A new assault on Pen-yr-anchor

by The Curious Scribbler

Two years ago I was among many shocked by the appearance of the first residential block on the site where the ill-fated Plas Morolwg formerly stood. That build is now complete and the  massive and unattractive ramparts of Maes y Mor now tower above the road to Tanybwlch beach.

Many people felt that  planners displayed a distinct lack of aesthetic sense in approving this development overlooking our pretty harbour. Now, it seems that opportunist developers Ellis D&B Ltd have concluded that this part of Aberystwyth is a taste-free zone, and provides the perfect opportunity to cram in a yet taller tower block, this one to house six rather expensive apartments.

A montage of the end view of the proposed building, with Alltwen beyond.

I am always intrigued by the tricks of the planning application.  This building is described as six storey, which would already make it the tallest building in Aberystwyth, but if you look at the plans it actually has eight floors!  it is topped by an entirely unnecessary roofed ‘amenity area’, and, owing to the sloping site, the occupants would enter the building from Penyranchor on the second floor!  Most people would think it an eight storey development.

Another quirk is the ‘two bedroomed apartment’ description.  It is probably true that there is a need for more accommodation of this size.  However look at the floor plans! Most people would consider them three-bed flats.  The third ‘bedroom’ is designated an office! Two bathrooms seems quite lavish.

The timing of the application is understandable,  for the new structure will block the view out from balconies of the new Maes y Mor flats and would generate shrieks of objection from the 56 new owners, were they already installed.   There isn’t much about the visual impact in this application except for one elevation plan.  Look closely –  the proposed building gazes straight into the windows of Maes y Mor, and is level with its roof.

It will also tower oppressively above the established owners of the flats in Y Lanfa and St David’s Wharf.

Just room for a tower block? In the space between Y Lanfa, St David’s Wharf and the new residential block on the Plas Morolwg site.

The Ceredigion planning portal is filling up with letters of objection, many of them from the residents of Y Lanfa and St David’s Wharf.  It is intriguing that the residents hold 999 year leases to areas where they park, but which are included in the land subject to this development.  The Applicant states Certificate of Ownership – Certificate A – Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (Wales) Order 2012   I certify/the applicant certifies that on the day 21 days before the date of this application nobody except myself/the applicant was the owner (owner is a person with a freehold interest or leasehold interest with at least seven years left to run) of any part of the land or building to which the application relates.

It might be hoped that this alone would be grounds to refuse Planning Permission, but wider public opinion is very important.   I am told that the yellow planning notice (Application A210143 Residential development comprising 6×2-bedroom self-contained apartments) only appeared a few days before the closing date for comments, but that actually these can be submitted until 28 May.  The view towards Pendinas from across the harbour, and indeed the visual appearance of the balconied front of this development are entirely overlooked in the application.

Several commentators have also remarked on the cosmetic appearance on the plan of three green circles, representing trees to enhance this development.  This is an interesting idea, and I wonder very much what sort of trees they have in mind.  The garden of Windover on Penyranchor has a hedge of beech trees, approaching 80 years of age, wind burnt, sloping away from the westerlies, and not more than 15 feet tall after all these years. Valerian, Thrift and Sea Campion thrive on this thin soiled site.  Both trees and an eight storey apartment block would be aliens here.


I have just read the comments submitted by Neil Gale.on the Planning design and Access Statement.   This apparently reads:

7.11 “Considering any visual prominence the land is only able to be seen from locations to the west which are limited to the lower section of Aberystwyth Marina/ end of South Marine Terrace Road, neither of which constitute protected view points”

How far from the truth!  Mr Gale supplied a recent photo from the Castle Grounds:  An eight story apartment block springing up in the centre of this view would break the only unifying character of the developments here, which is that each building is, in relative propertion, long and low(ish).

The view of Maes y Mor from the Castle Grounds.  Photo: Neil Gale


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7 thoughts on “A new assault on Pen-yr-anchor

  1. I’m told that Ceredigion planners are always happy to trample on Aberystwyth. Surely a mendacious rumour … surely???

  2. Thanks for drawing attention to this.
    Please look also at devastation of green area around old tax office/Plascrug Avenue. Could it be by the same developer? Not green but greed.

  3. They have already destroyed the character of the harbour (and town) The views around the harbour are already ruined by Maes y Mor and the addition of this monstrosity fills a gap in the ghastly project. Hopefully they will all slide into the mud they are built on ….

  4. If you stand harbourside by the lifeboat station you cannot see Pen Dinas at all.
    Aberystwyth has four iconic hills standing guard over our town.
    Penglais is covered in buildings; the National Library containing centuries of knowledge, NHS hospital, Bronglais caring for us and the university nurturing scholars of the future.
    Constitution Hill lures visitors to take in the views of the town accessible to all thanks to the historic railway. Mercifully it seems to have escaped the short term thrill seeking zip wire it was recently threatened with.
    Allt Wen due to it’s position and steepness has so far escaped pillage and plunder.
    But poor old Pen Dinas, our chief guardian with it’s iron age fort is ravaged beyond recognition simply by greed. Bad taste bungaloids creeping steadily up wards, with their thatched wishing wells and bright pink rhododendrons clashing hideously with the glorious gorse as well as threatening the diverse and unique wildlife of this very special place. Now this new monstrosity wrecking the subtle curves and outline of this beautiful hill. Enough already!

    • The Planning (sic) Department is a little like a sociopath who gains confidence after getting away with his first crime and repeats his offences, escalating with each successful attack until stopped.
      Having got away with building the original Prison Block on Lavins Farm “Planning” feel emboldened to rubber stamp ugly designs for the remaining landscape the more extreme the better.
      Worse still people seem to accept that there is nothing to be done to stop the madness.

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