Offshore wind farm threatens Rhyl Golf Club’s future
Richard Evans, local democracy journalist
Plans for a wind farm off the coast from Colwyn Bay to Llanfairfechan could threaten the future of Rhyl Golf Club.
RWE Renewables wants to build the Awel Y Mor wind farm west of the existing Gwynt y Mor site about 10.5 km off the coast.
As part of the plans, it is proposed to install a high voltage underground cable from the landing site of the Rhyl golf course, leading to a new substation west of the business park of St Asaph.
The proposed 91 turbine wind farm is an infrastructure project of national significance. Councilors heard how the compulsory acquisition powers could be used to allow the developer to take possession of the land and carry out work on the streets and sewers.
The case was brought before the Denbighshire Planning Committee today as part of a statutory pre-planning committee consultation process. The consultation gives Conwy and Denbighshire councils, as well as other public bodies, the opportunity to have their say.
Advisors have learned that RWE’s preferred option is to rely on the Rhyl Golf Club, although a second alternative option is also in the first discussion phase.
Councilor Barry Mellor said he and other advisers met with Rhyl Golf Club and representatives from RWE where a Plan A and Plan B scenario was discussed. Plan B would involve another cable route.
“This offshore wind farm will be more or less outside the Great Orme, and I know Conwy (County) Council is not very happy with this Awel Y Mor wind farm,” he said.
“But my concern is where the cable is going to land on earth, which will be exactly where the new flood defenses are in the eastern part of Rhyl, near the Rhyl Golf Club.
“On Monday, myself and the other ward member, Cllr Tony Thomas and Cllr Brian Jones, met with the folks at Awel Y Mor and the Rhyl Golf Club, as it turned out that there were two shots in. the offer.
“They haven’t really defined what the plans are, but I retain (there is a) plan A and a plan B.
“If plan A were to go ahead, Awel Y Mor wants to place two transition joint boxes on two concrete slabs 20 meters by five meters in the middle of the Rhyl golf course.
“It would be right through the fourth, fifth and sixth fairways. This would close the Rhyl Golf Club. The Rhyl Golf Club has been open for 130 years, one of the former founders of golf in North Wales.
Cllr Mellor said RWE should be forced to drill under the golf club when reviewing plans for Option B.
He said: “I am arguing here with you members that as part of the consultation that we are insisting that Awel Y Mor go to plan B, but we have to state that plan B is that they drill down. the other side of Camp Robin des Bois, pass under the Robin des Bois, under the railroad tracks, under the road, under the golf club and under the new sea defenses.
Cllr Brian Jones has said that RWE was “arrogant” in recent discussions.
“After the meeting with the golf club recently, they (RWE) lowered my ratings, and I told them,” he said.
“They came across as quite arrogant. It was obvious that they practically made amounts (the cost) for option A.
“I was extremely disappointed when I asked, ‘Can you give me a budget indication of the difference in cost between option A and option B? “
“The presiding gentleman said he did not get this information. I kind of laughed at him and said, ‘Do us a favor, a project this size and you don’t have budget cost control, and you can’t tell us what the budget cost is between option A and option B I threw (the figure) £ 10million at him and then he said they had a cost but they didn’t want to discuss confidential information.
“Right now they’re set to Option A, as Cllr Mellor pointed out, and that will be the end of Rhyl Golf Club.”
A report will now be drawn up by Denbighshire County Council officials before Monday’s consultation deadline, informing RWE of the consensus before a planning request is made. The report will support the case not to build on Rhyl Golf Club.
The matter is also under discussion in Conwy County Council tomorrow.