Tag Archives: letters

Major chains oppose revised development plans

[photo: <a href=Top high street retailers, Dolland & Aitchison, Clarks and Clinton have all expressed their opposition to the revised and extended development plans.

In the Report of the Assistant Chief Executive on Aberystwyth town centre development opportunity (click on “Swyddfa Bost/ Post Office”), letters from the chain stores’ headquarters have been included in an appendix of correspondence supporting the main report.

Clarks state “Please can you register our opposition to the proposed development. We would not wish our shop to be acquired by Compulsory Purchase in order to facilitate the redevelopment proposal.”

Dolland & Aitchison echoed these concerns, saying, “We object to this proposal on the basis that we are happy with our representation in the town and would not wish to suffer the inevitable inconvenience and disruption that would result from the redevlopment of this area.”

The Clinton Card Group expressed strong opposition:

“The block within which we are a tenant is an integral part of Aberystwyth town centre and provides a significant variety of retailers that is becoming ever more rare in town centres. There is no need to introduce a single department store that will effectively destroy the mix of retailers in the high street and this can only be to the detriment of both the existing traders and shoppers in the town. It is with this in mind that I urge that this decision is reconsidered.”

When the plans were first revealed in The Cambrian News in February, it was suggested that a multi-screen cinema might also form part of the retail development. With three cinemas already existing in the town, it’s understandable that the managers of these local facilities would want to add their own voices to the opposition.

Michael Davies, owner of the Commodore Cinema in Bath Street, has  expressed his surprise and dismay regarding the news, saying he was “astounded that anyone would think that a multi-screen cinema could be viable in a town the size of Aberystwyth.”

Alan Hewson, Director of Aberystwyth Arts Centre, shared these concerns.

“Any plans for a multi-screen cinema […] would have an adverse and dramatic effect on the running of our own cinema as part of the Arts Centre whilst also impacting on our committment to provide specialist programming.”

The report – which also draws councillors’ attention to the 2100 signature-strong petition presented to Eurfyl Evans and mentions the Cadw Calon Aberystwyth Facebook group – will be presented to the Council Cabinet at their monthly meeting on June 2nd at Penmorfa, Aberaeron. Representatives from Cadw Calon Aberystwyth will be attending to discover first-hand how local democracy deals with the development plans and, most crucially, whether the blight of Compulsory Purchase Orders will finally be formally lifted.

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Response from Nerys Evans, AM

Nerys Evans, AMThis week, Cadw Calon Aberystwyth have recieved a reply from Nerys Evans, National Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales:

Dear Sir/Madam,

Thank you for your recent letter regarding the unexpected revision of the Aberystwyth Masterplan proposing the probable demolition of a large part of Chalybeate Street, Queen Street and Great Darkgate Street, Aberystwyth.

These large scale proposals certainly change the current original Masterplan proposal for the Post Office site and further public consultation is paramount.

We in Carmarthen are currently witnessing the development of the old mart site with the arrival of Debenhams as the anchor store. The old mart site was empty and is not at the heart of Carmarthen town. I am not persuaded that the architectural character of Aberystwyth should be sacrificed for the needs of Debenhams. I feel that this would
change the very reasons why Aberystwyth is such an important, iconic town.

I understand from Elin Jones AM that Councillors are suggesting that this project is being led by the Assembly Government and that the Council is almost powerless to resist. I also confirm that this is not the case.


The Assembly Government would not release major funding for projects unless they are advocated by the local county Council. I have witnessed the very same tactic by Councillors in Carmarthenshire recently who openly state that they are powerless to stop the closure of three secondary schools due to National Assembly guidelines.

As your Regional Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales, I feel that it would be of greater benefit for you to discuss these matters with your local Assembly Member in Aberystwyth, who would be best placed to take up your concerns with the Local Authority.


I will happily discuss these important issues with Elin Jones if these matters arise at the National Assembly for Wales.”

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Elin Jones pledges support

elin-jonesElin Jones, National Assembly member for Aberystwyth this week gave her support to Cadw Calon Aberystwyth’s campaign, saying:

“You, and many others, have written to me regarding the unexpected revision to the Town Centre part of the Aberystwyth Masterplan. I will, therefore, outline for you my position on these new proposals:

1) I knew nothing of the proposed changes to the Masterplan until I read about them in the Cambrian News.

2) They are very significant changes and a public consultation is, in my opinion, completely necessary before such changes can be adopted into the Masterplan.
3) I am not persuaded that town centre architectural character or small independent business should be sacrificed for the needs of one UK-wide retailer. However, if town centre traders and the local community felt this was worth doing, following a widespread public consultation, then I would consider those views at that time.
4) I have been told that Council officials and some councillors are suggesting in meetings held to discuss this Plan that this project is being led by the Assembly Government and that the Council is almost powerless to resist. There is no political Assembly Government decision to support and promote this change. It is probably the case that local Assembly Government officers are working with the County Council to develop proposals. I have now taken the matter up with the Assembly Government’s Minister for Economy, Ieuan Wyn Jones AM. The Assembly Government would not release major funding for projects unless they are advocated by the local County Council – and to suggest otherwise is misleading on the part of any Council official and politically expedient on the part of the councillor.

It is too easy sometimes to say ‘No’ to change, but on this occasion, there is so obviously too little information, confidence and consultation for local businesses and people to say anything but ‘No’ at this time. There is a value to local independent traders and to original town centre architecture. I do not think that should be sacrificed lightly – Aberystwyth should seek to be different and better to other places – not the same, but smaller.

Thank you for drawing your concerns to my attention on this and I’d be happy to meet to discuss further if you wish.

Yours sincerely

Elin Jones, AM”

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