Anger remains over Day Centre inadequacies

CEREDIGION County Council have been accused of failing the community in regards to the relocation of the Aberystwyth Day Centre from its previous site on Park Avenue to the basement of the old Town Hall building on Queen’s Square, below the town library.

Photo - Alex Tanton

Photo – Alex Tanton

A campaign to save the day centre remains popular, with many cars ‘tooting’ their horns as they drive by on Saturdays, showing their support.

Despite the council being offered a ‘like-for-like’ replacement to the Park Avenue building in the original tender for the Mill Street Development by developers Chelverton Deeley Freed, this offer was rejected and of the £1.2m allocated to build a new day centre, only £700k was spent on the day centre – the rest was spent on development of the town library.

The old day centre, which is intended to be demolished to make way for the new Mill Street Development, had capacity for 100 people, as well as a kitchen, garden and assisted bathing facilities. The new day centre has no kitchen and capacity for only 30 people. It has been branded “unfit for purpose” by members of the Save the Day Centre campaign, with the entrance ramp being described as “steep” and “dangerous”.

Furthermore, an Equality Impact Assessment in 2012 on moving the day centre from Park Avenue to the Town Hall found that “The lack of timely consultation with staff and service users was not conducive to fostering good relations.”

The council have stated that the reason for the move was “to improve the provision of day care centre services in Aberystwyth,” and that the close proximity of the day centre to the library will be a bonus, which will enable users of the day centre to use the library’s computer resources and archives.

With the Compulsory Purchase Order on the house of Enid Jones having been approved by the Welsh Government in July, the Mill Street development is now able to move ahead.

Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council, stated that:

“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.”

With construction of the Mill Street development originally intended to start in spring 2014, after planning permission was granted November 2013, it is anticipated that demolition of the Park Avenue day centre could occur any day now.