Page last updated at 15:12 GMT, Monday, 24 January 2011
Fuel poverty hits one in five homes in Aberystwyth
There are 107 long-term empty houses in Aberystwyth

A proposed Aberystwyth-based project aims to tackle the problem that one in five households in the town are below the fuel poverty line.

Ceredigion Council has submitted a £500,000 grant bid to the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) to create the Aberystwyth Renewal Area initiative.

The proposal is seen as being key to addressing poor housing in the town.

Open days for residents to express their views are held on Monday 24 January and the following day.

A lot of people in the town live in social housing with poor insulation and can spend between £40 and £50 a week on fuel
Aberystwyth Citizen's Advice

The council's statistics also reveal that 18.7 per cent of the town's 6,236 homes are suffering from the top level of hazard which links the risk of ill-health and injury with housing conditions.

Their research shows that 5.7 per cent of the town's houses are too cold, under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System.

Empty houses

If the council's bid to WAG is successful it will be the third Renewal Area in Ceredigion.

Cardigan and the Tregaron area have received £6.8m of WAG funding for similar projects since 2004.

If approved, the project would target renovation projects in the town's main residential streets, such as Bridge Street, Pier Street, and Marine Terrace.

The council would then apply to WAG for about £1m year-on-year until 2018 to complete the project.

There are 107 long-term empty houses in Aberystwyth, nearly three-quarters of them within the town centre.

A Ceredigion Council spokesman said the high percentage of vacant properties concentrated in such a small area had caused a reduction in the general maintenance of the properties and a deterioration in the area's appearance.


The spokesman added: "Assistance will be offered to owners of such properties to encourage the re-habitation of the properties, hence improving the visual impact of the centre of town."

Fuel poverty is defined as the need to spend over 10 per cent of household income on fuel costs to maintain adequate warmth for health and comfort.

At present, 21.2 per cent of Aberystwyth households are below this baseline.

The council spokesman said many houses in Aberystwyth were difficult to heat because a high proportion had been built before 1919.

A debt advice spokesman for Citizens Advice in Aberystwyth said: "Fuel poverty is a major issue in Aberystwyth because there are a lot of students living here and an ageing population.

"Many of the clients that I see have to put more than 20 per cent of their income towards their fuel bills.

"A lot of people in the town live in social housing with poor insulation and can spend between £40 and £50 a week on fuel."

Open days will be held for the public at Morlan, Queen's Road Aberystywth, on Monday 24 January 2011 until 2000 GMT and between 1000 GMT and 1600 GMT at the same venue on 25 January 2011.

According to Welsh Assembly Government statistics, in 2008 26 per cent of all Welsh households were estimated to be fuel poor.

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