10/02/2013

Aberystwyth's new student village



Aberystwyth University have revealed their plans for a new student village next to Pentre Jane Morgan on Clarach Road, to the north of the town. The plans were shown at a public consultation at the University on Friday.

The new £45 million village - to be built by Balfour Beatty - will have beds for 1000 students. These will be mainly in 3-storey 6-8 bedded units, although there will also be 100 studio flats aimed at mature students. The plans already have outline planning permission, although the final detail is still to be fully agreed with Ceredigion Council’s planning department. 

The opening of the new village, scheduled for September 2014, will see the closure of Pantycelyn, the Welsh-speaking student hall on Penglais Hill, situated between the University and Bronglais Hospital. Pantycelyn, built in 1951, is now regarded as being well below modern accommodation standards and the section of the new village on the right of the map – up to half of the site - is intended to replace this as a home for Welsh speaking students, including a communal area. I’m sure those used to living in Pantycelyn will be asking questions in the consultation about whether the communal facilities will fully replace those at the current site. The old Pantycelyn is a listed building and is will be used by the university for other purposes.

Although the new development is mainly on a greenfield site, it’s good to see a wildlife corridor – trees flanking conjoining streams - being incorporated into the plans. In response to my questions I was told that the site will cater well for cyclists, with covered racks and bike wash-down facilities. Car parking areas can be seen around the outside of the site, with the paths on the interior being traffic-free apart from bikes.

The working title of the new village is Penglais Farm/Fferm Penglais. I’ve made the point that this ought to be a solely Welsh name – like Pentre Jane Morgan next door - especially since such a large section will be reserved for Welsh speaking students.

There will be two further days of exhibiting the plans on Monday and Tuesday of this coming week at the Old College by the Pier. The exhibition will also be shown for a week at the Students Union, date to be announced.

12 comments:

  1. 200 odd Welsh students from Pantycelyn will be rehoused there. What about the other 800 or so ? Assuming the university will stay at its present size, are any more halls closing, or will students be tempted from private housing ?

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    1. Is there an evidence of private landlords getting out of lettings early or reducing the bedsit rental charges in advance of the new accommodation coming on stream in 2014.

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    2. Is there any evidence to show :
      1.what level of rental charge will be levied for the on campus accommoation being developed by the University.
      2. If more accommodation is planned under the University's strategic plans for the future.

      2.how many full time first year students currently rent accommodation in the private sector and whether any landlords are starting to get out early from the buy to let sector in Aberystwyth, or to reduce the exorbitant rental charges in anticipation of a reduced demand

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  2. I've been given to understand the scheme will produce a net gain in student bed numbers. However you'll have to ask the University for the full details.

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  3. Questions do need to be asked about the size of the University and its impact on the town-where does sustainability impact come into it. Surely the recent census results highlight the impact it has in terms of % of Welsh speakers and it has to therefore be much more proactive and take strident steps in overcoming these negative impacts

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  4. I thought that there had to be an assessment on the impact of this on the language, before any planning can be granted?

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  5. How many trees will be planted here? How much green space will be lost for all this concrete? Was there an open period of planning permission for comments?

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  6. Thanks for these comments. This is the response I've had from the Planning Department on the language impact issue:

    "We were party to lengthy reports and dialogue setting out a review of their estate and the need to rationalise many of their activities to the Penglais Campus. The University had at the time also demolished its existing student accommodation on the Llanbadarn Campus due to asbestos being part of the fabric of the building. In LDP terms the development was not seen as out of scale with the development of Aberystwyth and was seen as an appropriate way to meet changing needs. The information at that time and as part of the outline application supported the need for additional land largely to replace accommodation lost at Llanbadarn, some reduction in accommodation in town (along parts of the sea front) and changes on the Penglais Campus e.g. changes to the way Pantycelyn Hall and Penbryn are used (more office / other use than accommodation).

    "This suggested that the net increase in students was quite small which meant that the effect of the development on the linguistic character of Aberystwyth is unlikely to be significant and that what impact there was, would be outweighed by the need to maintain the attractiveness of the University in order to support the vitality of the town and the area’s economy.

    "Given this we wouldn’t expect a specific Welsh Language Assessment to be submitted but it is an issue that we took into account at the plan making and decision making stage."

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  7. Re the trees / concrete comment:
    Comparing the plan above to the site on Google Earth, there are more trees on the new plan than on the current site. As I mentioned, the trees flanking the conjoining streams will be kept, as will the large clump of trees at the top of the plan. A group around the current house by the road will be lost but it looks as if more than this will be planted around the site, similar to Pentre Jane Morgan next door.

    Clearly there will be a lot more concrete, although there's a significant area of concrete on the current site around the working farmyard.

    On the question of planning permission, Outline Planning Permission was granted in March 2012 following the usual public consultation. As I write, permission is being sought for the detail of the development. Plans can be seen in the Town Council office, 11 Baker Street, Aberystwyth (Tel 01970-624761)or in Penmorfa, the Council offices in Aberaeron.

    By the way, I'm certainly not any kind of spokesperson for the University, just trying to give the facts as I understand them.

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  8. Hi Alun

    Do you have any contact details of who the Main contractor is and when they commence works on site please?

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  9. It's Balfour Beatty (above). I haven't got local contact details as yet. Suggest you get in touch with the University's Estates Dept for these.

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  10. That is really amazing village for student full of trees and lots of goods things is here .
    also very good environment for student ,
    thanks for share this blog . . . .


    Student accommodation close to Manchester University | Student accommodation close to Manchester

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