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Snowdonia park chair steps down due to ‘work demands and personal commitments’

Snowdonia (Pic: Wikipedia)

A VACANCY has arisen for a top position in an organisation that works to protect the natural beauty of Eryri – also known as Snowdonia.

The Chair of the Parc Cenedlaethol Eryri/Snowdonia Park Authority – has stepped down. Councillor Annwen Hughes was the first woman elected to the prestigious role.

According to a spokesperson for the organisation she informed the Authority of her plans to leave at the end of November. She has cited “work demands and personal commitments” as her reason for leaving, a spokesperson for the Authority said.

A recent  meeting to elect  a new chair was blighted by “technical issues” and and has been postponed until February, 2024.

Cllr Hughes had been an Authority member for a number of years and had previously held the Vice-Chair position.

She is also a Plaid Cymru county councillor for Cyngor Gwynedd for the Harlech and Llanbedr wards, and also represents the Harlech Community Council.

An Authority spokesperson said: “Cllr Annwen Hughes informed the Authority on November 20 of her decision to relinquish the Chair of this Authority.

“She cited an increase in work demands and personal commitments on herself and did not feel that she could any longer provide the time and dedication needed for the role as Chair of the Authority. The election of a Chairman during the (December) National Park meeting faced technical issues.

“In the spirit of fairness and with respect for the candidates, the members voted to postpone the election until the next Authority meeting in February.”

Cllr Hughes was recently at the centre of row after Harlech Community Council – where she is clerk – was scammed out of £9,000. It had been found in December, 2022 that two payments of £4,500 had been made to a third party without proper authorisation from the council.

The fraud followed a breach of the clerk’s email address that allowed a third party to access the account.

Councillors had informally apologised in September, after residents had raised  a series of questions about the council’s financial procedures.

Adrian Crompton the Auditor General for Wales said following routine audit work on councils’ annual returns it probed how Harlech had fallen victim to the fraud. The auditor had tried to identify how procedures had failed to prevent the loss of public money.

The investigation had resulted in a warning by the watchdog that councils must tighten up their cyber security measures.