A business and tourism group chief is calling for a council to provide waste and recycle centre for a Gwynedd seaside town he says is being “neglected”.

Currently household trash such as mattresses and sofas have to be taken by Tywyn residents to the nearest dump at Dolgellau – a round trip of 40 miles.

But now the chairman of the Tywyn & District Chamber of Tourism and Commerce group Mike Stevens says the situation has created problems for some who have no access to transport or can’t afford collection fees. He is calling on Cyngor Gwynedd senior officials to again look at the problem and to investigate Government funding for a waste and recycle centre in the town.

And he is asking for Dafydd Gibbard the council’s chief executive to visit Tywyn to better understand the situation faced by residents. According to Mr Stevens, a disused council depot on Gwalia Road had previously been mooted as a potential waste and recycle site. Although discussed for many years Mr Stevens says “nothing has been done”.

Over the years, the Gwalia car park area has occasionally been used by fly tippers, with abandoned items including cars – and ironically one large abandoned item appears to be a council-style kiosk.

Kiosk dumped at the Gwalia site
Kiosk dumped at the Gwalia site (Mike Stevens)

Mr Stevens said: “Gwynedd Council has a responsibility to ‘level up’ Tywyn following years of neglect. For the past 12 years Gwynedd officials assured the people of Tywyn they would be getting a recycling centre.

“Smaller towns like Dolgellau and Bala have had centres for over 15 years, but Tywyn has been neglected time and time again. “If people from Tywyn and the surrounding area want to dispose of household items they have to make a 40 mile round trip, or pay £35 to Gwynedd, but the council will only collect three items.

“The Gwalia Road site would be ideal for use as a recycling centre. At the moment, the car park is in an appalling and dangerous state, it has lots of potholes, but it could be transformed.”

He also claims that Steffan Jones, the head of the council’s refuse and recycling visited the site three years ago “He didn’t know it even existed but agreed it looked very promising as a potential site,” Mr Stevens said.

“He stated the Welsh Government had funding to provide recycling centres as part of their ‘circular economy’ drive. He then stated he would get a feasibility plan drawn up to present to Welsh Government but to date nothing has been done.”

Mr Stevens added: “One resident, a single mother had complaints from neighbours, she had left an old mattress and couch at the side of her house.

“I asked about it, and she was very embarrassed, but said what can I do? She said didn’t drive and couldn’t afford to pay the council to collect.

“Tywyn can be described as the ‘mother town’ of south Gwynedd, the six surrounding villages, Aberdyfi, Bryncrug, Llanegryn, Abergynolwyn, Rhoslefain and Llwyngwril look to Tywyn as their resource centre, people from the villages work there.

“The lack of provision of a recycling centre is symptomatic of the neglect of Tywyn by Gwynedd council senior officers. He also felt it was due to the remoteness of Tywyn to the Caernarfon-based council some 70 miles away. “They have little or no concern for south Gwynedd because they have any ‘skin in the game’. They don’t live here, it doesn’t affect them, or their family and friends.

“We pay the same level of council tax as other areas of the county but receive far less for our money. I call upon Dafydd Gibbard chief executive to visit Tywyn to see for himself and fully understand the neglect of Tywyn and the very poor service we have to suffer.

“I also ask that he makes a commitment to build a recycling centre within one year.”

Responding, Gwynedd Council said: “Ensuring all areas of the county are clean, tidy and pleasant places for people is a priority for the council and we are grateful to everyone who disposes of their waste in a responsible and respectful manner, either by making use of the domestic waste and recycling service or one of the county’s eight recycling centres. Thanks to local people’s efforts in separating their waste and being mindful of the environmental impact of their actions, over 64 per cent of waste collected in the county is put to good use by either being recycled or reused.

“Fly-tipping is an environmental crime and offenders could face a £400 fixed penalty or a maximum of £50,000 fine or a custodial sentence should the matter be brought before the Magistrates’ Court. We urge the public to report instances of fly-tipping and other environmental crime such as graffiti or flyposting to Gwynedd’s Street Enforcement Team by calling 01766 771000, emailing [email protected] or via the website or apGwynedd app, so that the matter can be investigated. There have been no recent reports of fly tipping made to the council with regards to the Ffordd Gwalia site.

“We sympathise with people who live some distance from their nearest recycling centre and appreciate the efforts they make to dispose of bulky and extra waste. As with all public services, it can be challenging for the council to provide municipal facilities in a geographically large and sparsely populated area such as Gwynedd, especially given the years of financial austerity we have faced and the more recent cost of living crisis. However, we are looking into possible long-term solutions to make recycling and reusing resources easier and more viable across the county’s communities as part of our circular economy efforts and we look forward to continuing to work with the local community in Tywyn and the surrounding area.”