08/10/2010

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.

11 comments:

  1. Has anything been decided about the 10.2 million that came to Aber a while ago? Seems to have disappeared off of the map. It'll be interesting to see how that gets spent, if 79 other houses get built in Penparcau I'm guessing some of that will have to go into provision of services for what will soon have the population of a Ceredigion Town.

    I've not seen the plans for the houses, but will they be eco homes to fit in with the Green Ceredigion agenda?

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  2. The Strategic Regeneration Area £10.3 million will be spent over three years. The SRA Delivery Team meets every two months. Minutes of the July meeting can be seen via this link on the Ceredigion website:
    http://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=15480

    Click on the Highways Property and Works reports (takes a while to load. If it doesn't work, try again in a few minutes) then go to page 90.

    The 79 new houses planned for Penparcau will achieve Level 3 of the Code for Sustainable Homes. The plans can be seen in the Town Council office, now at the Business Centre in Baker Street.

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  3. Thanks for that, really interesting to see how things in the area are moving on. It's great to see this blog pull lots of things together in one place.

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  4. What a depressing list of destruction of green spaces. Trees destroyed, fields built on, houses houses houses, cars cars cars. Yet people are crying out for allotments, for green spaces, for safe places to play and be.
    The only decent investment on this list is the green travel plan. Why is it that green spaces are always concreted over, but buildings are never pulled down to make a park? The capitalist mantra of 'growth is good' is dragon that keeps needing feeding.

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  5. "The only decent investment on this list is the green travel plan."

    Fully accept your point about some of the list. However, a new library, a school extension, a hospital extension?

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  6. Anonymous why don't you get together with a group of people and try and protect the parks and green spaces that are publicly owned. Penparcau and Plas Crug should be protected really. Is there anywhere else in public ownership, probably lots, it'd be interesting to see a list or map. Get in touch with the council offices, AM, MP and Assembly. And have a look at

    http://www.aber-gag.org.uk/

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  7. To 'anonymous' re getting together. I already am a member of GAG. I have campaigned locally to protect a wood - it's now been built on a turned into a house. I expect another planning application for the remainder of the wood. I have written objection letters to nearly all these proposals listed above (the ones I knew about - it's very difficult to keep an eye open for all the planning applications) where green land is lost, to no avail. Ceredigion Council ignores the objections. I write to the MP and AM on every green issue going, but that doesn't seem to have much effect - they can't really stop planning applications. I write to the local Community Council about these things but they still don't bother objecting to planning applications for 20, 30 + houses - it's all more revenue in council tax for them. I've written to the County council's Tree Protection OFficer but after 4+ years of campaigning local trees have still not been protected under TPOs. I've written to the Assembly for improved green transport for the last 10 years and we still don't have a decent bus/train and cycle network...
    Sorry to sound negative, and I know there's other people who are also trying to protect green spaces etc, but at the end of the day concrete capitalism wins every single time.

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  8. Finding the report of the Strategic Regeneration Committee on the website reminds me of going down the broken stairs to the basement, where it is in a locked filing cabinet behind the sign saying "Beware of the leopard". Douglas Adams fans will know what I am talking about.

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  9. Hospital car park not finished yet. I hope it does not stay as a concrete monolith. Stone facing to resemble the wall beneath would make it less obtrusive. Boxes at the top with trailing greenery would be another way to make it less of an eyesore. Will architects ever learn how to blend multi-storey car parks into the environment? Has this park been built so that they can add another storey later [ given the planning permission ]?

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  10. "Stone facing to resemble the wall beneath would make it less obtrusive. Boxes at the top with trailing greenery would be another way to make it less of an eyesore."
    Good point which I'll pass on to the hospital. However there are no plans for an extra layer on the car park.

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  11. Looks like the car park is finished and in use. Does not seem to have been any attempt to blend it into its surroundings. Large area of obtrusive, dull, grey concrete. Glad I only look down on it from my house. I have sympathy for those who live opposite the park on Penglais Hill. Was an architect involved? Don't Planning care about the appearance of these structures?

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