Welsh Government backs compulsory purchase order for Mill Street development

THE WELSH Government has approved the Compulsory Purchase Order made by Ceredigion County Council to enable the new development plans for Mill Street, Aberystwyth.

Enid Jones

Enid Jones

The development, which includes Tesco and Marks & Spencer stores along with a 550-space car park, will bring significant benefits to Aberystwyth and north Ceredigion, including the creation of 280 full-time equivalent jobs.

One of the twelve homes which faces demolition under the proposals is owned by Enid Jones, 57, the only resident who refused to sell their property. The council voted to issue a compulsory purchase order for her home last year for approval by the Welsh Government.

A public inquiry was subsequently held to determine whether the order could be issued on Mrs Jones’ home. The inspector’s report was submitted to the Minister for Housing and Regeneration Carl Sargeant in May, and has now been approved.

Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council, said: “The Council has fully respected Mrs Enid Jones’s stance from the outset, but our ultimate priority is to develop our economy to secure a viable future for the young people of the county. The confirmation provided by Welsh Government will enable us now to proceed in earnest in realising this exciting development.”

Previously, the 58-year-old had said: “It’s not a house it’s a home. I’m settled down here now and I really don’t want to move.”

The decision means Mrs Jones’ will be forced to leave her property in Glyndwr Road to allow the development to proceed. Ceredigion council approved planning permission for the project in November of last year.

Development plans

For the development, the land around Mill Street will be demolished, including Park Avenue Day Centre, the Drill Hall and the old Lucas Depot, in addition to houses in Glyndwr Road.

Other concerns raised by the public included the loss of trees, the demolition of the Day Centre, vehicle movements, flooding, and the loss of disabled parking bays and noise during construction for Riverside Terrace residents. Councillors also raised concerns about increased HGV traffic, especially over Trefechan Bridge. However, the traffic element has already been approved by the Welsh Government and their highways engineers, revealed Richard Duggan, the planning officer. He also revealed that Natural Resources Wales were satisfied the development would not increase the risk of flooding, saying “we can’t go against expert advice that says we can approve this”.

The development is set to go ahead under several conditions, including:

  • Road improvements around the town
  • £170,000 towards improved signage and pedestrian areas
  • £15,000 grant to Coed Aber (which is planting trees to line Park Avenue), and
  • A grant to the local bus services for five years after the project is complete (meaning two buses an hour will stop there)

Ceredigion Council has previously stated that the development could be open by December 2016.

Mill Street

The Mill Street development showing the new Tesco and M&S stores