Backbenchers win small concessions but Day Centre campaign is losing the war

After a full Council debate lasting most of the day, backbench Ceredigion councillors this week finally won three minor concessions in the continuing controversy over the future of Park Avenue Day Centre in Aberystwyth.  

The Council Cabinet have already taken a decision to re-locate the Day Centre to the ‘lower ground floor’ of the Old Town Hall in order to make room for the proposed Mill Street development. The issue has been the subject of a vigorous campaign to maintain the current Day Centre.

The small concessions won on Thursday were:
*  Guaranteed ‘ownership’ of a second room for the Day Centre on the lower ground floor of the Old Town Hall
*  Consideration of a canopy over the entrance / patio
*  A review of the suitability of the new centre in 12 months.

Nine councillors, including this one, had earlier voted for an immediate review of other options as a location and venue for the Centre after the Council's Social Services Committee had expressed dismay at the cramped accommodation on the new site during a tour on Wednesday. That vote was lost by 14 votes to nine with five abstentions.

A council legal officer told the meeting that the decision to close the current Day Centre in Park Avenue was "irrevocable".

The photo shows the unfinished dining area in the new Day Centre. More photos of the old town hall conversion, including the new town library which will occupy most of the building, can be seen here


78% back Aberystwyth bandstand upgrade

78% of people support the idea of a new or re-furbished bandstand on Aberystwyth Promenade – that was the key result of the public consultation on 6th December. 

The project to improve the Bandstand received the highest support amongst the various ideas on offer at the exhibition. Whilst there was no firm view on exactly how it should be improved, the consultation report says:
“There was widespread agreement that the building, whether re-built or re-furbished, should take advantage of sea views and provide a more attractive and welcoming appearance”.
People were clear that it should not be demolished in favour of some form of public art. 

The second most popular project at the exhibition was ‘Street Improvements’. The consultation report says:
“This particular project appears to have a high level of support particularly in relation to providing outdoor areas along the promenade for eating and drinking - there was a lot of recognition that these would be fairly easy to implement in the short term and have the potential to make a positive difference to the number of people spending time on the promenade, The majority also agreed that the priority area (Marine Terrace) would benefit from regular crossing places that would make it easier and safer for pedestrians to cross the road.”

The consultation results were as follows:
The first figure is those who 'agree or strongly agree' that the issue should be prioritised, the second figure is those who disagree or strongly disagree'. The rest expressed no preference.

Bandstand 78% - 8%
Street Improvements  68% - 6%
Paddling Pool  62% - 2%
Street Furniture  56% - 14%
Public Art  52% - 24%

Aberystwyth’s Promenade Project is receiving Welsh Government  Regeneration Area funding under in a bid to improve the town's economy. The most popular elements of the project will be prioritised and be the subject of further consultation.

I can send the full survey report to anyone who e-mails me at alunw@ceredigion.gov.uk