10/12/2010

Aldi to receive go-ahead for new supermarket in Aberystwyth

Aldi will receive the go-ahead to build a new supermarket in Park Avenue, Aberystwyth following a meeting of Ceredigion’s Development Control Committee this week (artist's impression right).

The plans involve the demolition of the derelict former Kwik-Save building and car showroom and the building of an Aldi store facing the police station with two storeys of hotel on top and a car park on the town side of the development. A previous application which didn't include the hotel element was rejected last year (previous posts here and here).

This is a key site on the eastern approach to Aberystwyth. In a presentation to the Town Council last year Aldi themselves acknowledged that their presence wouldn't add to the retail provision in Aberystwyth but would just challenge existing supermarkets. The planning report describes them as catering for the 'deep discount market’. There’s certainly a demand for that from the many low-waged in the area, and one member of the committee spoke strongly in favour of the application on that basis. However many people feel it’s a demand well catered for in the town already. And the decision won't please those hoping to raise the standard of Aberystwyth or those opposed in principle to more supermarkets.

On the positive side, the site has been an eyesore for some years now and it could be said that almost anything would be an improvement visually. The regret is that Aberystwyth is still not capable of attracting anything better.

The meeting gave planning officers the go-ahead to approve the scheme once conditions, such as creating a pedestrian refuge in Park Avenue, are agreed.

10 comments:

  1. Isn't this on the old railway track to Caerfyrddin as far as I can make out? I think we should be trying to safeguard what's left of the old trackbed for the future; allowing yet more building on the trackbed would be just more short-termism, and I think it would make it more expensive to build a north-south railway line that runs entirely through Wales, which we should be trying to bring about as a forward looking, green, civilised country

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  2. Looks like a 70's block of flats.

    Any planning stipulations on local materials being used, energy efficient building and lights not being left on for 24hrs?

    How many more super markets can Aber have?

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  3. Yes, that's another point, aesthetics and so on. Personally, I think it looks like a prison block to complement the police station ;)

    What about that wasted flat roof: solar panels anyone, or even just a green roof with wild flowers? Or is that too much to ask from a multinational with $58bn profit? They haven't even bothered with the ubiquitous tiny wind turbine from B&Q!

    Though at least they're in advance of the assembly in their long-standing charging for plastic bags (though not for the same reasons).

    Also I think that because of its general ugliness and backward-looking design this building will reach the end of its life quite quickly.

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  4. There appear to be some trees between the prison block and the police station. I hope there will be trees at the front to support the description of Park AVENUE (or BOULEVARD St Brieuc). I hope any Mill Street development will include trees along the road.

    I suspect that the expensive, up-market shops won't come to an area where a significant proportion of the population are students with hefty loans. I understand that M&S and Debenhams want inducements [ I prefer to call them bribes ] of the order of £2 million to set up in Aberystwyth. If they came under this sort of encouragement then would they leave once the financial support ran out ? - More empty shops in Aberystwyth.

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  5. What a singularly uninspiring building, full agreement with Jeff re the roof and David re the trees and lack of coordinated planning for trees along the approach road.
    Big concern over further tarmac/concrete on ground surface (thought the CCC were encouraging EA 'SUDS' scheme for drainage)
    More concern over proliferation of hotels - will the Prom suffer further loss of use?

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  6. AZERIAH SHADRACHDecember 12, 2010

    What a disaster! Aberystwyth deserves better.

    You’ve given a link to a Design Review Report prepared by the Design Commission for Wales. The report is highly critical of the design yet the proposal seems to have been approved by the Planning Committee. How come? Didn’t the Committee read the report or did they just roll over because it was Aldi?

    Whose daft idea was it that the site should have a mixed use and that an hotel on the first and second floor above an Aldi supermarket is the answer? I’m not aware that Aberystwyth is short of hotel accommodation. Who in their right mind would chose to stay in a room above a supermarket with a view of the football pitch, police station or Co-op when there are plenty of other hotels in far more pleasant surroundings.

    Our only hope is that the development will sink in the in the current economic climate.

    And finally, a reply to Jeff’s first comment. The old Carmarthen railway line did not run through this site, it ran in the open space between the site and the Police Station – so there is still a chance that it could be re-opened, though I think the residents down in Millionaire’s Row will have some objections. I can see them being a bit upset when the Aberystwyth - Carmarthen Express rolls through their living rooms.

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  7. I can't imagine that anyone such as M&S would want to come to somewhere that is becoming synonymous with the lower end of the market. Very Classy! Thanks again. I can now see why people are heading off to Shrewsbury. I think that lots of people have lost faith in the local and county council decision making, and looking at this I can understand why.

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  8. What a shame! I can't believe that the Council want to support this scheme.

    We already have the leading discount food brand (Lidl) in the town centre. Why do we need another?

    Once again the planners are letting a key development site go to waste. Where are all the high end operators? I agree that M&S would be great here!

    We should petition against shopping at Aldi and hopefully that will force them to close the shop!

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  9. I understand that the big,"up-market" shops won't come here unless they are sure there is a catchment population of shoppers of sufficient size to justify their investment. I understand that the population of Aberystwyth and its surrounding area is not big enough. Being on the coast does not help. It cuts the catchment by half. I don't know that poor roads play much part. Improve the roads and that will make it easier to get to Carmarthen or Shrewsbury. I understand that a significant proportion of "our" shoppers go shopping in these towns now. Present economic circumstances don't help. Should you wait for things to pick up before developing these sites? Why don't we [ the council on our behalf ] try to get the shops we have filled before building more? They are trying to block use of the old MFI store in case it competes with a potential user of the proposed Mill Street Development. I think they have some European Community development money burning a hole in their pocket and if they don't use it they will lose it.

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  10. I don't like to spread rumors so I won't say that I have heard Aldi is not coming to Aberystwyth after all. This might be that after one year there is no sign of any building activity whatsoever on this site. Alun may correct me but I think planning permission lapses after 3 or 4 years and they have to go through the whole process again.
    They can't do that with Mill Street. The contract requires completion within 36 months. Quite when the clock starts ticking I am not sure.

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