Council Acknowledges Community Feeling and Tells Developer to Alter Plans

Ceredigion Council Officers today acknowledged the depth of community feeling about proposals to demolish small shops in Aberystwyth town centre and agreed to tell private sector developers to alter their plans. The acknowledgement came in a private briefing for County Councillors at Arad Goch in Bath Street as a crowd of 55 people demonstrated outside.

Almost all councillors at the briefing, both those representing wards within the town and those from further afield, spoke of the large number of representations they had received on the subject and there was general acknowledgement that the way the whole episode had been dealt with had been a public relations disaster for the Council.

Following the meeting the Council issued the following statement on behalf of Eurfyl Evans, the Council's Cabinet Member for Economic Development:
"Being the responsible Cabinet Member, I am now going to ensure that the representations and comments received by Ceredigion County Council are to be placed with the private sector developer and with the relevant officers of the Welsh Assembly Government. I have asked my officers to invite the private sector developer to reassess all the options and to bring forward a development scheme recognising as much as possible the concerns which have been expressed. I am also going to ask for there to be public consultation on this scheme, to be undertaken by the private sector developer, before Ceredigion County Council can consider the value of any redevelopment scheme."

This still gives considerable leeway to the developers but, whilst it remains open to them to propose any scheme they wish, it is now very unlikely that they would receive either Council or Assembly help for a scheme that could not demonstrate community support. Without this help, no scheme would be viable.

The Council's Economic Development Department will now produce a report for the Full Council meeting on April 30th in Aberaeron but there will be no proposals for Compulsory Purchase Orders put to that meeting, as had originally been planned. The report will include details of all representations received, including a 2,300 signature petition handed to Council officials before today's meeting by demonstrators.