What is Fairbourne Facing Change?

The Fairbourne Facing Change Community Action Group (FFC) was established in direct response to the alarming way the West of Wales Shoreline Management Plan 2(SMP2) was publicised on national and local television. The BBC programme ‘Week in Week Out’ broadcast on Tuesday, 11th February 2014, did not present an accurate and balanced reporting of the situation. This, then followed with further inaccurate coverage culminating in unnecessary concern, anxiety, and panic for the community. Evidence of the impact of the inaccurate coverage includes: written evidence of a significant reduction in the value of house prices, currently for sale and mortgages for properties in Fairbourne no longer available. In addition we have written evidence of house improvements and building works cancelled.

The Shoreline Management Plan provides the strategic planning framework for coastal risk management and is essential for managing the shoreline. Although the SMP2 has been adopted by Gwynedd Council this ’live’ document still requires the approval of the Welsh Government. The plan is expected to be a living document which can be changed as the need arises and provides a framework for community engagement and involvement.

The purpose of our campaign is to galvanise the community to actively challenge the inaccuracies of the reporting and coverage of the SMP2 and to focus on influencing the ‘direction of travel’ for the various policies within it. Our objectives are to inform, engage and involve the people whose lives have been deeply affected by the situation, which could have been considerably lessened, had we been consulted and engaged at the time stated in the Council’s timeline.

The SMP2 was adopted by Gwynedd Council in January 2013. Unfortunately the public meeting to explain and clarify the position of the SMP2 in 2013 did not take place. Therefore the inaccurate reporting by the BBC in February 2014 appertaining to ‘managed retreat‘ in ten years, had a devastating impact.

We held three public meetings in February 2014 for the community to ‘have their say’. The meetings were lively and well attended and formed the framework for creating the Fairbourne Facing Change Action Group. The questions and issues raised at the meetings were passed to work streams to collate and prepare for the public meeting arranged by the council for the 25th of April 2014. We are formally constituted, utilising the model provided by the National Flood Forum; a national charity to which we are affiliated.

The Fairbourne Project Management Board has been established by Gwynedd Council to take forward the SMP2 and includes representation from the Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales. Gwynedd Council has now been proactive in providing opportunities for the community to be involved in all aspects of the SMP2 process. The Fairbourne Facing Change Group is represented as observers with speaking rights at our request. This status demonstrates that we are not signed up to the environmental premises that underpin the SMP2 and allows the freedom to challenge as we move forward. We represent the community’s interest on the board and the task and finish groups.

Senior politicians have been contacted and expressed keen interest in the campaign and are impressed with our robust community strategy after visiting Fairbourne to meet with us.

Upcoming Action Group Meetings
FFC Core GroupFFC Core Group
Next Meeting TBA(7:15pm, )
Fairbourne Project Work GroupFairbourne Project Work Group
Next Meeting No further meeings planned, ad hoc only
Fairbourne Project BoardFairbourne Project Board
Next Meeting TBA
FFC Public MeetingsFFC Public Meetings
Next Meeting None planned
FFC SurgeriesFFC Surgeries (see newsletter on Downloads page for details)
None Planned
Other MeetingsOther Meetings
None Planned

Question Time with 6 Parliamentary candidates
Below are several sound recordings taken from the meeting at Fairbourne Village Hall on Saturday 21st February 2015, kindly provided by Mark Wiles. You can listen to the whole meeting, or the 10-minute speech by each of the Parliamentary candidates, by clicking the tabs just below.

Listen to the whole Meeting

On Saturday 21st February 2015, six Parliamentary Candidates attended a meeting in Fairbourne, which took the format of the TV programme “Question Time”.

The six currently declared Prospective Parliamentary Candidates for the Dwyfor Meirionnydd seat in the 2015 Westminster Parliamentary elections all attended. They are

  • Councillor Louise Hughes (Independent)
  • Neil Fairlamb (Conservative)
  • Liz Saville Roberts (Plaid Cymru)
  • Mary Griffiths Clarke (Labour)
  • Stephen Churchman (Liberal Democrats)
  • Christopher Gillibrand (UKIP)

Below is a recording made of the whole meeting, lasting 1 hour 51 minutes.