Council cabinet approve plans to evict locals to make way for Tesco

CEREDIGION Council’s cabinet has approved plans to evict three residents of Glyndwr Road in Aberystwyth to make way for a new development that will include a Tesco supermarket, a branch of Marks & Spencer and multi-storey car park.

But the plans will see the old Drill Hall and a row of houses on Glyndwr Road demolished to make way for the construction on Mill Street car park, which lies between the bridge to Trefechan and the Matalan on Park Avenue.

The proposed compulsory purchase of the houses will have to be approved by a meeting of the whole council before it can progress.

Councillor Alun Williams (Aberystwyth Bronglais) described the proposals as “a difficult issue for any Aberystwyth councillor.” He said that he “broadly support[ed]” the development of the car park, adding that he was “very much influenced by the fact that the small traders of the town believe that it will have knock-on value to them.”

Williams continued:

“Like everyone, I’ve talked to lots and lots of people in town about the scheme and I’ve concluded that the community consensus is in favour of developing the car park but is against the loss of Glyndwr Road and the Drill Hall. I believe that the very welcome new developments in the town should not be at the expense of the town’s heritage and character. I regard Glyndwr Road and the Drill Hall as a part of that. That consensus does have a right to be represented.

“It’s a difficult decision. I’m told by officers that if the Council doesn’t agree to a CPO, that the whole scheme could be lost. I do take that view seriously.  But it’s hard to believe that it wouldn’t be possible to put together a slightly more modest scheme by retaining these elements. I also think it’s wrong to place a CPO on someone’s home except in the most extreme circumstances. I did support a CPO a few years ago on land in the Ystwyth Valley to enable the building of a long-distance cycle path. But that was land, not someone’s home.

“Of course, if people choose to sell their home to developers, there is nothing the Council can do about it. But clearly not everyone is choosing to at the moment. For these reasons, and with great difficulty, I’m not going to support a CPO, although I do understand why others will. And it doesn’t mean I’m opposed to the overall the scheme.”

Councillor Aled Davies, in whose Rheidol ward the development is planned, declined to comment on the grounds of an undisclosed conflict of interest. Councillor Ceredig Davies (Aberystwyth Central) declined to comment on the grounds that as a retailer in the town he had a conflict of interest, and Councillor Mark Strong (Aberystwyth North) declined to comment following previous claims made against him of “predetermination”, whereby councillors can be accused of having made their minds up before final votes on planning matters.