Wood Chips to Heat New Assembly Building

Many people have been asking what is the large new building on the Ysgol Penweddig playing field close to the railway line. The building is a wood chip biomass plant which will heat both the new National Assembly and County Council Offices across the railway track.
The plant is due to be switched on for the first time in February. The boiler has been designed with enough capacity to also heat Ysgol Penweddig and Plas Crug Leisure Centre and it is hoped that money can be found in the future to make the connections to allow this to happen. The woodchips will be sourced in the Machynlleth and Corris area so will not be travelling far for their weekly delivery. Both the County Council and Assembly buildings are due to open in the Autumn.


Students Back Aberystwyth

Aberystwyth gives students the best all-round university experience in Wales and the eighth best in the UK according to the latest figures just released by the Times. Whilst the quality of courses and staff received good marks, the town itself scored particularly highly in the category 'good community atmosphere'.

The figures add to a survey of students last year which showed Aberystwyth was the top town in the whole of the UK for providing a sense of community and student safety. A University spokesperson said this was an achievement by the people of Aberystwyth. The findings are based on 36,000 student reviews from 56 universities.

In another development, the University is now recommending to new students that they don't bring their cars to the town. This has been much requested by the Town Council as a way of minimising unnecessary traffic in the town.


Major Expansion of Llety Parc Hotel Planned

Plans for a major expansion of the Llety Parc hotel at Parc y Llyn were backed by Ceredigion County Council's Development Control Committee at its meeting yesterday. The proposed trippling in size of the hotel, to accommodate 450 diners with conference facilities for 600, will dramatically alter this important entranceway to Aberystwyth.

However the committee heard that there were still serious concerns that flood risk, a real problem in the area, had not been properly addressed by the plans and held back from giving full approval until this issue has been resolved. They gave planning officers the power to give final approval when they and the Environment Agency, who assess flood risk, are satisfied. In addition the Trunk Road Agency want to see modifications to the Parc y Llyn roundabout to cope with the expected traffic, the developer being expected to pay for much of this. Officers were also asked to ensure that sufficient parking is provided.

There is no doubt that the development will reduce the amount of playing field space in the area and will further urbanise the outskirts of Aberystwyth - both the Welsh Sports Council and National Playing Fields Association are objecting. However the scheme will retain a football pitch, albeit a smaller one than is there at present, and include a tennis court and multi-use sports area.

At the meeting I requested that planning officers look at the possibility of using a small amount of the land to bring a cycle path through to Llanbadarn from Plas Crug Bridge. A few years ago this idea was blocked by the refusal of Llanbadarn Fawr Community Council to allow their play area next to the site to be used for this. A small diversion onto Llety Parc land could allow the path through and Officers agreed to explore this.

The Llety Parc hotel is not universally popular. Despite being a locally owned, independent business, it has the look of a corporate travel lodge. Whilst internet user reviews praise the friendliness of hotel staff they criticise the distance from the town centre and the view of Mcdonalds from the windows. The erosion of further green space, entailed in the new plans, will not impress its detractors. On the other hand there are increasing demands for large conference facilities in the Aberystwyth area which the proposals will help to fulfil. The hotel also employs 37 people and this number will grow if the expansion is allowed.

There is still a considerable amount of work to be done to address flooding and traffic issues before planning permission can be granted. If these can be resolved the growth of Aberystwyth looks set to continue.

Llety Parc website http://www.aberpark.com/


Further Council Cuts for the Coming Year

Cyngor Sir Ceredigion's Cabinet is proposing a budget for 2009/10 that will entail a cut of £4.3 million in its budget compared to last year. The cuts are being proposed despite transferring £600,000 from the Council's reserves and setting Council Tax at an extra 5%. Each department across the Council is being asked to identify further savings to fund the shortfall.

Representations are being made to the National Assembly, particularly Local Government Minister Brian Gibbons, about the poor funding package for County Councils. In turn the Assembly will point to the Westminster government for sticking to the much-criticised Barnett Formula in funding for Wales. The Council Cabinet's financial package will need to be discussed by the Full Council before it can be implemented.


Positive news on crime - if you want to see it

Ceredigion's two main local papers have put very different interpretations on the recently released crime figures for the area.

The Cambrian News headlines with, "New maps show average of 100 crimes a month in Aberystwyth" and begins the article by saying, "Crime levels in Aberystwyth are the highest in Ceredigion...". Since Aberystwyth is more than three times the size of any other town in the County, this is less than surprising - a bit like saying crime levels in Cardiff are the highest in South-east Wales. The article then adds, somewhat more relevantly, that crime levels in the town have actually dropped by 10 per cent.

By contrast, the Cardigan & Teifi-side Advertiser headlines with, "Ceredigion is the Safest", beginning the article with, "Ceredigion is the safest county in England and Wales, according to crime statistics just released. Figures show all types of recorded crime have fallen by a fifth since April".

One has to wonder why many media outlets insist on trying to find a cloud in every silver lining and what effect this has on the way we view the world. Despite what we're told, some things are actually getting better.

