28/02/2010

Ceredigion pushes ahead with Mill Street multi-storey

Ceredigion Council is hoping to push ahead with developing a multi-storey car park and shops on the site of the current Mill Street car park in Aberystwyth.

Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting agreed that the Council should seek, “expressions of interest” from, “suitably qualified and experienced companies with a view to shortlisted parties being invited to submit their proposals.” Presumably they’ve got someone in mind. The National Assembly is in support of the plans as a key project to be developed under Aberystwyth’s Strategic Regeneration Area designation.

The Council’s plan is for a three-storey car park to be built on the site as a way of supporting the town centre with up to three shops fronting onto Park Avenue. The current Park Avenue Day Centre would be relocated to the Drill Hall in Glyndwr Road. It’s particularly important that this is in place before development starts.

Although the area covered by the plan only involves the current car park and Day Centre, the report notes, “this does not mean that interested parties will not look at assembling a larger site”.

I’m not opposed to the Mill Street plan. Some will say a multi-storey encourages greater car use but there’s now a strong consensus that Aberystwyth town centre needs bolstering to prevent people travelling further afield for their shopping. There are also plans to improve the pedestrian thoroughfare between Mill Street and the high street.

However, the mention of a larger site brings an unmistakeable feeling of déjà vu, remembering last years’ debacle over the proposed Post Office development which was, rightly, turned down after major public protests at threatened compulsory purchase orders on a large number of the surrounding traditional small shops. Being aware that an agent has been canvassing residents of the twelve houses in the adjacent Glyndwr Road about selling, I asked if the Cabinet could give an assurance that compulsory purchase powers would not be used to enlarge the Mill Street site. The Council Leader answered very firmly in the negative. Sometimes it seems as if they don’t want to help themselves.

2 comments:

  1. "Aberystwyth town centre needs bolstering to prevent people travelling further afield for their shopping", well welcome to the very real world of every high street in Britain...It's the impact of internet shopping that's doing this, not chain stores (who are also facing problems..remember Woolworths).

    I really hope that this is not going to be yet another what the council want, rather than what the people want...Re: the Masterplan AKA the well known Disaster Plan. To be honest looking at their track record it's worrying.

    1. The Bathhouse project. Who knows whats' going on, doesn't look like a hospital anymore.
    2. The Master Plan. Wasted tax payers money.
    3. The Post Office Development - Nobody wanted it.
    4. ?

    I really hope that this isn't going to be one of those ugly concrete and red brick affairs that doesn't fit in at all and looks cheap and nasty and is lit all night, hopefully this close to town there will be some attempt to make it out of stone and try to get it to fit in with the Victorian facades of the shops, and not have shops that compete with the existing ones.

    How will this fit in with the "Steps to a Greener Economy" that was pushed forwards, is anyone listening and does anyone really care? It'll be interesting to see if the shops are chain stores and if local businesses can rent the units, if they will be green buildings and so on. It all feels a bit 70's, when the Park and Ride still has lots of space in it on a daily basis.

    Haverford West and Cardigan seem to be pushing forwards while Aber seems to be sliding backwards, shame really.

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  2. Surely they aren't going to build a Tesco right in the middle of town? That would be horrendous, the traffic would be unbelievably bad. Just look at Newtown!

    Have these people lost it completely? Why don't they try and find a site out of town beyond the industrial estate? How on earth are they going to get a Tesco store to blend in with the local architecture, the traffic(and pollution) that it causes in Llanbadarn is going to be terrible. The light pollution in Aber seems to get worse every year. Its just sad really, that the people who have the right to say yes are destroying what little is left of a local town. Just how many supermarkets does a small town need?

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