Tag Archives: Welsh Assembly Government

Campaign makes front page news

Cllr Eurfyl Evans accepts petition from Polly Leonard

Cllr Eurfyl Evans accepts petition from Polly Leonard (Cambrian News 10/04/09)

The leading front page story in this week’s Cambrian News confirms the results of last week’s successful protest at the council’s closed briefing, with the county council’s economic development officer, Eurfyl Evans, calling on the developers, CityHeart, to rethink the plans in the light of public opposition, and carry out full public consultation regarding their new proposals.

In an interview with ITV last week, before the council meeting, Mark McNamee of CityHeart acknowledged that Compulsory Purchase Orders are ‘a very emotive subject,’ adding that the Aberystwyth development was the fourth occasion in his professional career that he had been involved in what he described as ‘a compulsory purchase exercise.’ McNamee went on to say that as developers they had ‘not only a legal, but a moral obligation.’

Nick Bourne, AM

Nick Bourne, AM

Conservative AM, Nick Bourne, will be meeting members of Cadw Calon Aberystwyth this evening to discuss their concerns. In his column in today’s Cambrian News, Bourne confirms that the Welsh Assembly Government have yet to commit to supporting the revised plans. Leighton Andrews, Deputy Minister for Regeneration said,

‘Whilst discussions have been held, it is too early to determine other than in principle whether financial or other support from the Welsh Assembly Government would be appropriate.’

Nick Bourne will also be visiting traders on Aberystwyth’s Chalybeate Street, Great Darkgate Street and Owain Glyndwr Square on Thursday April 16th to listen to their reactions to the proposed revised plans.

10-year-old Katya Hawker at the protest

10-year-old Katya Hawker at the protest


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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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Town Council give ‘unanimous support’ to campaign!

Town Hall, AberystwythThis evening a group of us from Cadw Calon Aberystwyth attended a full town council meeting down at the County Buildings on the seafront, where we heard representatives from both Ceredigion County Council (CCC) and the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) regarding the new and revised plans.

Allan Lewis, Asst Chief Executive of the county council commenced the presentation, and was obviously somewhat ruffled by public opposition to the new plans as he urged everyone to ‘calm down’ and pledged that the county council is committed to being ‘inclusive and transparent’ with regard to the proposed development. Lewis admitted that there was some ‘difference’ between the retail site plans presented in the Masterplan and the new, extended development, but claimed that the new plans apparently ‘appeal to the Assembly. He also conceded that contrary to popular opinion, no deals have been made with either the developer, retailers or WAG.

Lewis was followed by Jason Jones, Development Manager for CCC who claimed that whilst no deals have been struck as yet, Debenhams had expressed an ‘in principle interest’ in the proposed development. Jones went on to quote from various surveys that have been carried out (the results of which he claimed would be made public in three weeks’ time), using the information gathered to suggest that the vast amount of respondents were in favour of the new development. Martin Morgan, from the Department of Economy & Transport concluded the presentation by briefly stressing that WAG sees Aberystwyth as ‘ a centre of national importance’ and that the town should offer a ‘quality element of retail provision.’

Following inspired and inspiring speeches from various town councillors – including Alun Williams, who pointed out, to great public hilarity, that whereas most towns were trying to preserve their historic buildings, Aberystwyth seemed committed to retaining the ugly ones! – the town council debated and then voted unanimously on the following motion:

Last Night Aberystwyth Town Council received a presentation from County Council and Assembly officials on the new plans. Following the presentation the Town Council debated and then unanimously passed the following motion:

“Aberystwyth Town Council declares its total opposition to any potential development which involves the loss of fundamental parts of our precious streetscape.

Aberystwyth Town Council supports the original Masterplan proposal for the development of the old Royal Mail sorting office site.

However, whilst we understand the need to work with developers, we are profoundly unhappy about the latest proposals which entail the demolition of so many small shops and we cannot give our support to such a scheme, no matter what the supposed economic benefits. We believe the economic benefits of maintaining the character of the town are very substantial also.
We call upon the County Council to develop a scheme which maintains the majority of these small shops and to abandon preparations for Compulsory Purchase Orders.
We also call upon the County Council to conduct a full public consultation, similar to that carried out in November and December, on any new plans before any final decision is taken.

Council resolves to communicate this to:

The Cabinet of Cyngor Sir Ceredigion and all Ceredigion County Councillors

Economic development officials of the National Assembly

Our Assembly Members

The Deputy Assembly Minister for Regeneration

Council also resolves to engage with the Transition Town Group, Cyngor Sir Ceredigion and the wider community to explore alternative approaches to the economic future of the town centre which does not involve a ‘clone town’ economic model.”

Cafodd Cyngor Tref Aberystwyth gyflwyniad gan swyddogion o’r Cyngor Sir a’r Cynulliad Cenedlaethol ynglŷn â’r cynlluniau newydd. Yn dilyn y cyflwyniad fe drafodwyd y cynnig canlynol ac fe’i derbyniwyd yn unfrydol gan y Cyngor Tref:

“Mae Cyngor Tref Aberystwyth yn datgan ei wrthwynebiad llwyr i unrhyw ddatblygiad a fydd yn golygu colli darnau sylfaenol o’n tirwedd stryd werthfawr.

Mae Cyngor Tref Aberystwyth yn cefnogi cynllun gwreiddiol y Cynllun Mawr ar gyfer datblygu safle hen swyddfa ddosbarthu’r Post Brenhinol.

Ond, er ein bod yn deall yr angen i gydweithio gyda datblygwyr, yr ydym yn anhapus iawn ynglŷn â’r cynlluniau diweddaraf fydd yn golygu dymchwel cynifer o siopau bychain ac felly nid ydym yn medru cefnogi cynllun o’r fath, waeth beth yw’r buddion economaidd tybiedig. Credwn hefyd fod y buddion economaidd o gynnal cymeriad y dref yn rhai sylweddol.

Galwn ar y Cyngor Sir i ddatblygu cynllun sy’n gwarchod y mwyafrif o’r siopau bychain hyn ac i roi’r gorau i baratoi ar gyfer Gorchmynion Pwrcasu Gorfodol.

Galwn hefyd ar y Cyngor Sir i ymgymryd â phroses o ymgynghoriad llawn ar unrhyw gynlluniau newydd, yn debyg i’r hyn a ddigwyddodd fis Tachwedd a Rhagfyr, cyn gwneud unrhyw benderfyniad terfynol.

Mae’r Cyngor yn penderfynu rhoi gwybod i’r canlynol am ei benderfyniad: Cabinet ag holl eilodau Cyngor Sir Ceredigion, swyddogion datblygu economaidd Llywodraeth y Cynulliad, aelodau’r cynulliad yr ardal, a’r dirprwy weinidog dros Adfywio.

Mae’r Cyngor yn penderfynu hefyd i weithio gyda Grŵp Tref Drawsnewid Aberystwyth, Cyngor Sir Ceredigion a’r gymuned yn ehangach i ddod o hyd i ddynesiadau gwahanol tuag at ddyfodol economaidd canol y dref nad yw’n golygu dilyn model economaidd “trefi unffurf”.”

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