- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
As a result of lobbying by Assembly member Joyce Watson, Gwynedd Council has agreed to contact businesses affected by the closure of Pont Briwet to encourage them to apply for relief from business rates.
In April, the Labour Mid and West AM petitioned Gwynedd Council over its decision not to place a temporary bridge at Penrhyndeudraeth. Mrs Watson appealed for support for businesses hit by increased fuel costs and reduced trade as a result of the seven-mile diversion along the A496.
In response, Gwynedd Council cabinet member for the environment, councillor Gareth Roberts explained that the council would not pay compensation but would support applications for business rate relief. He wrote:
“Unfortunately, as with any road scheme which will ultimately benefit the whole community, Gwynedd Council are unable to pay compensation for any losses incurred.
“We would of course be very supportive of any business which decides to apply for business rate relief, and Gwynedd Council’s Economy Department intend to circulate information on this subject to local business networks.”
Welcoming the commitment, Mrs Watson said:
“I am pleased the council has agreed to contact local businesses to encourage them to apply for rate relief.
“Since Gwynedd Council dropped its plan to put in place a temporary bridge, I have been inundated with messages from frustrated residents and worried business owners.
“The diversion is not only inconvenient and expensive for road users, it is having a real impact on businesses. One local taxi company told me that a journey across the estuary that would have cost £20 now costs £60. This has led to a drop in custom. I am aware of other businesses in a similarly vulnerable position.”
The 154-year-old wooden Pont Briwet Bridge, which crosses the Afon Dwyryd River at Penrhyndeudraeth, closed in January amid safety concerns. A new £20m road and rail crossing is due to open in 2015.