Proposal outside North Wales tourism attraction part of wider transformation to 'world class' site

Plans to transform a tourism attraction into a "world class" destination has seen a proposal put forward for the car parking area. The Amgueddfa Lechi Cymru/National Slate Museum in Llanberis, is proposing a £19m redevelopment backed by the The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Welsh Government.

This is expected to see a major increase in the number of visitors to the site next to Llyn Padern - with numbers already putting pressure on toilet facilities. It has seen Cyngor Gwynedd put forward a plan to demolish the existing toilet block at Gilfach Ddu, Parc Padarn and replace it with a new facility nearby.

The new block would add additional toilet facilities but also create a multi-purpose event space and meeting room, a ticket office and an exhibition with details on the history of the park and wider area.

In addition alongside other developments it is hoped it will provide a defined entrance to the World Heritage Site. A proposal is now with planners at Cyngor Gwynedd.

A planning statement from Chambers Architecture Conservation said: "The proposals comprise the construction of a new WC block to replace the existing one. Due to the World Heritage Status bringing in more visitors, the toilet block is increasingly unable to cope with the higher visiting numbers.

"This new building will reflect the current requirements for visitor provision."

The accommodation at Gilfach Ddu will include:

• Toilet provision to suit the growing number of tourists that visit the park

• Multi-purpose event space/meeting room for events/school visits etc.

• Kitchen provision for new event space/meeting room

• A ticket office

• Interpretation throughout the building, expressing the history of the park.

They added: "The landscaping of the WC block and surrounding area is being looked in parallel as part of a coordinated strategy for the wider area. This aims to link the new WC block with the existing craft workshops that run parallel to the site, creating a defined entrance into the World Heritage Site from the car park. The design of this is on-going and runs in co-ordination with this proposal, but will form a separate application."

On the impact on the landscape, they added: "There are a number of key views onto the site, where the new WC block will be visible. These include from the terraces of the Vivian Quarry, from the viewpoint near the footbridge adjacent to the second level of the A incline and also wider views from the mountains and hillsides on the other side of the valley.

"Although the proposed WC block can be seen from these key views, it will have no greater impact than the existing toilet block as the general form, material palette and courtyard arrangement is being retained. Therefore the impact of the WC block is considered neutral."

The plans will now be considered by planners.

Opening its doors in 1972, the slate museum is housed in the Grade I-listed Victorian workshops of the historic Dinorwig Quarry. The site includes quarrymen’s cottages, working locomotives and a Vivian incline, alongside the UK’s largest working water wheel.

The £19m scheme at the museum aims to further showcase the incredible achievements of the region’s quarrymen to wider audiences in North Wales and beyond. It follows accusations the site had become "tired and old-fashioned".

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