Controversial plans for a shopping centre on the site of the old Aberystwyth sorting office are currently being revised so that they can be put before planning officials it has been confirmed.
The revised plans look to redevelop the 35,000 square feet of space left behind by the Royal Mail, after the sorting offce was relocated.
This is the last significant space left in the town centre, and it is hoped that plans will breathe some much needed life into the local economy.
The original plans ran into a significant amount of trouble when they were extended to the compulsory purchase of local shops and businesses in Chalybeate Street.
A large amount of local opposition, from businesses and local people including a wide scale petition (which I am happy to say I signed) saw the project stall, after it was refused partial funding from the Welsh Assembly Government.
The new scaled back plans have been supported by the Aberystwyth Chamber of Commerce, and developers have attempted to reassure local people that the bigger businesses who had expressed interest in the scheme wanted shop fronts on Great Darkgate Street, the towns main street, which is occupied by a number of national rather than local businesses.
A multi storey car park is also planned on the site of Mill Street car park, although this is deemed to be useless without the shopping centre itself.
However, it is still feared that introduction of big business may have a negative impact on some of the local shops in and around the town, which may force them to close. It is argued, quite rightly, that it is these local businesses that are the heart and sole of the town, and make Aberystwyth the place that it is, unlike most other mono towns found elsewhere in the UK with identical highstreets and shop windows.
Although regeneration and economic stimulus is needed in Aberysrtwyth, should we really be sacrificing the sole of the town to achieve it?
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