Funding agreed to line Aberystwyth's approach road with trees

Funding has now been agreed for lining Aberystwyth’s main approach road with trees. The money, totalling £375,000 spread over three years, has been allocated through the Welsh Government’s Regeneration Area fund.

The Coed Aber project, first mooted on this blog last April, has involved a collaboration between Forestry Commission Wales, Ceredigion County Council and the Greener Aberystwyth Group. It will see the planting of over 300 trees along Boulevard St Brieuc and Park Avenue, running from Parc y Llyn to the town.

These are a few quotes about the project, released today:

Meg Kirby, Secretary of the Greener Aberystwyth Group:
“Our group was set up to promote the development and conservation of green spaces in the Aberystwyth area. We see them as valuable amenities for the residents themselves and anyone visiting the area. The Greener Aberystwyth Group has long envisaged a tree–lined avenue to unify this important approach to Aberystwyth and is delighted that it is now becoming a reality.”

Trefor Owen, Director of Forestry Commission Wales:
“Many consider the benefits of such developments as being simply environmental but they are much greater. There are proven benefits for people to exercise and enjoy a safe, welcoming high quality local environment. From an economic perspective it can attract more visitors and tourists as well as promote investment by the business sector.”

Huw Lewis, Welsh Government Regeneration Minister:
“When the Regeneration Areas were established we asked Forestry Commission Wales to consider potential opportunities for urban tree planting schemes. In Aberystwyth this vision was integral to the development of a green river corridor along Boulevard St Brieuc. This environmental enhancement contributes positively to people’s perception of the town as they arrive and will bolster its overall regeneration.”

The work, which has parallels with the Oystermouth Road Project in Swansea, will commence in March with the aim of completing the project by 2015. Further details can be seen here and a walk-through video here.

Under the Welsh Government’s Regeneration Area scheme, £10.3 million has been made available to invest in Aberystwyth over five years. The scheme has just over two years left to run.


Mill Street latest

This is the first artist's impression of the proposed Mill Street development in Aberystwyth, looking from in front of the current car park entrance in Park Avenue. On the roadside is Marks & Spencer with Tesco behind. Behind that is planned a 555 space multi-storey car park.

Arguments for and against the development can be seen on a previous post here.


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.


Major Welsh language rally in Aberystwyth

500 people turned out today in Aberystwyth for a major rally in support of the Welsh language organised by Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg

The rally also marked the 50th anniversary of the first demonstration for the language, on Trefechan Bridge. Lots more photos here.