The continuing growth of Aberystwyth

Tonight’s news that the passport interview office in Northgate Street, Aberystwyth is under threat, on the back of the loss of the main passport office in Newport, may be the start of things to come. Certainly we’ve become used to Aberystwyth shopkeepers saying, “the town is dying”. However what is actually remarkable about Aberystwyth right now is the number of major building projects either going on or about to start around the town.

As I write, and off the top of my head, the following developments are happening, or being planned, around the town, many of them with funding from the National Assembly:

 * An extra storey on the Bronglais Hospital car park is currently being built (pictured) and is due to be completed in November

* The building of a new Accident and Emergency block and 14-bed medical assessment unit at the hospital is due to commence next year - the largest capital investment in Hywel Dda Health Board.

* A major extension to Ysgol Plas Crug school is continuing

* A new university and hospital car park has recently been completed in Clarach Road

* Aberystwyth Town Hall is currently being converted into the new town library in a £1 million scheme

* The building of a new medical centre, including GP Surgery, pharmacy and crèche, has recently started on the west side of Penglais Hill

* Work has started on a new building for the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) at Aberystwyth University, heated by ground source heat pump

* An application for 28 new homes (a combination of flats and houses) at Llys Ardwyn, just off Llanbadarn Road, is going through the planning process. At the same time the conversion of the old Penweddig school building into flats is continuing on the same site.

* Eight new flats in the old antique showrooms in Maes Iago at the top of Great Darkgate Street have just been approved.

* A major extension to the Llety Parc hotel at Parc y Llyn seems likely to receive planning permission

* A planning application has been submitted for 79 new houses in Penparcau between Piercefield Lane and Maesycrugiau

* Plans are being developed for more student accommodation buildings along Clarach Road

* Firm interest is being shown by developers in the planned multi-storey car park at Mill Street with the possibility of a planning application in the new year

* £1 million will be spent on environmental transport schemes this financial year.

That's quite a list. And there are probably one or two others I've forgotten. Of course, I fully expect the Westminster government's cuts to hit Aberystwyth hard, like everywhere else, at some point, maybe quite soon. I'm also aware that not everyone welcomes all the developments listed above. But right now, relative to others, I'm not sure Aberystwyth has too much to complain about economically. We've got the National Assembly to thank for much of that.