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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 September 2006, 13:51 GMT 14:51 UK
Snowdon cafe's demolition begins
Environment Minister Carwyn Jones strikes the first blow
Environment Minister Carwyn Jones strikes the first blow
Work has finally started on demolishing the old cafe at Snowdon's summit, to make way for a new 8.3m building.

It will replace the present 71-year-old structure, once labelled Britain's "highest slum" by Prince Charles

Environment Minister Carwyn Jones, who walked up the misty mountain for the first time for the ceremony, said the old building had served its purpose.

After delivering the first demolition blow, he said the new building would be more in keeping with its environment.

The assembly government has given 3m to the project, first mooted five years ago, and another 4m has come from European Objective One funds. A further 350,000 was raised by a public appeal.

Snowdonia National Park Authority chairman Caerwyn Roberts said the present building was spoiling the "unique experience" people had when they visited Snowdon.

View down Snowdon from the train
The new building will improve the visitor experience, say officials

"This has been a challenging project, but I am proud and pleased we are here today."

The finished building would be a massive boost for the local economy, he added.

Finance minister Sue Essex, who took the train to the summit for the ceremony, said; "The present building detracts from its environment. The new building will be modern and sustainable.

"It is a massive investment for the whole of Wales," Mrs Essex added.

Last week after a controversy over imports of Portuguese material for the new building's roof it was revealed that the walls of the new building will be built from Welsh granite - at an added cost of 56,000.

Pupils from Ysgol Llanberis and Ysgol Beddgelert who plan to bury a time capsule at the new building
Pupils from Ysgol Llanberis and Ysgol Beddgelert buried a time capsule

Some 350,000 walkers and visitors use the existing summit building, which was built in 1935 to a design by Portmeirion founder Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, and has deteriorated badly over the years.

The new centre, which will be completed by spring 2008, will have up to date facilities giving visitors the chance to learn more about Wales highest mountain and its environment.

It will also provide weather information, advice on descent routes as well as refreshments and shelter.

"Hopefully it will be open..in 2008"

Snowdon cafe to use Welsh granite
06 Sep 06 |  North West Wales
Row over 'foreign' Snowdon stone
24 Jul 06 |  North West Wales
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

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