Cadw Calon Aberystwyth

A new group has been formed to campaign against the planned demolition of a large chunk of Aberystwyth town centre (see posts below). Called Cadw Calon Aberystwyth (Save Aberystwyth's Heart), the group hope to change the plans by presenting constructive arguments for better alternatives. They will be meeting for the next couple of Fridays at 6pm in MG's cafe in Chalybeate Street. Below is their opening salvo, sent to a range of decision makers:

We are a concerned group representing businesses in Aberystwyth and members of the public. We support sympathetic re-generation of Aberystwyth town centre and were broadly in agreement with the original Masterplan proposal for the Post Office site. We do not support the revised plan, involving the probable demolition of a large part of Chalybeate Street, Queen Street and Great Darkgate Street. We want a response to the following concerns:

· The support for the original Masterplan proposal (from the public consultation of 3.11.08 – 15.12.08) is being used as support for a new, much enlarged plan that bears little resemblance to the ethos and size of the original proposal. When the new plan was put forward to Chamber on Tuesday 24th February 2009, the Cabinet were recommended to agree to the use of Compulsory Purchase Orders based on the public support received for the original plan. The revised plan has NOT received public support.
· Those directly affected by the threat of CPOs have still not been contacted and informed by representatives of Ceredigion County Council, the Welsh Assembly Government or the developers. Why not?
· If the properties on Chalybeate Street and Great Darkgate Street are purchased with the use or back up of Compulsory Purchase Orders, will they be owned by the Council, and if not by whom? Furthermore, who then stands to gain from the increased value of the properties once the site becomes a prime location?
· We demand a new public consultation process for the revised development proposal.
· Until a public consultation goes ahead there should be no further progress on this development.
· We understand there is a Full Council meeting on April 30th 2009 to decide whether or not CPOs will be implemented. This meeting must be postponed pending genuine public approval of the revised proposal.
· To quote the original Masterplan:
“The majority of the site is hidden from view by the mix of two and three storey Victorian buildings that are typical of Aberystwyth town centre”
“The development of this site shall maximise the space available for the development within the constraints of retained buildings and frontages on the adjacent streets”.
· Have any options been explored which do not involve destroying the traditional buildings, for example the area north of Woolworths which consists of four large shops which have the only 1960’s frontage, thereby saving the valued frontage on Chalybeate Street and working to the original ethos that is emphasised in the Masterplan?

Cadw Calon Aberystwyth
Save Aberystwyth’s Heart

In another development, a concerned resident from Trisant is looking for people to help conduct a street survey at the end of March to gauge public opinion on the issue. She says, "One of the things that has been mentioned by both councillors and Meirion Jones is the supposed public opinion poll, and market research already carried out. I have to ask, where? and when? I have never been approached by anyone in relation to this matter. To date, I have been unable to find anyone who has." Anyone wanting to help with the survey, which is being designed to be as neutral as possible, can contact her at henkeeper@aol.com .

Finally, just to show this blog is even-handed, I'll also publish any arguments in favour of the proposed development that come my way.