University and local businesses clash over the implications of Fferm Penglais

FFERM Penglais was opened in January 2015, following a delay, and boasts the very latest in purpose-built en-suite student accommodation. However, the Aberystwyth Chamber of Commerce has warned businesses could close if student spending became focused on the campus.

Alex Tanton

Alex Tanton

Aberystwyth Chamber of Commerce chairman Chris Mackenzie-Grieve said:

“You can see by the amount of vacant properties in town now, whereas town before had no vacant properties. So those students are not in town, they’re up the hill and what’s the incentive for them to come down? They’re building a lot more facilities up there, not just accommodation facilities but also shopping facilities etc. so it becomes much more campus orientated”.

The University countered by saying it had no plans to develop shopping facilities on campus however. Although quite a large portion of students live on campus or on top of Penglais Hill in the surrounding areas (with Fferm Penglais being set to attract even more students), a University spokesman added that around half of the student population lived in private accommodation in town and many of the other halls of residence were also located in town along the sea front.

Pro Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University, Rebecca Davies, has expressed her delight at the developments at Fferm Penglais, which she claims offers some of the best student accommodation available anywhere in the UK. She also highlighted the University’s other on-going investments:

“The University is investing over £100m in new facilities, £45m in new student accommodation, over £8m in learning and teaching facilities, £40.5m in a new innovation and enterprise campus at Gogerddan and up to £20m in breathing new life into the Old College. These investments will mean that the University is well placed to compete in an increasingly competitive student market, where the student experience is paramount.”