12/10/2011

Major block of student flats planned near Aberystwyth town centre


A planning application has been submitted to convert the former Department of Work and Pensions and Passport Office (pictured) in Northgate Street, Aberystwyth into 62 student flats.

The plans to change of the use of the four-storey building, currently open-plan office space, have been put forward by the Cantref housing association. The plans include the provision of 13 common rooms across the site alongside the single-person flats. There are 12 parking spaces at the building. The offices have been vacant since August after the Passport Office closed.

Comments on the application, which is currently out for consultation, can be sent to Ceredigion Council’s Planning Department at Penmorfa, Aberaeron, Ceredigion, SA46 0PA.

9 comments:

  1. Alun

    I'm really concerned about Tai Cantref. What exacetly are they for?

    What proportion of their tennants have been educated in Wales? How much tax-payers money are they receiving to anglicise Ceredigion? How many hours do police and health services spend dealing with Tai Cantref tennants, especially those who've come here from outside Ceredigion.

    Tai Cantref and the other housing associations seem to be part of and perpetuate (so as to exist their existence) the drawing down of people and families with great problems to Ceredigion and to no ones benefit except Tai Cantref itself. Aberystwyth is turning into Rhyl - and Tai Cantref is seems to me plays a very big part in that.


    Aber Resident.

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  2. NOT A STUDENTOctober 13, 2011

    Where's the sense in this?

    Flats, OK, but why student flats. Why not flats for the rest of us who are not students. Surely Cantref's remit is to provide housing for those of us who live here not rooms for transient students.

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  3. Surely both students and locals have a right to decent housing? I'm sure that Aberystwyth residents and their children have been known, occasionally, to leave Aberystwyth to study and should be able to expect decent, affordable housing just as students in Aberystwyth should be able to enjoy.

    If anyone is responsible for the poor quality and availability of housing in Aberystwyth, surely it's the university, who have persistently continued to recruit at a rate that the local housing market cannot support, and failed to plan adequately to provide with them with the consequence that both locals and students suffer. The problem would be much more likely to see a solution if locals and students could work together to align their interests rather than engaging in petty, racist mudslinging.

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  4. Well hang on, I'm not entirely sure that the two bits here are mutually exclusive...

    Firstly the issue seems to be with the universities habitual over-subscription (with the persisting rumors of a %5 annual over-subscription as policy to ensure cash liquidity... and then this year an absolute glut caused by the rush before tuition fees go up)

    As such town is a wash with students willing to pay above rate for a town flat. This puts the squeeze on town housing for residents.

    So this block could easily free some housing up for residents, especially in coming years where numbers (it is hoped) will drop.

    Problems for me... is that it's a private company running it, it's not the first but unless there were a few more and a competition for the student pound, I don't see entirely what holds them to standard. As such I would have preferred this to be a proposal for campus from the university... but they will say they don't have the funds.

    Regardless there is a problem getting enough accommodation in town. This is an annoyance to both residents and students, before we put a dividing line between us (mainly based around the fact some of the sports societies insist on throwing up on all our doorsteps at 3am on Wednesdays...) I think we should pause. I think the real targets of interest here are
    1. Pressure on the university to house more students
    2. Pressure on the council to explore incentivising the conversion of many of the empty flats above shops in the center of town.
    3.I think we need look into the practice of some landlords in town (without scapegoating ourselves a witchhunt here)... I think this is another blockage.

    I think rifts between town and gown are largely unnecessary... It would be a shame for this to contribute to the divide.

    Aber Student.

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  5. Aber student, an interesting post but there are a few misconceptions I'd like to help with here.

    Firstly, over-recruiting as a buffer against funding and research council cuts is more than a rumour, it's recorded in documents in the university publication scheme that this has been practised in the past (meetings of council or senate, I forget which).

    Secondly, Cantref is a housing association. While the status of these bodies as public or private is a bit ambivalent, they're not-for-profit and have resident members on their board. Gwalia, a housing association, already runs PJM and the seafront residences in an arrangement with the university.

    Thirdly, with relation to concerns about housing standards, private landlords would be held to standards (HMO legislation) from which universities as landlords are exempt, being subject only to the Universities UK code of conduct, a much laxer set of regulations. Any private accommodation would have to be better than some of the seafront and all of the catered accommodation offered by the university by law. We may yet see this block offered for let through the university.

    Finally, don't forget that the university do have a commitment to build more accommodation, like the stuff that's going up on Penglais Farm (below PJM) right now. Building accommodation is financially viable for the university, it just hasn't done it fast enough to meet demand because it planned (read 'blindly assumed') for a private rented sector was able to take up the slack.

    I think that the town-gown tension with regard to this actually results from a lack of student action with regard to this. The guild has been utterly supine in this regard. They could protest at open days and threaten to publicly tell students that they are being recruited to a town that can't house them adequately, which is well aligned with local fears. Instead we have all this "I love Aber, come to Aber!" nonsense, and advising students to take the first flat they are offered because there's a shortage. If you love it, help sort it out.

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  6. Cambrian News reports that the application includes adding a fifth floor. In my opinion this building is sufficiently ugly and obtrusive as it stands. I am pleased that the Town Council has put in an objection.

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  7. I do hope that the TC aren't going to submit their 'non' pre-determined objection for the Mill Street Development based on parking spaces seeing as they can't differentiate between bedrooms (62) and dwelling units (13)

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  8. So that's effectively going to be 62 residences. You'd think they'd buy somewhere on the seafront and renovate some of the old buildings there.

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  9. Update: Due to the objections received, the application will now be put to the Development Control Committee meeting in Penmorfa, Aberaeron on December 14th.

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