Page last updated at 16:44 GMT, Thursday, 9 April 2009 17:44 UK

Protest over shopping centre plan

The protest by Cadw Calon Aberystwyth
The protest by Cadw Calon Aberystwyth

Activists opposed to plans for a multimillion-pound shopping centre in Aberystwyth have staged a protest at a council meeting in the town.

About 70 members of action group Cadw Calon Aberystwyth/Save Aberystwyth's Heart handed over a petition and called for public consultation.

The development, which could include a Debenhams store, is earmarked for a large area of the town centre.

Ceredigion Council says it will ask the developer to start public consultation.

Councillors received a briefing about the plans from the council's regeneration unit in closed session.

Outside about 70 placard-waving protesters chanted demands for public consultation, and handed over a 2,100-signature petition to the council's deputy chief executive, Alun Lewis.

Emma Lloyd of Cadw Calon Aberystwyth said: "We're opposed to the new and extended plans which were not originally contained in the Aberystwyth masterplan."

'Concrete block'

The masterplan document details major developments in the town for the next 20 years.

"There's been no public consultation either. We realise regeneration is important, but it has to be sympathetic, sensitive and a quality development, not some nasty concrete block," added the campaigner.

Ceredigion Council said its regeneration unit had briefed councillors about meetings they had held with other parties about the development.

Councillor Eurfyl Evans said: "This morning's briefing session given to fellow county councillors from north Ceredigion went very well.

"I have asked my officers to invite the private sector developer to reassess all the options and to bring forward a development scheme recognising as much as possible the concerns which have been expressed.

"I am also going to ask for there to be public consultation on this scheme, to be undertaken by the private sector developer, before Ceredigion County Council can consider the value of any redevelopment scheme."

Up to 15 shops in Aberystwyth could be made subject of a compulsory purchase order under the shopping centre plans.

It is earmarked for an area between Chalybeate Street and Great Darkgate Street.

Some shopkeepers are unhappy and claim it will be devastating for the town.

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