Aberystwyth Day Care Centre - the case for keeping what we have

One of the casualties of Aberystwyth’s Mill Street Development debate has been the Park Avenue Day Care Centre. The Centre is now planned for demolition to make way for new shops and a multi-storey car park and the service is to be moved into a converted section of the Town Hall alongside the new town library (plans are explained here). Whilst there are obvious benefits to placing the new day care centre in the same building as the library, it is clear that the space allocated exclusively to day care is going to be significantly reduced compared to what we have now.

Ceredigion Council has handled the Day Care Centre process extraordinarily badly. The decision was rushed through by the Council’s Cabinet, with no opportunity for input from Day Centre users or the wider public.

With the Council now legally committed to allowing the developer Chelverton to build on the site, and with the Town Hall conversion well underway and due for completion in March, hopes of saving the existing Day Centre seem optimistic to say the least. However a growing group of campaigners has come together to oppose the move to the Town Hall and their demonstration last Saturday can be seen above.

This blog has so far published statements by Ceredigion Council and by Aberystwyth Chamber of Commerce, who support the Mill Street development. In the interests of balance and debate, it’s only fair therefore to publish the views of the Day Centre campaign. Gerald Morgan, Chair of the Save Aberystwyth Day Centre Committee, writes below.

“Save Aberystwyth Day Care Centre

“Members of the Aberystwyth Day Centre Support Group oppose the plans for the Centre proposed by Chelverton Developments Ltd and the Ceredigion County Council and wish to see the retention of the Day Centre with its present facilities for the following reasons:

1. The present Day Care Centre is an admirable, purpose-built resource for the benefit of needy elderly people in the Aberystwyth area, and for their carers.

2. The Centre offers its own car parking.

3. Bus services, taxis and cars can put down or pick up clients without causing danger to other road users.

4. There is a nearby controlled pedestrian crossing for those coming from the bus station or centre of town.

5. There are no stairs, lifts or ramps in the Day Centre; it is entirely safe to enter and leave. It would be easy to evacuate in case of fire.

6. The Day Centre offers enough space for more than one kind of activity to take place simultaneously.

7. The Day Centre offers good hygiene facilities.

“All the above statements are facts.

“However, the intention to move the Centre to the old Town Hall is open to criticism for the following reasons:

1. It offers less accommodation room than the present number of clients warrants.

2. There is no room to park cars.

3. There is no safe place for buses, taxis or cars to stop for put-down/pick-up purposes.

4. There is no pedestrian crossing at this seriously dangerous road junction.

5. Access is difficult. The ramp to the basement has a 180 degree turn which will make wheelchair use difficult or impossible for the elderly. Evacuation in case of fire would be a nightmare.

6. The reduced space will exclude the most vulnerable clients and preclude alternative activities.

7. The hygiene facilities are greatly inferior to those in the current Day Centre.

“All the above statements are facts. We believe that these objections are sufficient to warrant the withdrawal of the threatened closure and destruction of the Day Centre.

“Additionally we believe:

1. that at every level the Council Council’s consultation process has been seriously inadequate

2. that had the County Council taken better advice the Day Centre could have been preserved or replaced on its present site with the full cooperation of the development company and its main client.”

Gerald Morgan
Chair, Save Aberystwyth Day Centre Committee

Photo by David Kirby