In August last year, the Cambrian News ran a special report entitled Dirty Old Town, looking at the state of Aberystwyth and calling out what needs to be fixed and improved.

One year on, we retraced our steps around the town centre to discover not only that nothing had changed, but it had in fact gotten worse.

Last summer, Aber was labelled the ‘dirtiest town in Wales’ by visitors who bemoaned the state of the town.

So what’s changed?

With the sun shining on Wednesday, 16 August at the height of the tourist season, the town centre was bustling, full of visitors.

Dirty Old Town August 2023 Castle Bridge
Still waiting: One of the wooden bridges at the castle has been cordoned off for a year. And now the second bridge is also closed (Cambrian News)

Walking up Great Darkgate Street, scaffolding outside the Betfred bookkeepers and former Clinton Cards stores is still up, with rubbish and weeds growing on the pavement of Aberystwyth’s main shopping street.

Litter is also strewn around the benches near the town’s clock tower and across the top end of Great Darkgate Street near the market hall.

Heading up to the castle grounds, which was as usual packed with people, it is a lot harder to explore the ruins as both bridges have now been cordoned off.

Large metal fences have been placed around both bridges with no signs of any repair work taking place over the past 12 months.

Penparcau county councillor Carl Worrall said: “Other towns seem to look after their castles.”

“This repair work should be a priority – Aberystwyth castle is one of if not the oldest castles in the region and is a major attraction in the town,” he told the Cambrian News.

“It also has the town’s war memorial. It needs to be fixed.”

But there’s a lot more that needs fixing too.

The same can be seen on the town’s wooden jetty, next to the former paddling pool, which is now a seating area and sandpit.

The sandpit was however busy and people were sat on the numerous giant deckchairs scattered along the promenade.

When asked in 2022 why no work had been done to repair both the bridge and jetty, Ceredigion County Council said: “One of the wooden bridges at Aberystwyth castle and the wooden jetty from the promenade have been closed due to safety concerns.

Dirty Old Town August 2023 Jetty
Then and now: The wooden jetty on North Beach (Cambrian News)

“Other means of accessing the areas linked by the bridge at the castle have remained available throughout.

“Work is ongoing with a view of identifying funding to undertake repair/replacement work to this infrastructure.”

Since then, the second bridge has fallen into a state of disrepair and been cordoned off, with no signs of work taking place.

On the wooden jetty, Cllr Worrall added: “I do understand the council’s stance. The jetty was built for boat owners to run trips into Cardigan Bay but they didn’t use it.

“I would say though, if it is not going to be used, take it down.

“Kids and young adults will still climb onto the jetty, even if it is fenced off from the prom. Instead of having barriers, take it down – it’s an accident waiting to happen.”

Estimates for repairing the jetty are high and without boat operators coming forward to use it, the council cannot justify spending limited budgets on it at the current time.

Ceredigion County Council

In June this year, when asked about the continued closure of the wooden jetty, Ceredigion council said it was exploring funding avenues.

However, that appears to have been fruitless, with Ceredigion County Council telling the Cambrian News this week that it was too expensive to fix.

A council spokesperson said: “There are no current plans to repair the jetty.

“Estimates for repairing the jetty are high and without boat operators coming forward to use it, the council cannot justify spending limited budgets on it at the current time.”

On the damaged bridges in the castle grounds, the council added: “We are currently seeking detailed quotes for the repair of bridges in the castle and will consider budget availability once complete.”

What do you think of the state of Aberystwyth? Share your thoughts by emailing [email protected]