I recently read a Ceredigion County Council report on the Aberystwyth Regeneration Area which is to be presented to Council Cabinet on the 21st February. This gives authority for Council officers to proceed with identified regeneration projects – one of which is the long-overdue redevelopment of the Promenade’s former Bay Hotel (Grade II listed) and the land to the rear which is currently the Bath Street Car Park.
It goes without saying that Aber’s Victorian Promenade should be the ‘shop window’ of our town and I’m sure everyone will welcome that steps are now being taken which have the potential to reinvigorate the area and stimulate the local economy. It’s good news that the report highlights the need for a high quality mixed use scheme which responds to the unique historic character of the site, as well as supporting the tourism economy of the town; in other words, something which properly fits in with Aber.
Any future scheme will be tied in with the Welsh Government’s Regeneration Area funding of £10.2 million and prospective developers will also have to adhere to the principles set out in the Aberystwyth Masterplan of 2007. Mention of the Masterplan will no doubt remind regular readers of how two years ago the ambiguity surrounding regeneration proposals for Chalybeate Street caused a great deal of angst and uncertainty. Similarly in 2010, there were also concerns that the Promenade’s new motorcycle corral (located opposite the Bandstand), was passed by Cabinet with inadequate consultation. Whatever type of development is eventually chosen for the site of the ‘Bay Hotel’, I sincerely hope that the local authority will learn from the mistakes of the past and will ensure that as well as the required stakeholder consultation process, we see clarity and accountability from our elected representatives on these matters.