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Plaid Cymru anger over council’s Sycharth road signs snub

An aerial view of the motte and bailey castle earthworks at Sycharth - the ancestral home of Owain Glyndwr last native Prince of Wales (Pic: Llywelyn 2000 usable under creative commons licence)

THE HOME of the last native Prince of Wales, Owain Glyndwr does not meet the requirements for tourism destination signage, a senior Powys County Councillor has said.

In recent of years campaigners have wanted to see more being done to publicise and save Sycharth, the home of Owain Glyndwr which is between Llansilin and Llangedwyn in the very northern tip of Powys.

The fortified manorial house was the ancestral home of the Powys Fadog branch of the ancient Powys royal family.

It was destroyed by the forces of the English crown in 1403 during Glyndwr’s rebellion.

Earthworks are all that remain now of the former motte and bailey castle.

Over 10,000 people signed a petition calling for Sycharth which is a scheduled monument to be bought by the Welsh Government from the landowner.

The Senedd’s Petitions committee debated this last month and called for improved signage for the site.

The committee als urged the Welsh Government to build a visitor centre nearby.

Since then, Plaid Cymru’s Mid and West Wales Senedd Member, Cefin Campbell and Powys council group leader Cllr Elwyn Vaughan have been asking the council to put up brown tourist destination signage to show people the way to Sycharth.

Cllr Vaughan said:  “In the face of constant complaints about this deficiency will the council act on this urgently and when in will it be done.”

Cllr Elwyn Vaughan

Liberal Democrat cabinet member for highways, Cllr Jackie Charlton said: “The request for traffic signing to tourism destinations would need to be applied for, and funded, by the destination’s owner or operator.

“However, tourism signing is normally only considered where there is a significant number of people visiting a site and there is adequate parking at that facility to cater for those visitors.

“I understand the need to have adequate signage to our prominent and important historical sites but the parking facility at Sycharth is very limited and to positively sign people to this location may encourage more visitors than can be accommodated.”

Cllr Charlton pointed out that Welsh Government ministers had warned that huge visitor numbers could be detrimental to the site and that the narrow roads in the area would be a challenge.

Cllr Charlton said:  “I respectfully suggest that given the scale of the attraction, its parking and accessibility, it would not be considered as a destination that meets the requirement for tourism signing.”

Cllr Jackie Charlton (Pic: PCC YouTube site)

This response has infuriated Plaid Cymru councillors.

Cllr Vaughan and Cllr Bryn Davies who represent the nearby ward of Banwy, Llanfihangel and Llanwddyn issued a joint statement.

They said: “This has shown the total ignorance of this Lib Dem led authority towards the history of Wales, it’s lack of understanding and of seeing the opportunity cultural tourism provides.

“Next year we will have over 100,000 visitors attending the Urdd Eisteddfod a few miles away (at Meifod), a huge potential economic boost for the area.

“That’s why we’re asking for an apology to all those thousands that signed the original petition and for once listen to those that do value our history and heritage.”

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