23/03/2009

Elin and Town Council Back Small Shops

The campaign to save small shops in Chalybeate and Great Darkgate Streets in Aberystwyth received two major boosts today when, in separate developments, both Assembly Member Elin Jones and then Aberystwyth Town Council strongly backed them.

Early this morning a letter from Elin Jones AM to the various individuals and groups who had contacted her on the issue was released. The letter reads:

"You, and many others, have written to me regarding the unexpected revision to the Town Centre part of the Aberystwyth Masterplan. I will, therefore, outline for you my position on these new proposals:

1) I knew nothing of the proposed changes to the Masterplan until I read about them in the Cambrian News.

2) They are very significant changes and a public consultation is, in my opinion, completely necessary before such changes can be adopted into the Masterplan.

3) I am not persuaded that town centre architectural character or small independent business should be sacrificed for the needs of one UK-wide retailer. However, if town centre traders and the local community felt this was worth doing, following a widespread public consultation, then I would consider those views at that time.

4) I have been told that Council officials and some councillors are suggesting in meetings held to discuss this Plan that this project is being led by the Assembly Government and that the Council is almost powerless to resist. There is no political Assembly Government decision to support and promote this change. It is probably the case that local Assembly Government officers are working with the County Council to develop proposals. I have now taken the matter up with the Assembly Government’s Minister for Economy, Ieuan Wyn Jones AM. The Assembly Government would not release major funding for projects unless they are advocated by the local County Council – and to suggest otherwise is misleading on the part of any Council official and politically expedient on the part of the councillor.

It is too easy sometimes to say ‘No’ to change, but on this occasion, there is so obviously too little information, confidence and consultation for local businesses and people to say anything but ‘No’ at this time. There is a value to local independent traders and to original town centre architecture. I do not think that should be sacrificed lightly – Aberystwyth should seek to be different and better to other places – not the same, but smaller.

Thank you for drawing your concerns to my attention on this and I’d be happy to meet to discuss further if you wish.

Yours sincerely

Elin Jones, AM"


The next development came this evening when Aberystwyth Town Council received a presentation from County Council and Assembly officials on the new plans. Following the presentation the Town Council debated and then unanimously passed the following motion:

“Aberystwyth Town Council declares its total opposition to any potential development which involves the loss of fundamental parts of our precious streetscape.

Aberystwyth Town Council supports the original Masterplan proposal for the development of the old Royal Mail sorting office site.

However, whilst we understand the need to work with developers, we are profoundly unhappy about the latest proposals which entail the demolition of so many small shops and we cannot give our support to such a scheme, no matter what the supposed economic benefits. We believe the economic benefits of maintaining the character of the town are very substantial also.

We call upon the County Council to develop a scheme which maintains the majority of these small shops and to abandon preparations for Compulsory Purchase Orders.

We also call upon the County Council to conduct a full public consultation, similar to that carried out in November and December, on any new plans before any final decision is taken.

Council resolves to communicate this to:
The Cabinet of Cyngor Sir Ceredigion and all Ceredigion County Councillors
Economic development officials of the National Assembly
Our five Assembly Members
The Deputy Assembly Minister for Regeneration

Council also resolves to engage with the Transition Town Group, Cyngor Sir Ceredigion and the wider community to explore alternative approaches to the economic future of the town centre which does not involve a 'clone town' economic model."

3 comments:

  1. Ardderchog!
    You truly represented the feelings/objections of the group Cadw Calon Aberystwyth and we applaud you!
    Diolch yn fawr iawn.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Efallai y byddai'n syniad i'r Cynghorwyr Trefol gwrdd fel grwp yng nghanol Aberystwyth ar fore Sadwrn i weld y niferoedd sydd yn siopa yno, ac yna mynd i lawr i Gaerfyrddin i gweld y niferoedd yno.

    Gweld yn y Cambrian News eich bod wedi cael 'standing ovation' gan 15 o bobl nos Lun.

    Un pwynt, ma 'na dros 20,000 o fobl yn byw yn Aberystwyth heb son am y pentrefi cyfagos.

    Ma 15 yn llai na 0.1% o 20,000!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well done the message has certainly got across!

    From the Cambrian News today - apparently M&S TKMax etc etc as well as Debenhams.

    I wonder if these people realise that they are coming here. I suspect not, they are simply being touted so that the developer can get his way.

    ReplyDelete