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.