‘A SLAP IN THE FACE’
Spanish slate to be used for reroofing work in Dinorwic’s shadow
A£2M scheme to refurbish former council houses in a Snowdonia village will see the properties roofed with Spanish slate.
Work to improve the houses on the Dol Eilian estate at Llanberis has already begun.
But the estate lies in the shadow of the Dinorwic quarry, once the second largest slate quarry in the world and the lifeblood of the village.
Although the quarry closed in July 1969, the spoil tips remain.
Villagers said they were dis- appointed to discover that Spanish slate was to be used.
Cartrefi Cymunedol Gwynedd (CCG) blamed European regulations on the decision to import the slate rather than source the material from the remaining quarries in Wales.
The nearest is the Penrhyn quarry in Bethesda.
One resident, a former slate quarry worker, said: “It’s a slap in the face for the hard work so many people put into working in the quarries around Llanberis.
“While I accept that rules are rules and CCG must abide by them a way surely could have been found to make use of locally-produced slate.”
In response, a CCG spokesperson said officials are required to comply with legislation and cannot express a specific preference, nor bind contractors to a specific material.
She said: “This is not a decision driven solely by financial considerations, but based on fair, equal treatment of all suppliers and ensuring value for money for us and our tenants.
“These slates are commonly used across North Wales by a number of public sector bod- ies and fully comply with local authority planning regulations.
“As one of the largest providers of housing in Gwynedd, we are completely committed to bringing value to the local community through our contracts, with a vast range of community benefit clauses within our works and supplies contracts.”
“We are investing over £2m on the Dol Eilian and surrounding area in Llanberis. Once completed, our tenants will have better-insulated homes, resulting in reduced fuel bills. The scheme will also improve the appearance of the estate. A substantial amount of investment happens annually on external works to our houses and we’re very proud to be improving the homes of our tenants whilst supporting the local economy by providing jobs, training opportunities and using local sub-contractors and suppliers.”
Spanish slate is similar in colour to Welsh slate. In recent years, 90% of the natural slate used for roofing in Europe originates from Spain.
Despite the cost of transportation from Spain it is often half the price of Welsh slate.
● Llanberis houses (top right of photo) are to get Spanish slate roof tiles, right opposite the Dinorwic slate quarry