19/03/2009

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”
and
“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.

14 comments:

  1. I think a couple of issues need to be clarified in relation to the letter drafted by ‘Cadw Calon Aberystwyth’.

    1. Whilst it is a clever use of words, ‘Cadw Calon Aberystwyth’ only represent a minority of the businesses directly affected by the expanded development area (some 20%), and an even smaller minority of ‘businesses in Aberystwyth’ at large.

    2. Whilst their alternative location does indeed seem an interesting proposition, some of the leading members behind this group would benefit significantly from the alternative proposal by securing prime retail positions directly adjacent the department store site.

    Whose interests are they really looking to safeguard?

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  2. Couldn't agree more. About time LOCAL people were asked their opinion on this development because most LOCAL people I speak to think it's about time the town centre was regenerated with good quality chain stores to encourage more shoppers into town. Chains and independents do well side by side in other towns, why should Aberystwyth be any different? I know for a fact that the traders affected who are speaking out against this proposal don't go out of their way to shop with the other traders affected so it does make you doubt their agenda! Time to drag Aberystwyth into the 21st century and give those of us born, bred and who have remained in the area to bring up their children a choice of modern shopping facilities so that we are not forced to shop in Cardiff or online!

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  3. Cadw Calon AberystwythMarch 24, 2009

    Cadw Calon Aberystwyth represents an ever-growing group of members including traders who are directly and in-directly affected by the new, revised plan, residents who are directly and in-directly affected, owners of the properties and genuinely concerned members of the public of Aberystwyth and the locality. The group does not profess to represent the Business Sector of Aberystwyth. The membership status was explained at the beginning of the letter quite clearly.

    The alternative location proposal was made by an independent trader who is not directly affected by the re-development. A show of hands at last week’s meeting, of the members present, supported this proposal and the democratic decision to include it in the letter was made. This was purely a suggestion for an alternative location, hoping to engage Ceredigion County Council in dialogue. As the original plan stood certain businesses did stand to gain from their present location – the original plan went to public consultation and support was garnered during this process. Who stands to gain from the revised plan?

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  4. 'We are a concerned group representing businesses in Aberystwyth and members of the public' does not clearly explain the membership of Cadw Calon Aberystwyth, it could quite easily be read to imply that you represent all businesses.

    The simple answer to your question is Aberystwyth as a whole.

    However, I am pleased to note that you appear to welcome dialogue regarding the development, as no development at all would be the death knell for the town centre.

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  5. A 'neutral' street survey?

    Is this the same 'concerned resident from Trisant', who is stating on the Facebook page that she is organising the survey, whilst at the same time criticising the proposed development on the very same page, and also criticising the proposed development in the Cambrian News?

    But of course it's going to be 'neutral'!

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  6. Interesting debates and comments. What is interesting is how a minority of ill advised shop keepers are fuelling negativeness. For example.. Maes Y Meysydd a "health" shop has a print out of the plans in the window with a comment "are you aware of these demolition plans" - how interesting. The fruit and veg shop famous for publicly announcing that they were about to shut shop due to the council wanting to charge for clutterning the pavement with produce appeared eager to close but now they have a long term strategy.How about MGs?Publicly against any competition, I thought the lease was not going to be renewed on the Great Darkgate branch previous to this development being planned? There are others who have made the U turn mainly due to the dis-like of one of the deveoplers.
    More importantly.............
    It is very worrying that these retailers who by the sounds of it are at rock bottom can't understand that a development of this nature will bring extra foot fall to the town and inevitably extra customers.Take a trip to Carmarthen on a Saturday and see where your potential customers are, M&S? YES! This little trip you can book down as an expense for research. You do research for your business plans do you? Or do you read hand made posters blue tacked to shop windows instead?
    How about job opportunites brought in by the development or are we happy to work in these little shops on minimum wage with no long term prospects?
    I for one have had my eyes opened and have stopped buying from any of these outlets as they do not deserve my money. I want Aberystwyth to develop and not be the subject of continiuing decline which the guys against this development have publicly and continually complained about in the press over the years.
    Looks like I'm off to Carmarthen this weekend.

