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North Wales beach access to be improved for disabled people

Rhos-on-Sea/Colwyn Bay beach (Pic: Visit Conwy website)

SPECIALIST access tracks will make Colwyn Bay and Rhos-on-Sea beaches more accessible for people with disabilities, says the town’s mayor, who is himself registered blind.

Colwyn Bay Town Council has put a planning application into Conwy’s planning department, seeking permission for the 25m access tracks which will improve access to the sands.

If granted permission, the beach mats will be installed at the promenade in Rhos-on-Sea as well as next to Porth Eirias.

The town council will pay for the ‘mats’ after being awarded £10,000 from the UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF).

If granted planning permission, the tracks would be held down with spikes and staples.

Colwyn Bay and Rhos-on-Sea have some of the best beaches in North Wales after millions of pounds were invested to install the sandy beaches to boost sea defences.

But access can be difficult for those with physical disabilities.

Colwyn Bay mayor Cllr Ricki Owen represents Rhiw ward in Colwyn Bay.

Cllr Owen has an eye condition called retinitis pigmentosa and is registered blind.

Cllr Owen believes the mats will improve access to the beach in an area with one of the highest proportions of elderly people in the UK.

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“We’ve been trying to improve beech access for years for people with all forms of mobility issues, and the opportunity came along for these,” said Cllr Owen.

“We applied for the funding through the SPF, so it’s not affecting any other services.

“We’ve got a brilliant beachfront now and had millions of pounds invested. So we need to make as much of that as we can now. It will give people a reason to come and visit where there is access to the beach. It will improve access to all.

“Luckily the harbour master and Conwy are onboard and willing to support it. We’re hoping it will go through the planning process, and hopefully we’ll see these mats in place before the season is finished.”

He added: “It is so people can actually get to the beach and feel what the sand feels like. There are so many people who don’t get that opportunity.”

The planning application will now be considered by Conwy County Council’s planning department/committee.

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