A COUNCILLOR believes new sea defence plans, which save a golf course previously earmarked as a flood plain, are saddling today’s climate change problems on “future generations”.
Cllr Paul Penlington, Denbighshire county councillor for Prestatyn North, made the comments after the authority announced a change in how it intended to deal with flooding issues in east Rhyl.
Despite being the oldest golf course in North Wales it’s continued existence seemed in doubt last year after it announced it could become a flood plain as part of mitigations for sea level rises – and may fold by April next year.
However an announcement by Denbighshire council this week appears to have safeguarded its future after discussions with the links’ custodians.
The new scheme would see a bund, or embankment, around the course’s perimeter but Cllr Penlington believes this is putting off the inevitable and is planning a meeting with the scheme’s developers.
He said: “As my ward is all at sea level I know our sea defences need serious improvements. However, I am quite concerned by these suggested flood defence improvements.
“In 2019 I successfully argued Prestatyn sea defences must be part of Denbighshire’s forward work agenda in 2019, so I am glad they have taken it on board and are looking to invest in something.
“This scheme however is a short-term solution to a permanent long-term problem.
“Along with other councillors, I am meeting with the proposed developers at the end of July to scrutinise these plans in more detail.
“At the moment I am very concerned that all we are doing is off setting today’s problems for future generations to deal with.”
He believes there are still questions around what will happen to the crumbling old sea wall and how long the bund will keep rising seas at bay.
The council maintains the new approach will safeguard 2,100 Prestatyn homes, with the course sitting on its border with Rhyl.
The authority accepts the sea defences are in poor condition but any work will be dependent on economic, social and environmental studies, as well as funding from Welsh Government.
A public consultation would also need to be conducted before planning permission is sought for work to commence around the course, which has more than 20 years remaining on its lease.
Cllr Brian Jones, Denbighshire council’s lead member for environment, said: “The Central Prestatyn Coastal Defence Scheme focuses on the area of most immediate concern, adjacent to Rhyl golf club.
“Rising sea levels and bigger storms caused by climate change will result in waves overwhelming the defences more often.
“Without improvements to the sea defences, the risk of coastal flooding faced by homes and businesses in Prestatyn is likely to increase in future.
“The council is working with Rhyl golf club to ensure disruption to the club would be minimised during construction of any scheme, and to ensure the club can continue to function after completion.”
Mike Parry of Rhyl golf club said he was pleased the club’s future “has now been resolved”.
He added: “The last 12 months have been worrying for all connected to the club but, through continuous discussions with the Council and reviews of the plans, we can now look forward to many more years of golf at one of the oldest clubs in Wales.”