15/09/2009

Council in Disarray Over Town Hall

I was contacted yesterday by the local paper asking about the future of Aberystwyth Town Hall in Morfa Mawr/Queens Road. The County Council seem in disarray about the building’s future. The Finance Department staff currently housed there amongst others are due to move to the new council offices at Parc y Llyn on Friday week, leaving the building almost empty. At one time there was an intention to move the town library there. Now there’s a funding problem with this and in the short term the building is to be ‘mothballed’, i.e. closed but maintained in good order until someone comes up with an idea. The Town Council, which occupies two small rooms there, have been told they will have to move out and have been half-promised another central location (at least they won’t be moving out of town).

Looking down Portland Street towards the Town Hall (above) it seems almost unthinkable that the building should simply be abandoned. It’s not as grand as the original, which was burnt down on 8th September 1957, but the building and it’s position at the junction of two roads has an imposing look about it that dignifies the town.

I've got mixed feelings about the new County Council Offices at Parc y Llyn. I hear the criticism about extravagance in difficult economic times but I can also understand the case for a new building meeting modern standards in one place rather than the patchwork of old buildings dotted all over town that council workers are currently housed in.

But it’s absolutely essential that the County Council maintain a presence within the town centre for the many people who need to make payments or enquiries etc whilst doing their shopping or in their lunch hour. It's just not good enough that these people should all have to trek a mile out to Parc y Llyn. With the Town Hall set to empty, those people are entitled to ask why it can't be kept open as an easy town centre access point to Council services.

6 comments:

  1. The original burt down in 1957 and was re-opened in the early '60's.

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  2. I think you're right. It says 1967 in the book 'Born on a Perilous Rock' so tnat's what I went with although thought it seemed a bit recent. Wikipedia agrees with you and says the fire happened on 8th September 1957 so I've corrected the piece to say that.

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  3. Will the council be returning the road in Queen Square back to normal once they have moved out?

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  4. The Council just doesn't know what it's doing with the building at the moment so nothing will happen until it does. If it became obvious that no ceremonies, rallies etc were ever going be held on the steps of the town hall again then I suppose they would consider looking at the road layout but, in the short-term at least, I imagine parades will continue to take place on the steps even though the building is shut.

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  5. moving the town library there would be the best otpion. It's such a beautiful building in a fantastic setting. I wouldn't put it past Ceredigion's chronic lack of aesthetic awareness to turn it into a discount store or something.

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  6. The above comment just shows how little people understand about the proposed regeneration of the town centre! But, as an aside, just how would turning it into a discount store with the external facade remaining intact alter its aesthetics?

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