Ceredigion planners are to visit the site of proposals for an “eyesore” seven-storey block of flats at Aberystwyth’s marina after concerns were raised about a recent nearby landslide.

The plans for five two-bedroomed self-contained apartments, made by Mr J Ellis-Jones, were recommended for approval at the January 17 meeting of Ceredigion County Council’s development management committee despite a long string of objections, including the town council.

The scheme, which included one affordable housing unit, was expected to be backed if a Section 106 legal agreement for the affordable unit was made.

Flats eyesore aberystwyth
The proposed site for the block of flats next to Aberystwyth harbour (Ceredigion County Council webcast)

A previous related application – for six flats – was refused in September 2021 and Aberystwyth Town Council has stated it strongly objects the latest 19.7m-high development, and 54 objections to the scheme had been received.

The application was referred to the January committee at the request of the local councillor Endaf Edwards, raising issues similar to the objectors.

A report for planners said the site lies within the defined settlement boundary of Aberystwyth; the total requirement for housing delivery within the town as set out in the Local Development Plan is 1,877, with only 647 completed in the Urban Service Centre, leaving “capacity for a further 1,071 dwellings in Aberystwyth”.

Speaking at the meeting, objector Jason Evans said the “narrow and tall” flats would be “incongruous” and “an alien structure in a consistent street scene” that would dissuade existing residents from using a nearby amenity space.

“Would you consider such a structure would not have an overbearing impact on your garden,” he asked planners, adding: “The application proposal will provide for the few, to the detriment of the many.”

The proposed site is near that of a landslide late last year

He raised the issue of a recent nearby landslide, which happened just before the report for planners was made, saying it was unfair to call on members to make a decision without a site report.

Speaking on behalf of the applicants, agent Geraint John said the scheme was “highly sustainable and accessible,” and would have no impact on existing buildings.

He said, following the previous refusal, the latest scheme was nine metres lower, and there were no material objections to it.

Local member, Cllr Endaf Edwards described the scheme as “a very debatable application, completely different to other buildings in the area”.

He said the November 2023 landslide, some five to 10 metres from the application site, meant further surveying was needed, if planners didn’t refuse the plans.

The landslip issue was also raised by Cllr Carl Worrall, who moved the council’s Site Inspection Panel undertake a site visit before any decision was made.

Objectors have labelled the scheme a “giant carbuncle” and “eyesore,” raising a long string of concerns including its height, at just under 65 feet; a claimed lack of need for “luxury unaffordable flats”; “too much housing development going on in the immediate area”; “the proposed development being out-of-keeping with the immediate area”; “a loss of amenity and privacy issues to adjoining buildings”; and being “an overdevelopment”.