The latest crime figures can be found on the newly updated Dyfed-Powys Police website at http://www.dyfed-powys.police.uk/ by clicking on 'Crime Maps / Mapiau Trosedd'.


Cynllunio Diweddaraf / Planning Latest

Y diweddaraf ar geisiadau cynllunio yn ward Bronglais a'r cyffiniau

The latest on planning applications in Bronglais ward and around

Bwthyn, Min y Bryn / Edgehill Road A081044
Erection of an extension and alterations, including demolition work
Diweddaraf / Latest – APPROVED

Ysbyty Bronglais / Bronglais Hospital A080176
Erection of 5 storey extension and 2 storey car park
Outline application (i.e. for the principle of the development)

Diweddaraf / Latest – Discussed at the Development Control Committee on 12th November. The application was DEFERRED, pending agreement with the Trunk Road Agency on road traffic safety on the Penglais Hill side and also subject to the agreement of measures to manage traffic during both the construction and operational period of the development - this will involve the construction of a Park & Ride near the top of Penglais Hill.

Carregwen, Ffordd Llanbadarn Road
Codi ty datgysylltiedig / Erection of a detached dwelling
In the front garden of the above house, i.e. fronting onto Llanbadarn Road
Codi ty datgysylltiedig / Erection of a detached dwelling in the rear garden of the above house, i.e. fronting onto St David’s Road.

Mae dau gais adeliadu wedi eu cyflwyno ar gyfer Carregwen ar Ffordd Llanbadarn, rhwng Ffordd Caradog a Ffordd Ddewi. Y llynedd, gwrthodwyd cais i adeiladu tri tŷ yng ngardd y tŷ gan Bwyllgor Rheoli Datblygiad y Cyngor Sir. Nawr mae dau gais arwahan wedi eu cyflwyno ar gyfer dau dŷ yn yr un ardd.

The above two planning applications have been submitted for the garden of Carregwen in Llanbadarn Road, between Caradoc Road and St David's Road. Last year an application to build three houses in the garden of the house was rejected by the County Council’s Development Control Committee. Now two separate applications have been submitted for two houses in the same garden.

Diweddaraf / Latest – This application has been delayed whilst Planning Officers consider their recommendation. The earliest date for decision will be 11th February.

Ysgol Plas Crug School, Coedlan Plas Crug Avenue A080848
Erection of Conservatory
Diweddaraf/ Latest – APPROVED subject to conditions

Llyfygell Genedlaethol / National Library A080810LB
Listed Building Consent - New external wheelchair platform lift, 2 disabled parking bays, relay existing steps adjacent to new platform lift, new access ramp to main entrance, ramps to existing footway.

Mynwent Aberystwyth Cemetery, Ffordd Llanbadarn Road A080587
Erection of a garage and stores and ancilliary accommodation
Diweddaraf / Latest – APPROVED

Plot 6, Llys Ardwyn, Ffordd Ddewi / St David's Road (Hen Safle Penweddig / Old Penweddig site) A080513
Codi ty datgysylltiedig / Erection of a detached dwelling
Darn o dir ar ochr yr ysbyty o'r safle yw Plot 6 ac mae modd ei gyrraedd o'rtracc ger brig Cae'r Gog
Plot 6 is the piece of land on the hospital side of the site, accessible via the track at the top of Cae'r Gog.

Diweddaraf / Latest – The application is being dealt with by outside consultants brought in to help clear the Council’s backlog of planning applications. No objection from Highways Dept.

Other applications so far approved at Llys Ardwyn are:
Phase 1 - 9 flats
Phase 2 - 18 flats
Phase 3 (the old school 'C' Block) - 17 flats (inc. 3 affordable)
4 apartments in the 'Undercroft' (3 as affordable housing)
Houses on plots 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5

Llyfrgell Cenedlaethol Cymru / National Library of Wales A080401
Hewl un ffordd newyddyn cysylltu y Llyfrgell a Champws y Brifysgol
One-way link road between the National Library and the University Campus

Diweddaraf / Latest - No objection from Highways Dept. Awaiting decision.

Northgate House, Stryd y Dollborth / Northgate Street A070273
Gosod 2 uned tewychu wrth ymyl yr adeilad
Installation of 2 condensing units to side of building

Diweddaraf / Latest - Development Control Committee on 18th June decided that the application should be deferred to invite the applicant to relocate the condensing units or, failing the identification of an appropriate site, the carrying out of works to mitigate the sound from the units which is disturbing local residents. Officers were also told to consider imposing restrictions on the operating times of the units. A failure to agree to this will result in refusal of permission and enforcement action. No final resolution as yet.

Gellir gweld y cynlluniau yn Swyddfa Cyngor y Dref yn Neuadd y Dref, Aberystwyth (Ffon 624761). Dylid danfon sylwadau at yr Adran Cynllunio, Neuadd Cyngor Ceredigion, Penmorfa, Aberaeron, Ceredigion, SA46 0PA.

Plans for all applications can be viewed in the Town Council Office in Aberystwyth Town Hall (Tel 624761). Comments can be sent to the Planning Department, Neuadd Cyngor Ceredigion, Penmorfa Aberaeron, Ceredigion, SA46 0PA