WE’VE all passed the construction site that appeared in mid-2014 on Mill Street, now surrounded by large walls and embellished with graffiti. As dreary as it may appear from the outside, the development is set to leave its mark on Aberystwyth’s economic fortunes.
This multi-million pound development scheme will include a 26,000 sq. ft. Marks & Spencer department store, with a food hall, and a 25,000 sq. metre Tesco Extra, as well as a 555-space decked car park.
The scheme is expected to create 290 jobs as well as adding around £3.5 million to the local economy per annum. A report presented to cabinet members of the Ceredigion County Council stated that “the local economy is currently facing a very challenging time and it is recognised that prosperous local business are the key to delivering economic growth”.
The development scheme has been a source of controversy in Aberystwyth, requiring the compulsory bulldozing of several homes and a day centre. Bulldozers knocked down the home of one Enid Jones, and the homes of 12 of her neighbours when they refused to sell under the purchase orders issued by the council.
Ceredigion Council’s comment on the situation is that:
“This development will enable the council’s long term strategic aim for the development of the Mill Street car park site to be realised […] The development comprises a high quality town centre retail led scheme which will make a significant contribution to the economic vitality of the town centre and create new jobs and provide significantly enhanced car parking provision.”
According to the report presented to the Council, the development is “progressing on schedule with completion of the project anticipated mid-autumn 2016”.
Alongside the Mill Street development, Aberystwyth is seeing other strategic developments including new housing, and the improvement of 148 properties.