A scheme to site industrial units at the former Calor Gas site on Aberystwyth’s Glanyrafon Industrial Estate has been backed by planners despite a recommendation for refusal.

At the December meeting of Ceredigion County Council’s development management committee, members were recommended to refuse an application by Meirion Ellis Jones of IMP Developments, to erect the two industrial units and trade counter at the Glanyrafon site.

A report for members said the proposal would allow the site to be utilised as a trade units, which has currently been redundant for the previous couple of years.

An area of concern, which led to the recommendation of refusal, was potential flood risks, with Natural Resources Wales raising concerns.

The report for planners stated: “In summary, the LPA acknowledge the benefit the proposal would bring, by re-developing brownfield land on an allocated site, both in a visual capacity and economic capacity.

Ceredigion planning
Councillors discussed the application on Wednesday (Ceredigon County Council webcast)

“The site is located to the most northern part of the industrial estate and is the first plot as you pass heading into the industrial estate. The vast emptiness on this site is unsightly, and a new building would likely improve the outlook and perception of the industrial estate.

“High quality units will be in-keeping with the area and landscaping provisions in the form of tree planting will aid the visual improvement and biodiversity benefit.

“In terms of economic benefit, the proposal demonstrates significant investment to the Aberystwyth area, by providing two new trade units, thus creating numerous jobs for locals. In turn this investment will provide further choice of business at the industrial estate or allow existing businesses to expand.

“However, flooding remains a concern, given the site is located within the C1 flood zone and more recently, floodzone 3, which is known as a high-risk flood area.”

Members heard the applicant had provided a flood assessment, using “the most up-to-date modelling data” from 2013, but NRW notes that in reality, the modelling data is not a true representation today and a ‘defended zone’ on-site “is deemed unlikely to provide a satisfactory level of protection given that the defence systems were constructed pre-2016”.

“The LPA acknowledge the complexity of the situation whereby the applicants have used the only and most up-to-date modelling data but NRW have raised that these figures have materially changed over the last 10 years. The LPA would deem re-calculation of the modelling data unreasonable, given the cost, time, and potential that other statutory bodies may not agree with findings.”

Members heard from the applicant’s agent the position of NRW was viewed as “overly cautious,” and to refuse for “precautionary and theoretical reasons” would be “overly cautious”.

Cllr Ifan Davies, supported by Cllr Maldwyn Lewis, moved the application be supported, against officer recommendations, saying there was a low risk at the already developed site.

Members backed supporting the application.