The deputy leader of Ceredigion County Council has defended the installation of ‘monstrous’ new streetlights on Aberystwyth promenade in place of their old Victorian-style predecessors.

Morfa a Glais town and county councillor Alun Williams (Plaid Cymru) says the new lamp posts are “good use of taxpayers’ money” and are better for the environment.

But the new grey streetlights, made from recycled aluminium, have prompted condemnation from many residents on social media – with one user branding them ‘characterless’ and another comparing them to those you’d see on a motorway.

Which do you prefer?
Which lamp posts do you prefer? (Cambrian News)

Liberal Democrat town councillor Mair Benjamin said they were an ‘eyesore’ and a ‘monstrosity’ and were out of keeping with the character of the iconic Victorian promenade.­

The council said in March the street lighting equipment along the promenade was nearing ‘the end of its operational life’ and decided the complete system needed to be replaced.

Cllr Williams, who is also the county council's deputy leader, told the Cambrian News: “They are made of recycled aluminium and will last a lot longer than the previous columns.

“It was obvious to everyone the previous columns were rusting and getting to the stage where they were going to present a potential hazard to people – as bits dropped off.

“The message is the Victorian columns did look nice but were seriously rusting – and it was the ornate bits that caused most of the rusting problems.

“The new ones have no screws or holes for water to get into and cause rusting and so will last a lot longer.

“So, in terms of taxpayers’ money, it’s a much better deal. The lights themselves are going to be LED lights – so in terms of environmental sustainability, they’re much, much better.”

Confusion remains about the nature of an online consultation concerning the streetlights – which Cllr Williams said would only be about the bulbs used and not whether the old columns would return.

He also was unable to provide information on the costs of the new streetlighting. Works have been on-going on the promenade for months, including the uprooting of wiring which has caused minor disruption.

It is also unclear whether the remaining Victorian-style lights, adjacent to the old college building, would also be replaced with the modern grey alternatives.

Cllr Benjamin said: “They promised us they would be putting the old columns back in. We thought they’d only be temporary.

“People are passing their comments about it now. We’d be losing our culture and heritage of the promenade – as they’re out of keeping with the architecture.

“They’re changing the look of our promenade from its period to modern – and once you start losing that history you lose the heritage.

“That’s why people come here! We will lose the whole look of Aberystwyth.

“What they’ve pulled down they need to put back. I realise this isn’t part of my ward, but residents are coming to me because they know I voice my opinions.”

Funding from the UK Government’s so-called Levelling Up initiative is set to be used by the council to replace lighting and improve active travel connectivity between the promenade and the harbour.

A county council spokesperson said: "The street lighting columns for the promenade in Aberystwyth are manufactured from recycled Aluminium which has been chosen due to its natural corrosion resistant characteristics. This provides a fitting solution for a coastal environment with high corrosion potential, which severely affected the previous columns along the promenade. The resistance to deterioration reduces maintenance costs and extends the design life of the column to 50 years.

"These columns are permanent, but the lanterns are temporary, and are the same lanterns that were erected when the previous lanterns were removed on safety grounds over two years ago.

"As indicated previously, the council intends consulting with stakeholders in relation to the design of the permanent lanterns, which will need to be fit for purpose and reflective of the coastal environment."