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‘Eyesore’ flats plans recommended for approval following site visit

Ceredigion County Council

CEREDIGION planners are recommended to approve a scheme for an “eyesore” seven-storey block of flats at Aberystwyth’s marina, deferred last month for a site visit to take place.

The plans for five two-bedroomed self-contained apartments, made by Mr J Ellis-Jones, are 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 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 recent nearby landslide.

The scheme, which includes one affordable housing unit, is expected to be backed if a Section 106 legal agreement for the affordable unit in the block was made.

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.

The application was referred to the January committee at the request of the local councillor Endaf Edwards, raising issues similar to the objectors.

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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”.

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”.

He raised the issue of a nearby landslide in November 2023, which happened just before the report for planners was made, saying it was unfair to call on members to make a decision without a site report.

Speaking on behalf of the applicants, agent Geraint John said the scheme was “highly sustainable and accessible,” and would have no impact on existing buildings.

He said, following the previous refusal, the latest scheme was nine metres lower, and there were no material objections to it.

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”.

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