Diary

Plans for a toilet block in Snowdonia have gone down the pan after local residents said they hate the design.

The proposed replacement block in Betws-y-Coed included glass panel walls and a large overhanging roof made of zinc. But it has been rejected by national park planners as not being in keeping with the town's conservation area or listed buildings nearby.

Residents agree that the current facility, which is used by 14,000 people a week in the height of summer, needs to be replaced. But one local shopkeeper describes the new-look design as resembling a spaceship.

After flushing out the proposal during a site visit, the park authority has concluded that the designs do not meet local plan policies and the choice of materials does not accord with the predominant character of the conservation area.

Fans of Leeds United Football Club have warned that they may repaint a sculpture sprayed in the colours of their arch-rivals.

The sculpture displays the red and white colours of Manchester United, the club most despised by followers of the Elland Road side. It sits proudly on a roundabout at the main entry point to the Crossed Gates estate and was originally painted in Leeds United's white and blue. But councillors insisted that it be repainted.

Now message boards are running comments from fans threatening to damage the gates, or at least repaint them again. One local decorator, a passionate fan of the League One side who refuses to use red paint, has offered his services.

West Wales shoppers can expect a magical experience now that a site in a town steeped in Arthurian legend has won a fight to rename itself after a legendary wizard.

The Greyfriars shopping centre in Carmarthen will be renamed Merlin's Walk after a decision by Carmarthenshire Council. Its owners had applied for planning permission for new bi-lingual signs along with two arches over its walkway and a statue of Merlin in the main precinct.

The authority's planning officers recommended refusal but councillors backed the plans. Their decision has been attacked by conservationists and church leaders, who point out that Merlin's connection with the town is based entirely on myth.

"In the Middle Ages the grey friars were the social services of Carmarthen. It was an important religious and cultural centre," says Canon Patrick Thomas, vicar of Christ Church. "It was something concrete and real. It would be a pity to lose that."

A fence has been dubbed undesirable by Exeter planners despite residents' claims that it enhances their street.

The fence, owned by Stephen McConnell of Athelstan Road, replaced a barrier of forsythia shrubs that had become unsightly. It is made of natural materials, woven from chestnut, oak and hazel. But McConnell's attempts to hedge his bets have come unstuck.

The fence has been refused retrospective planning permission after Exeter City Council objected to its height, position and choice of materials. Planners found it "unsympathetic, incongruous and visually intrusive" and warned that it would set an undesirable precedent.


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