On the Dark Side of the Brecon Beacons National Park

November 2009

On the Dark Side of the Brecon Beacons National Park
Water treatment plant-Glyntawe-Brecon Beacons National Park

Photo: BBC News

Welsh Water and The Brecon Beacons National Park Authority may have been expecting some protests to the building of the water treatment plant at Glyntawe in the Upper Swansea valley. However, it's unlikely they planned for the latest turn of events - a curse.

The curse is the most recent in a series of actions by the group, We Want Out, who want the plant to be clad in stone and slate - a more sympathetic look than the current World War II bunker style.

The curse, designed to bring bad luck, was placed on the Park Authority by a local shaman.

A spokesperson for the objectors, Elizabeth Tyler, explained that the protests (also including a night spent on a crane on the building site) are designed to show the extent of people's upset with the Park Authority for allowing this development.

There's disquiet that - whilst the planning laws when applied to individuals emphasise 'fit' with the local environment - when it comes to developments like this there seems to be a different set of standards applied.

"This curse will only be lifted by the shaman when a public apology is issued by the BBNPA (Brecon Beacons National Park Authority) to the residents of this area."

"Local residents and visitors have for generations been inspired by the scenic splendour of the Upper Swansea Valley."

"However, many now consider that this area's special landscape qualities have been badly damaged by the BBNPA decision to grant planning permission for a huge concrete water treatment plant under construction in the middle of this valley. This building has already become known locally as 'Hitler's Bunker.'"

The Brecon Beacons Park Authority have commented that - as soon as they were aware of the strength of local feeling - they met with representatives of the protesters and Welsh Water to explore what further changes could be made to the appearance of the building.

A Welsh Water spokesperson has commented that "Once the structure is complete, it will be finished to blend in with the natural environment and will be extensively landscaped to screen it from the nearby road and the neighbouring properties."

It's not clear whether this will be enough to get the curse lifted ........


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