Plans for a major expansion of the Llety Parc hotel at Parc y Llyn were backed by Ceredigion County Council's Development Control Committee at its meeting yesterday. The proposed trippling in size of the hotel, to accommodate 450 diners with conference facilities for 600, will dramatically alter this important entranceway to Aberystwyth.
However the committee heard that there were still serious concerns that flood risk, a real problem in the area, had not been properly addressed by the plans and held back from giving full approval until this issue has been resolved. They gave planning officers the power to give final approval when they and the Environment Agency, who assess flood risk, are satisfied. In addition the Trunk Road Agency want to see modifications to the Parc y Llyn roundabout to cope with the expected traffic, the developer being expected to pay for much of this. Officers were also asked to ensure that sufficient parking is provided.
There is no doubt that the development will reduce the amount of playing field space in the area and will further urbanise the outskirts of Aberystwyth - both the Welsh Sports Council and National Playing Fields Association are objecting. However the scheme will retain a football pitch, albeit a smaller one than is there at present, and include a tennis court and multi-use sports area.
At the meeting I requested that planning officers look at the possibility of using a small amount of the land to bring a cycle path through to Llanbadarn from Plas Crug Bridge. A few years ago this idea was blocked by the refusal of Llanbadarn Fawr Community Council to allow their play area next to the site to be used for this. A small diversion onto Llety Parc land could allow the path through and Officers agreed to explore this.
The Llety Parc hotel is not universally popular. Despite being a locally owned, independent business, it has the look of a corporate travel lodge. Whilst internet user reviews praise the friendliness of hotel staff they criticise the distance from the town centre and the view of Mcdonalds from the windows. The erosion of further green space, entailed in the new plans, will not impress its detractors. On the other hand there are increasing demands for large conference facilities in the Aberystwyth area which the proposals will help to fulfil. The hotel also employs 37 people and this number will grow if the expansion is allowed.
There is still a considerable amount of work to be done to address flooding and traffic issues before planning permission can be granted. If these can be resolved the growth of Aberystwyth looks set to continue.
Llety Parc website http://www.aberpark.com/