Controversy as Aberystwyth’s iconic bandstand is set to be demolished

DESPITE OVER 2,000 residents signing an online petition to stop Ceredigion County Council from moving ahead with plans to install a new ‘modern’ bandstand on Aberystwyth’s Promenade, the designs of which were released towards the end of last year as part of the Regeneration scheme for the town, the plans have been approved by 12 votes to 2.

View of proposed design for new bandstand from junction Terrace Road

View of proposed design for new bandstand from junction Terrace Road

The bandstand is set to create various new jobs, but its design has not been well received, with numerous comments about its size and shape being ‘obtrusive’, ‘horrific’, ‘a complete joke’, ‘an eyesore’ and ‘a waste of taxpayers money’. Many concerns surround the new bandstand not fitting in with the rest of the promenade’s classical appearance, and about its durability in light of the recent storms Aber has faced.

Mariwe McGranaghan, the organiser of the ‘Save Aberystywth Bandstand’ campaign, has set up an online petition against the design, saying that it is ‘obscene to be wasting money’.

Dr. Fred Long of Queen’s Road said: “The design is ridiculous. It would not have survived if it was there in the January storms. The basic structure should remain.” The proposed modern bandstand features large sections of Rockpanel Chameleon, which is supposedly finished with a unique crystal layer, giving the surface the appearance of a changing colour effect when viewed from different angles in the light.

Cllr Mair Benjamin said: “Can you imagine the embarrassment of pulling down the one building that did survive the storms?”

The £1m design was put on hold due to the storms at the beginning of January which did considerable damage to the seafront, and resulted in the complete destruction of the Victorian Shelter. The controversial plans were re-submitted for approval earlier this week, and the Planning Committee has approved the designs yesterday (12th).

Aberystwyth’s current iconic bandstand will be demolished and replaced with the new one, which will feature a theatre and  72-seat cafe/restaurant with an outside balcony. It is also said to include an 150-seat public performance space on the bottom floor and public toilets.

Cllr Alun Williams has confirmed that the scheme will be completed by March 2015. This is in order to qualify for the Welsh Government’s Regeneration Area funding. The set budget for the development has risen to £1.3 mil from £1mil. Williams also confirmed that the designs have already been drawn up by the Council’s architects and that it will be going out to tender shortly to decide who will do the building.

A protest was held on Saturday 15th February in opposition to the ‘obscene’ decision.

Work is likely to commence in the Spring.