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Aberystwyth’s ‘eyesore’ flats plans approved 

Ceredigion County Council's offices at Penmorfa

CEREDIGION planners have backed a scheme for an “eyesore” seven-storey block of flats at Aberystwyth’s marina, deferred last month after nearby landslip concerns were raised.

The plans for five two-bedroomed self-contained apartments, made by Mr J Ellis-Jones, were recommended for approval at the February 14 meeting of Ceredigion County Council’s development management committee, despite a long string of objections, including the town council.

The application, which includes one affordable housing unit, was previously heard at the committee’s January meeting, also recommended for approval, but was deferred for a site visit after concerns were raised following a nearby landslide last November.

A previous related application – for six flats – was refused in September 2021 and Aberystwyth Town Council has stated it strongly objects to the latest 19.7m-high development, and 54 objections to the scheme have also been received.

A report for planners has said the site lies within the defined settlement boundary of Aberystwyth; the total requirement for housing delivery within the town as set out in the Local Development Plan is 1,877, with only 647 completed in the Urban Service Centre, leaving “capacity for a further 1,071 dwellings in Aberystwyth”.

Following the Site Inspection Panel site visit, members at the February meeting heard the applicant’s agent had said a “stringent assessment will be undertaken to ensure the application site will not be at risk of destabilisation”.

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Local member, Cllr Endaf Edwards called for the application to be refused, or to include a condition of a review of the land, regarding potential landslides, if approved.

Cllr Meirion Davies, who attended the site inspection panel, said the November landslide had occurred outside the application site, adding he was “quite supportive” of the scheme.

Cllr Rhodri Evans said he was happy to support the recommendation of approval, saying: “Everything I have read is all positive.”

He added: “If we turn this down will the Welsh Government agree with it if it goes to appeal? And the cost will go to the council.”

The application was overwhelmingly approved by committee members.

Objectors have labelled the scheme a “giant carbuncle” and “eyesore,” raising a long string of concerns including its height, at just under 65 feet; a claimed lack of need for “luxury unaffordable flats”; “too much housing development going on in the immediate area”; “the proposed development being out-of-keeping with the immediate area”; “a loss of amenity and privacy issues to adjoining buildings”; and being “an over-development”.

Speaking at last month’s meeting, objector Jason Evans said the “narrow and tall” flats would be “incongruous” and “an alien structure in a consistent street scene” that would dissuade existing residents from using a nearby amenity space, saying the application would “provide for the few, to the detriment of the many”.

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