Chain stores are turning Aber into an identikit town

By Cambrian News in


I was very saddened to hear of the closure of MG’s café in Aberystwyth. This is a major loss to the town and for each closure of this nature Aberystwyth becomes less.

The addition of corporate chains to Great Darkgate Street is turning Aberystwyth into an identikit town, A N Other town that could be anywhere. It is losing its uniqueness, its tourist appeal and, what’s more, it is losing its local business and enterprise.

Local business supports local business, Will Subway buy its meat from Rob Rattray? Will Greggs buy their sausage rolls from Y Popty? Will Costa buy their cakes from Slaters? Of course not. They are national chains. Just like Starbucks or Caffe Nero, they buy nationally.

Local cafés buy produce locally and the local economy grows, a fact local councillors seem to ignore. They are quite happy to make Aberystwyth look like the centre of Cardiff.

I went on holiday to the Lake District recently. While there I did not look for the Costas or Starbucks. No, I wanted the local café that made home-cooked breakfasts, locally sourced; the cream teas with a local flavour; the pubs providing locally sourced meals. I can go to chain establishments anywhere.

When I’m on holiday or visiting, I want a local experience. Aberystwyth is a tourist town. What are we giving to visitors that tells them of the unique experience of visiting Aberystwyth?

I was a regular user of MG’s, as also I am of Lilly’s or Caesars. I buy my sausage rolls from Y Popty and a stuffed pork roll from Morgan’s. It is up to us as a town to support these wonderful local businesses and encourage them to grow.

It is the job of the town council to encourage local business, but no, let’s knock down a day centre for the elderly and vulnerable and build a giant monstrosity in its place so we can no longer even see the first settlement site at Pen Dinas as we drive into town.

And let’s build right by it a “cafe quarter”. In that way we can ensure the centre of town dies, people will not need to go there and, oh yes, let’s get another pizza company in because that is just what we need.

While I was in Ambleside I did note a new shopping centre had been built, a small, modest affair, single-storey, five or six shops, tied in to the local look of the place, very tasteful.

What we get is a hideous building that looks nothing like anything that is around it, along with a traffic system that is ridiculous and causes more misery for the driver.

What used to be two lanes is now down to one, but hints it may be two to catch the unwary driver out. As far as I can see, the council would not know a traffic congestion easing system if it bit them. I have never known a place where so much money is spent changing things to look exactly the same.

Yours etc,

Marc Perry, Llanafan.

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Tim Jobs · 226 days ago · Report

What about Tesco? It has brought an abundance of jobs here, but it is also killing little businesses. What's more important, jobs or local businesses? I know what I think about that.

Edward Thomas · 226 days ago · Report

I know people hate Starbucks and costa coffee and stuff but It's awkward going into local coffee shops where you feel like an outsider coming into someone else's house or something, it's for old people. That other guy was right, this is an arty town, people come here for art and comedy music, that's what should be promoted for tourists in my opinion.

C.J · 226 days ago · Report

Buskers the real ornament and attraction to this town. I have heard people say "This is why Aber is awesome." While huddled around a busking duo in the town centre one cold evening. Buskers are grafting to earn a living as much as anyone else, it takes years of practice and a lot of guts and energy to get out in those cold streets just to bring a song to people's hearts and create a sense of character in Aberystwyth.

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