Support for Small Shops Campaign Grows as Council Gives First Indication of Backing Down

Nerys Evans, Plaid Cymru Regional Assembly Member for Mid & West Wales, is the latest figure to lend her support to the campaign to save small shops in central Aberystwyth. Her recent letter received by the campaign group Cadw Calon Aberystwyth says:

"These large scale proposals certainly change the current original Masterplan proposal for the Post Office site and further public consultation is paramount.

"We in Carmarthen are currently witnessing the development of the old mart site with the arrival of Debenhams as the anchor store. The old mart site was empty and is not at the heart of Carmarthen town. I am not persuaded that the architectural character of
Aberystwyth should be sacrificed for the needs of Debenhams. I feel that this would change the very reasons why Aberystwyth is such an important, iconic town.

"I understand from Elin Jones AM that Councillors are suggesting that this project is being led by the Assembly Government and that the Council is almost powerless to resist. I also confirm that this is not the case. The Assembly Government would not release major funding for projects unless they are advocated by the local County Council. I have witnessed the very same tactic by Councillors in Carmarthenshire recently who openly state that they are powerless to stop the closure of three secondary schools due to National Assembly guidelines."

Nic Bourne, Conservative Regional Assembly Member, has also given his support to the campaign and will be meeting small businesses in the town on Wednesday evening.

Meanwhile a County Council Officer at the heart of developing the controversial proposals for demolishing small shops has indicated that the Council will back down from their original plan to ask a meeting of the Full County Council on 30th April to support Compulsory Purchase Orders on any property owners in the area not willing to sell. A recent reply to one owner says, "I can confirm that we will not be requesting any resolution on CPOs at the meeting of Full Council on 30th April". This marks a significant climb down for the Council who had originally stated an intention to have the Orders agreed in principle on this date.

The next key date in the campaign comes on Thursday 9th April when County Councillors will receive a briefing from the Council's Economic Development Department in a closed session at 10am in Arad Goch in Bath Street. Campaigners are planning to meet outside at at 9.30am to greet councillors as they go into the meeting.