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Last Updated: Monday, 24 July 2006, 12:20 GMT 13:20 UK
Row over 'foreign' Snowdon stone
The new visitor centre and cafe will be built during 2007
There has been criticism of a decision to use Portuguese stone in the construction of a new café and visitor centre on the summit of Snowdon.

Some people living in Snowdonia National Park and who contributed to an appeal towards it are annoyed that granite is being imported for the roof.

Work on the £8.5m café and visitor centre on the top of Wales' highest peak is due to begin in September.

The park authority said it tried to use Welsh materials "wherever possible".

But it added that it "cannot insist that materials which are above a price threshold are sourced locally".

Public appeal

Last November it was announced that the park had raised enough money to build a new visitor centre on the top of Snowdon to replace the much-criticised current building.

Demolition is due to start in September before construction of the new centre throughout 2007.

Much of the cost of the building will be met by grant money, but a public appeal raised almost £350,000.

The current cafe on the summit
The existing 1930s cafe is set to be demolished in September

Some of the people who contributed to the appeal and local politicians said they were annoyed Portuguese granite would be used for the roof of the building.

Beddgelert community council chairman Ken Owen said he was "bitterly disappointed."

He said: "We have as much stone as we could wish for literally underfoot...of whatever colour you could possibly want to do this work".

Alan Hughes, who contributed to the public appeal, said that the decision was "a disgrace".

He added: "I am shocked. There is no finer stone than Snowdonia stone."

'Local reaction'

Nia Powell, who wrote about the decision for a community newspaper, said she was "incredulous" when she learnt of the decision.

She said: "I am astounded that they have chosen to go thousands of miles away to source stone.

"I understand that they have not made final decisions regarding all the materials and that those decisions will be made by the end of September.

"I hope, given the local reaction, that they will reconsider."

In a statement, Snowdonia National Park said that most of the building's labour and materials would come from Wales.

The statement read: "The Snowdonia National Park Authority is seeking to use Welsh materials and labour for the new Snowdon summit building wherever possible.

"We anticipate that about 60% of labour and materials will come from Wales.

"However, as a public body the national park authority is subject to European Commission treaty directives on trade and cannot insist that materials which are above a price threshold are sourced locally.

"The stone for the building is above that threshold."

The statement added that the Portuguese stone met planning regulations.

"So long as there are no double standards"

Snowdon building - piece by piece
07 Nov 05 |  North West Wales
Snowdon cafe appeal fund 'secure'
01 Nov 05 |  North West Wales
Snowdon £9m cafe appeal extended
28 Sep 05 |  North West Wales
Lord Snowdon at namesake peak
21 Aug 05 |  North West Wales

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