22/12/2010

LDP plans another 2,400 housing units for Aberystwyth

Ceredigion’s Local Development Plan (LDP), launched for public consultation today, is set to open the way for extensive housing development around the outskirts of Aberystwyth.

Areas around Aberystwyth proposed for housing development in the Plan include:

* Three blocks of land for an estimated total of 325 housing units at the Southgate end of Penparcau. A developer has already applied for planning permission for the Piercefield Lane section.

* A further four blocks of land for a total of over 1100 units in the  Waun Fawr/Llanbadarn area.

* Land for 1,000 student units at Penglais Farm on Clarach Road to the north of the town.

The plans are likely to receive opposition from people concerned about the further erosion of the countryside around the town. However it is actually environmental arguments, and the need to reduce car travel, that have led to such a large proportion of the development planned for the county being in the town areas.

The total number of housing units believed to be needed for Ceredigion is based on population trends. But where those houses actually go is increasingly being guided from Cardiff by a desire to site new development close to services or on public transport routes so that car use can be minimised. At the macro level this makes absolute sense but doesn't feel so good if you like the countryside around your town.

The LDP will provide a development framework for the area for the next 15 years. The public consultation period will last until 17th February. Full details are here. Before anyone mentions it, the consultation period has been extended for an extra two weeks to take account of the Christmas period. 

14 comments:

  1. erm, where's the need for this size of housing. The future of the university is in question, there are no new big industries here either.

    I agree with the need for higher density of housing and housing closer to amenities for both environmental and economic sustainability reasons. But there is just no need for 2,400 housing units in Aber - that's about 4-5,000 people.

    The only way to fill these will be for the handful of landlords to make a lot of money from renting housing out to DSS people from English cities.

    Aber Boy

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  2. Instead of building more housing near existing public transport, why not increase public transport to nearby areas and build there instead? Otherwise there is no incentive for those who live outside Aber to use public transport and no incentive to improve those services.

    @tanwenhaf

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  3. I can't see much of a way out of this. The university is likely to still expand, even if at a reduced rate. Students need to live somewhere near the university, and if the new units are in Aber that reduces the population, community and linguistic pressure on the outlying villages. Since students live several to a house, students won't be the ones squeezed out by rising prices; local people will be instead. And the last thing we want to see is local Welsh speakers being priced out. Lower prices keep people in the area, and prices in Aber are ridiculous enough as it is.

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  4. Will other infrastructure be built to take account of the property 'explosion'?

    It'd be good to get a community council for Penparcau.

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  5. I was looking along the seafront and there are loads of empty properties that could be turned into flats. I'd have thought that they would have been prioritised.

    I suppose there is a danger, as another poster wrote of those houses becoming even more 'Houses of Multiple Occupation', from what I can gather that's one of the reasons that Penparcau and Aber got Communities first funding. So it could be a retrograde step for the area, if it's handled badly.

    In terms of the dilution of Welsh language and culture, it'll be interesting to see how the LDP in the area fits with Alun Ffred Jones strategy to promote Welsh as a vibrant language of every day life, particularly if the 2 'policies' contradict each other when put into practice.

    If the environment is a key concern, I suppose this will be proven, when the properties are built from locally sourced, green and super insulated to as high a standard as possible. I'm sure that this is something that the planners would need in place before planning was granted. It was certainly something that Plaid seemed to promote around election time. I think that lots of people would like to see a commitment like this, if the environment is one of the key issues.


    @ anon, Is that you talking about the council stuff Dyl?

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  6. Alan - from September 2010, any newly built houses in Wales have to achieve Level 3 in the Code for Sustainable Homes. Whilst not as high as environmentalists would ideally like, this is felt to be the highest code level currently possible that would not drastically restrict house building. It's thought that building to Level 3 Standard will cost an additional £2,000-4,000 per property. This will (listening to the complaints of some developers locally) act as a slight brake on house building whilst raising environmental standards significantly.

