beauty spot

A view of Llyn Tegid taken from the B4403 Bala to Llanuwchllyn road
-Credit: (Image: Google Map)

An "extreme" parking ban has been permitted alongside Wales' largest natural lake in an area where councillors believed a "tragedy" was waiting to happen. In fine weather hundreds of visitors park on the narrow B4403 on one side of Llyn Tegid between Bala and Llanuwchllyn in Gwynedd.

The scenic route is popular with day-trippers taking in the stunning lake views and to watch passing steam trains from the Bala Lake Railway. But some "inconsiderate and reckless" motorists have created traffic congestion which has affected locals, particularly in the Llangywer area, and made it difficult for emergency vehicles to pass.

To resolve the issues Gwynedd Council's planning committee agreed to a clearway order in Llangywer, along one side of the lake on the B4403, between Llanuwchllyn and Bala, at a meeting on Monday. Clearways are stretches of road where it is forbidden to stop your car for any reason at any time, except for an emergency, and allow the council to take enforcement action including towing vehicles. The order will only apply to the carriageway and lay-bys along the route will still be available for parking.

READ MORE: Welsh serial killer 'jokes about his crimes' in jail dubbed 'Monster Mansion'

READ MORE: Prison inmate slashed with blade in 'cut for a cut' attack

Officer Iwan ap Trefor said: "During periods of fine weather in the summer it has become clear that Llyn Tegid is an attraction for many visitors. Recently this has led to parking problems along the narrow road in the Llangywer area on the B4403. The traffic unit has received complaints from officers of the national park and members of Llangywer Parish Council all expressing their concerns about the detrimental effects of inconsiderate parking.

"The reckless parking has not only caused traffic congestion, much to the annoyance of local residents, but has also hampered the response time of emergency services. In response to these issues we propose to implement a clearway restriction on the road, which we believe will alleviate the current parking problems and improve emergency response."

But one objector to the plan had claimed the clearway order was an "extreme" response to a specific issue that only affected certain sections of the road occasionally. But Mr ap Trefor said officers felt the response was not extreme.

"The road is very narrow," he said. "We believe introducing a restriction in just one place would lead to parking issues in other areas along the road."

A Cyngor Gwynedd planning document showing the clearway area in purple
A Cyngor Gwynedd planning document showing the clearway area in purple -Credit:Cyngor Gwynedd planning document

It was also not considered that there would be an increase or reduction in the number of pedestrians using the road nor any impact upon parking in the Llanwuchllyn area, which was considered far enough away from the lakeside problem area while lay-bys would would still be available for parking. Llanuwchllyn Cllr Alan Jones Evans agreed the area had seen a "great increase" in visitors since Covid. "When the weather is fine inconsiderate parking causes congestion for many hours from Easter to September. All the world and his wife, come to the area," he said.

This had hampered emergency vehicles accessing the lake and community, said Cllr Evans. "Hundreds of people go into the lake – this could be a real accident waiting to happen. I feel as the local member we have to respond to make sure that emergency vehicles can get through. It could be a tragedy waiting to happen."

Cllr John Pughe, a regular user of the road, said at times it was often "quite difficult" to pass, including for larger emergency vehicles. "The lake does does bring many people to the area. Perhaps if there was a farmer who would be willing to open a field for parking it could resolve the problems?" he suggested. Cllr Anne Lloyd-Jones agreed saying it could be "an opportunity for a farmer to make some money".

But Mr ap Trefor pointed out the matter before the committee was "in relation to creating a clearway", adding: "Opportunities for parking were not for under consideration today although any landowner who might be interested would have to pursue the matter with the national park planning officers." Several councillors added their support to approve the officers' recommendation to accept the clearway order. In a vote it was permitted with 12 votes in favour, one abstention, and no-one against.