AN ARCHITECT has written twice to the Snowdonia National Park Planning and Access Committee, positing an idea for a new location for Bala’s railway station.

Gareth Pearce, who shared his two letters to the committee with the Chronicle, has also introduced the idea of new railway bridge over Bala Lake.

Bala Lake Railway's planning application for extending the railway into the town centre was turned down on April 19.

“The day of a train arriving back into Bala will happen”, Bala Lake Railway said in April, after its plans were turned down.

Primarily, this was due to the notion that, the more tourists in Bala, the more sewage levels will rise.


Plan to improve defences at dam near Bala labelled a ‘vanity project'

The first letter, to which Mr Pearce said he received an “unexpectedly positive reply” from the committee, outlined his suggestions for revamping the station.

Mr Pearce, who is based in North Wales himself, has significant international experience in planning transport systems.

He wrote: “Firstly, I salute and deeply appreciate the effort the Bala Lake Railway people have undertaken.

“However I feel the outcome is not quite hitting the mark. I know we all want it to, but its not there yet.

“My initial reaction examining their plans is that they do not look quite right in the location they have chosen.

“The programme is incongruent with the intimate scale of the urbanity in that part of Bala. This is due to failure to recognise there is insufficient potential in the context for responding to the presence of a new station.

“The site I consider best for a Bala narrow gauge railway station is near the original site of Bala Station, just to the north of Station Road.

“I have also introduced the idea of a new bridge for the railway over the river that makes a lot of economic sense.

“A new railway bridge could be a simple low cost enclosed truss set on concrete abutments dressed with stone that can be welded up locally and dropped into place causing no disruption to road traffic which has its costs and should not be overlooked.”

Bala Lake Railway's proposals called for an extension, comprising of 1,200m of railway track, installation of level crossing, erection of new station building, ancillary engine and carriage building, signal box and associated development.

Mr Pearce said he had attempted to contact Bala Lake Railway, but has received no response as yet.

In his second letter to the committee, dated August 8, he elaborated on his proposal for the new location of Bala Station.

This, he said, “could have sufficient merit to be granted outline planning permission”.

Mr Pearce wrote: “As this is an informal discussion, I would welcome feedback that could allow me to speak with the Bala Lake Railway people and talk them round into seeing the bigger picture and to see what can be done to re-submit an application for a station in the position I have suggested.

“I believe there is a project of national strategic importance to be hatched out and I want to see Snowdonia get it right.”

Bala Lake Railway said its volunteers have been working on these proposals for more than nine years, but said it would make a fresh application in due course.

More than £1.4million has been spent on land acquisition and drawing up plans for the project.