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BBC Wales's Rebecca John
"It seems the most the cafe owners can hope for is a re-fit"
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Friday, 9 February, 2001, 20:06 GMT
No cash for 'highest slum'
Snowdon cafe
This is on Prince Charles's list of "carbuncles"
Campaigners have failed to raise money to replace an eyesore which Prince Charles dubbed "the highest slum in Wales".

The Snowdonia Park Authority has been trying to secure funding to replace the cafe complex and former hotel at the top of Snowdon - described by the Prince of Wales as "a carbuncle".

The building was designed by the reknowned Portmeirion architect, Sir Clough Williams Ellis, and built in 1936.

Prince Charles
The prince says it mars Snowdon's beauty
Since then, however, the years and the weather have taken their toll, and it has been likened by many to a large, concrete bunker.

The authority had been hoping to raise 5m from sources like the Wales Tourist Board and the National Assembly to underwrite replacing the summit building and cafe on the highest peak.

Approaches for help were made to a number of organisations - including the Millennium Commission - but so far in vain.

The park's chief officer Iwan Huws said he felt disappointed by what he described "a lack of vision".

Important project

And he said the lack of support so far showed a missed opportunity.

"The building is criticised because of its appearance, so we would like to think that somebody will help us in funding such an important project for Wales," he added. But in a statement the Assembly has said it has yet to rule anything in or out.

Members of the authority will be asked next week to recommend refurbishing rather than replacing the existing buildings - described by Prince Charles as a 'carbuncle' on the landscape.

Mr Huws says the only hope now is for a less ambitious scheme.

Replacement cost

The campaign for a new cafe and shelter to be built on Snowdon's summit appreared to be stepping up recently when the assembly's environment secretary Sue Essex visits the site.

But the cost of replacing the building with something easier on the eye is estimated to be 10m.

The new building would include a new terminus for the Snowdon Mountain Railway which carries 100,000 passengers a year to the summit.

A further 250,000 people walk to the top every year.

The National Park is leading the campaign for a new building and plans have already been drawn up.

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