Villagers demand demolition of hotel's folly on the hill: Michael Prestage reports on a battle being fought in Wales over a modern monument

TO ITS admirers, the recently constructed obelisk at Ffrith Hill, near Llandudno in north Wales, with views over the Snowdonia National Park, is a monument that enhances the landscape. But critics describe it as an eyesore. Its future may have to be decided in the courts.

A colour brochure celebrating the 64ft obelisk, produced by its owner Richard Broyd, features pictures of nine similar monuments, including Cleopatra's Needle in London. The difference is that the newcomer might not survive a year, while the others have clocked up centuries.

The obelisk was built on the Bodysgallen estate, where the restored hall has become a hotel. It towers above a 100ft quarry face from a meadow designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

But its construction has prompted the formation of the Ffrith Obelisk Action Group, dedicated to having the folly dismantled; a petition has 700 signatures. And in the village of Pydew people claim they were deceived. Planning permission was granted by Aberconwy district council as part of a list of applications for the Bodysgallen estate. There were no objections, locals say, because they were not aware of where the obelisk was to be sited.

Pauline Lancashire, secretary of the group, said: 'A commercial enterprise has been allowed to build a totally inappropriate structure on a valuable wildlife site. It must now be demolished.'

The Snowdonia National Park and the North Wales Wildlife Trust have supported the campaign. And the Countryside Council for Wales, which had to be consulted before planning permission was granted, appears to accept it made a mistake. A letter to the action group says: 'The location of the proposed obelisk . . . was not properly recognised by CCW, so there did not appear to be any significant implications for nature conservation interests.'

Mr Broyd, however, has acted within the law and if the obelisk is demolished will be eligible for compensation. Bill Brice, chairman of the planning committee, said: 'The obelisk is too big and the site is too prominent. Recently we turned down a small extension to a house near by because it would break the skyline. Yet this has been allowed and its sole purpose is to dominate the skyline. It should definitely never have been built.'

Mr Broyd, adamant that the obelisk will stay, will fight in court if necessary. 'It is a splendid thing and the construction is part of the tradition of building ornaments on the landscape in country houses. We applied for planning permission correctly, we built correctly, and we confirmed all we were doing with council planning officers.'

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there