33. Do any elected representatives live in any of the areas identified for managed realignment?
Yes, we have identified at least eight Gwynedd Council members who live in a Ward which is
subject to managed realignment.
48. What have the relevant agencies done about getting the media to retract/correct the erroneous
statements made during the “Week In Week Out” television program and other coverage?
A further Week In, Week Out programme has since been broadcast and has portrayed Fairbourne
in a much better light. However, work continues through the project Working Group, to
challenge future negative press. It should be understood however, that the press does
have freedom of speech and despite all stakeholders providing truthful and honest accounts of
the current situation, the press are at liberty to print what they see fit.
66. Nine years ago there was a wagon carrying shale away from Fairbourne – what was this?
There is no record of this specific event in Fairbourne but we have had issues elsewhere with
regard to the removal of shingle from the beach. It is believed that during this period a number
of gardening programmes were using rounded stones and cobbles (shingle) as garden features.
Some decided that the beach was a free source of these stones without realising that it was in
fact theft. This problem has not been an issue recently.
74. To what degree were estate agents challenged when quoting properties as worthless?
This question was actually posed to the audience – what did you do as a community when you
were informed by an estate agent that your property was worthless?
From a project prospective, a great deal of work has been carried out in relation to house prices
and valuations and it would seem that local estate agents are not valuing houses much lower
than prior to the visit by Week in, Week out. Certainly there is no observed effect on house
prices subsequent to the adoption of the SMP2 (this is also the case in the other SMP2 coastal
towns/villages across Gwynedd). Upon meeting estate agents, the feedback was that
homeowners are still expecting their houses to be worth the same value as they were prior to
the national housing market slump. House prices had dropped generally and across the UK and
at that time, this was symptomatic of house prices in Fairbourne. Furthermore, estate agents
reported that prospective buyers had often visited the village and upon questioning residents,
had been told about the blight on the community, caused by (the SMP2) and these same
prospective buyers had gone on to ‘google’ Fairbourne and subsequently found the erroneous
information on the internet. Decisions not to proceed had often been made on this basis.
Upon asking estate agents what barriers did they perceive prospective buyers would face when
buying a property in Fairbourne, a number of issues were raised, including not being able to
obtain house insurance. As a consequence, the project produced a short form of Frequently
Asked Questions for estate agents to put on their website when considering purchasing a
property in Fairbourne. These questions and answers provide an honest and accurate response
in the hope of eradicating the erroneous information on the internet currently.
One area of work that is yet to be completed is that of challenging surveyors who value for the
purpose of equity release. This is a difficult piece of work as surveyors have to-date, been
difficult to engage with. Please bear with us as we conduct this element of work.
During 2015, the project received enquiries on four separate occasions in relation to the future
of Fairbourne. Three of these enquiries were from prospective buyers and one from a local
surveyor acting on behalf of a prospective buyer. On each occasion we have: clarified the
decision to defend for 40 years (from 2014 and based upon current scientific evidence); dealt
with the erroneous reporting in the media (with particular reference to Week in, Week out);
outlined the Fairbourne: Moving Forward project and associated funding to support the
community, and; provided FFC’s contact details as a point of reference, should the enquirer
want any further information from a community perspective.
House prices and the reporting of such is clearly an ongoing issue and we would ask for your
support in challenging estate agents if you feel they are under-valuing your property, whilst
reporting this to use so we can monitor the situation and also by presenting a positive and
honest response to visitors to the village if they enquiry about purchasing a house.
79. We want to hear positive news; either of protection or compensation and we’ve heard neither
The aim of the public event was to communicate the actual situation as it is, to the community
and to be honest with you. NRW informed you that the current defences would withstand a 1 in
a 200 year storm, which, combined with their proactive planned inspection and maintenance
regime, is an excellent level of protection. To inform you that compensation was a real prospect
would have been wrong.
81. Where else in Western Europe is being abandoned? Look at Holland for example.
The situation along much of the Dutch coast is very different to that of the UK, generally, and the
specific case of Fairbourne. However, even within the Netherlands, different approaches to
management are being considered, which include looking at allowing areas to flood and
realigning defences. While focussing principally on areas for habitat restoration a recent report
by Luciana Esteves (http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/21139/1/2014%20Esteves%20‐%20Managed
%20Realignment%20book.pdf) does provide a list of sites where realignment has been undertaken
or is being planned around Europe.
Each situation has to be considered on its own merits but the project does attempt to draw
lessons from other areas.
87. If money was no object, would all our problems be easily solved?
Not easily, because the issue would still be the increasing vulnerability of the village into the
95. Honesty is the best policy; the community want facts, the truth, and no waffle.
We understand this completely and this is why we are holding events such as this on a regular
basis. There is also this website – www.fairbourne.info where information can be found along with
contact details if anyone would like to speak with someone in person.
96. How much public money has the SMP2 cost to date to produce?
98. Why aren’t Welsh Government present today?
Both the Flooding & Coastal Erosion Risk Management team and Lesley Griffiths AM – Minister
for Communities were invited today, however they were unable to attend due to prior
103. When we can enjoy our retirement and not have this over our heads?
The response to this question is very much in your hands. Implementation of the SMP2 is a
long process and production of the Masterplan is now underway, but as communicated
previously at the public event, it is likely to be a long process too. The more co‐operation we
get from stakeholders, the government and the community, the quicker the Masterplan can
be produced and the sooner everyone will know what the plans are for managing the
community over this difficult period. Constant reminders in the press, such as the recent
significant coverage, do not support the community in its recovery from the initial blight
caused by erroneous reporting in the media.