Aberystwyth University wants to use a building it owns on King Street as a substation to serve the newly developed Old College after fire officers identified a fire risk with the current substation in the listed building’s basement but objectors have warned the plans will put near neighbours in danger.

As the Old College development continues, the university has applied to Ceredigion County Council to place a new substation at Y Bwthyn, but the move has been heavily criticised by Aberystwyth Town Council.

The town council said there had been a “lack of meaningful consultation” over the plans, which it said presented a “fire and explosion risk to nearby properties.”

Town councillors said there are “safer, more suitable alternative sites available” including the crazy golf site or the grounds of St Michael’s Church.

The council said there was “clear opposition from the public and neighbours” over the plan and that the building – which was once the site of the Citizens Advice Bureau – could be developed and used better without losing a “potential residential or commercial space” in the town.

One neighbour objection said: “The university has been unable to adequately maintain Y Bwthyn, the Old College and the buildings in Laura Place for some years.

“Third-party development of the former university-owned buildings in Laura Place into residential accommodation has been extremely successful.

“When the university does relinquish under-utilised buildings in prime locations they can be quickly made into high quality and useful space.”

Planning documents for the university said: “The substation is required to facilitate the redevelopment of the Old College, as approved, and it is currently located within the basement of the Old College.”

“However, it is proposed to re-locate the substation to an alternative location due to fire safety.

“The fire officer will not accept a new substation within the basement of the Old College; therefore, the fire strategy requires an amendment whereby a new substation is re-located to an alternative location above ground to remove and mitigate any fire risk.

“Due to site constraints, it is necessary to find an alternative location off-site, albeit within close proximity to the redevelopment of the Old College.

“Accordingly, the adjacent Bwthyn building is considered to be the optimal location from a visual impact and operational perspective.

“It is also within the ownership of the University which means there are no land ownership constraints to delivering the alternative strategy.”