    Regards to all,
    Local Guy

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  7. Shopkeepers are only interested in £££ and some free advertising.
    Councilors are there for an ego trip and to boost popularity.
    Neither parties views or concerns are genuine or should be valid.

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  8. Have to disagree there. Everyone's view is valid.

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  9. I'm struggling to understand what exactly Cadw Calon Aberystwyth are opposing. Is it genuine concern for Aberystwyth or just an opportunity to snipe at the council? If they are really concerned about Aberystwyth's future then surely they can see how dire the current situation is? Are they really doing so well that they don't need the extra business that the large chains will bring their way?

    I agree that the council were wrong to put the original plans out for public consultation when there was probably no intention of using those plans, I also agree that the public should be consulted on the new plans but the vehement opposition shown by the minority and the behaviour by some of them as mentioned in another post on this blog deterring the majority from expressing their opinions. I'm an Aber girl born and bred and know many local people and everyone I speak to is excited about the prospect of improved shopping facilities in the town. Do the people opposing the development manage to buy everything in town? I certainly can't. If you go to Carmarthen at the weekend you'll see many Aber people there shopping in a town with a choice of chains and independents, who aren't afraid to develop and move forward.

    The idea of saving Aber's heart is all very nice but let's get real - Aber's heart is dying and desperately needs a boost!

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  10. Local Guy as he calls himself should go and live in Carmarthen together with the rest of the plastic people from Aberystwyth who choose to buy goods produced by slave Asian labour from the national chain stores.

    Check on who owns these stores and you will find their loyalty is to another country other than Britain.

    Support local business in Aberystwyth who have served our town well through good times and bad, once they have gone they will have gone forever.

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  11. Listen "Anonymous", if you think that most of the "local" business owners support only other local businesses, you're very much mistaken! I suppose you've never bought anything from a chain store?

    It's not about being plastic, it's about being realistic and giving people choice which is something we've never had in Aber.

    And as for supporting Britain, I own a Danish cardigan from a "local" clothes shop and I have noticed that a certain coffee shop buy the bread for their sandwiches from the budget range from a large supermarket.

    Your comment about Asian slave labour is a bit pointless because the plan is to have mid-range chain stores instead of the low-end ones we have now which are far more likely to use cheap labour.

    Apparently there are 37 empty units in Aber so having chain stores here does not mean the end of small shops, both can thrive together as they do in other towns.

    Some people need to remove their rose-tinted glasses and look at what's going on around them.

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  12. Lets get it out in the open once and for all. I too am born and bred in Aberystwyth and for those of us who CAN call this place HOME, lets keep it that way. I want to see this town alive and kicking and while i welcome outsiders they should have no say in how this town opperates. Except for Debenhams or other large - mid range retailers, because loads of my mates are large- mid range, and i only acknowledge the existence of these people or those who can trace their ancestry back to the 13th century and the time Owain Glyndwr, descendent of the Prince of Powys. All others are inferior and not part of our master race, Seig Heil! Hey, anyone read Mein Kampf?

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  13. Last post was a bit weird.

    Anyhow, local guy here. Just been to Carmarthen and bought plenty of nice produce from the indoor newly built market/
    I'm guessing that the produce was local to the area and the guys in the market were all commenting how great that particular development is despite the original fears.

    Also, many were aware of how behind the times Aberystwyth is with the constant resistance to change.

    No plastic here. (In response to a comment above)

    I support any outlet anywhere who deserves my custom. Just because you open a shop and claim to be local does not entitle you to a market share of the business. You earn or lose customers through reputation.

    So feel free to go ahead and support your local businesses selling local products but don't feel obliged to if there is somewhere else that is better.

    To those looking here who are open to change, take a look at this: http://www.PetitionOnline.com/Aber09/

    Local Guy

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  14. Re: Anonymous April 03, 2009 - Godwin's Law!

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