ABERYSTWYTH Town Council has dismissed criticism that instead of spending £600,000 on new offices it could have used available desk space at Canolfan Rheidol.

Llanrhystud resident and former county council candidate David Inshaw questioned why Aberystwyth Town Council purchased ‘derelict’ offices in November 2020 for £360,000 when the unused council or Welsh Government offices could be used for its staff – given there are nearly 500 empty desks.

The council agreed late last year to spend a further £240,000 on the restoration of the presbytery of the former St Winefride’s Church building.

Last month, the first set of plans for the renovation, which will include forming new offices, installing PV offices, PV panels and changing windows to double glazed sash windows, were approved by Ceredigion County Council officers under delegated powers.

But newly appointed Aberystwyth mayor Kerry Ferguson defended the purchase and the costly renovation – but did not comment directly about the empty space at Canolfan Rheidol.

She said: “To clarify, Aberystwyth Town Council has not spent £600,000 on new offices. We have purchased a building within Aberystwyth Town Council boundaries for £360,000, which will be restored and redeveloped for community use, with an added benefit of us also having office space within that.

“The office space we will develop at the new site will mean a reduction in monthly rental costs that are currently paid, however the rest of the site will be available for community use, and hire, including a venue, community kitchen and more.”

The Cambrian News has contacted the town council clerk for a response from the authority.