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  7. I think it's great that there is a minimum standard for building new homes in Wales. If there are to be 1425 houses built, then it would be fantastic if only 10% of new houses built came in at least at level 5 (could lead to massive long term savings, especially with fuel security being such an issue in rural areas). With such a large scale new build there's also the chance to put in cycle lanes (that join up to others in the Aber area), more public transport, have large scale tree planting and community gardens as part of the plans, if the key driver is environmental. Maybe getting the planners to talk to CAT could lead to some interesting developments. It would also tie in with the Seven Steps to a Greener Economy for Ceredigion:

    * Improving home energy efficiency
    * Investing in green construction skills
    * Creating spaces to grow food
    * Increasing the use of bio-energy
    * Integrating public transport
    * Creating more cycling and walking routes
    * Educating for sustainable lifestyles

    The development could be really groundbreaking in Wales, or am I overly positive?

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  8. I have a comment regarding the use of part of Penglais Farm to build student accommodation. It was not that long ago that the University pulled out of Alexandra Hall. There were stories of problems with the foundations. There appear to be no foundation to these stories as no underpinning work was apparent when the Hall was refurbished. Most locals will know how the Hall became a very run-down home for DHSS placements for a while.
    I now understand that the Hall is privately owned and run but the University list it as one of "their" residences. There seem to be some problems with its management [ see AberWiki ].
    I feel there is a tendency for the University to abandon old buildings and then want to put up new replacements elsewhere. Can they get finance for new works but not for refurbishment ?

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  9. Similar issues in Bodelwyddan in Denbighshire:
    Bodelwyddan in Denbighshire

    You can email your concerns directly here:

    Llinos Quelch,
    Policy and Forward Planning,
    Department of Environmental Services and Housing,
    Cyngor Sir Ceredigion,
    Penmorfa,
    Aberaeron,
    Ceredigion,
    SY23 0PA

    or by e-mail to:

    ldp@ceredigion.gov.uk

    Also you can email your concerns:
    Elin Jones - elin.jones@wales.gov.uk
    and
    Mark Williams - WILLIAMSMF@parliament.uk

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  10. Just been reading the article from the Plaid website on the "Questionable methodology, unsubstantiated and opinionated responses", by Llyr Huws Gruffydd and MEP Jill Evans, about a similar development in Bodelwyddan in Denbighshire. I wonder if the same issues will appear with this development. Looking at the stats, it looks like in both areas there are a large amount of Welsh speakers, with with 40% of the population in Penparcau being Welsh speakers, according to the census data. It will be interesting to see the methodologies used by the council and Assembly to evaluate the impacts on community and culture that are spoken about here.

    http://www.plaidcymru.org/content.php?nID=14;ID=2328;lID=1

    Sorry I can't link

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  11. And these 2450 people (miminum) are going to do what exactly for a job? There's hardly that many jobs going in Aber. Or are they for students? If so, others have commented on the future of the uni. Or, are they retired people that don't actually need to come here? One of the main reasons Ceredigion's population is growing is that it's deliberately targetting in-migration - these houses are not for 'local' needs. ALL the recent new housing estates have massive 4 or 5 bedroom houses, yet people bemoan the lack of cheap, 1-bed flats for young singles or new professionals to buy. The Council have CREATED the growing population by building huge numbers of houses, totally destroying green open spaces all over the county. The destruction of greenfields is just not relevant for the Council. They see big bucks coming from council tax and don't care two hoots about the environment. Utter disgrace. And entirely predictable from the Council.

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  12. I'd like to see a full assessment of the impact that this development would have on the language, community and environment of the areas, carried out properly in an academic way, by academics, not by the local planning authority, but not like the one that was carried out in Bodelwyddan, Denbighshire.

    I know that Plaid are supporting a proper assessment in Bodelwyddan, and there should be appropriate steps taken to assure that the same thing happens here.

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  13. Here in Aberporth there are plans to build in fields where red kites and buzzards are seen, they plan to allow up tp 52 housing units on the land which has a protection order on the hedgrow and trees.

    TRY COMPLAINING and you cant, the forms need someone with a legal mind to fill in, WHY cant we just object the old fashioned way without the need to see a solicitor.

    THIS IS THE LDP TAKING AWAY local peoples rights to object by making increasingly difficult to raise an objection.

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  14. As it stands a handful of us who will be effected by the plans in Aberporth cannot object as we don't know how to fill in the forms.

    ONLY THREE DAYS LEFT AND WE ARE LIVID.

    Objecting should not be a long over complicated processes. I have 10 forms for local people to fill in and not one of us can work out how to fill the form in and there is NO HELP from the local CAB.

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