Your headline (Why? Aldi want answers to snub, Cambrian News, 24 March) asks why the Aldi planning application to build a stand-alone supermarket on the old Kwick Save site in Park Avenue has been refused on call-in by the Welsh Government. I would suggest it is because Aldi’s planning advisors failed to modify their plans to take account of a changing situation especially in relation to climate change and flooding.
Having got permission for a store on the ground floor with an hotel above, despite the shortage of parking, in 2011 they have failed to adapt to changes in the Natural Resources Wales flood model predictions as a consequence of every subsequent year showing further evidence of climate change, not only globally but locally.
We have just come out of the winter gale season with some deciduous trees that have stood for 300 years being blown down. Now we are in a drought.
One year after Aldi first received planning permission for this site we had the flood that affected the Parc y Llyn retail park, Ystwyth Medical Centre, the Park Lodge Hotel and Blaendolau playing fields.When I came to Aberystwyth some 35 years ago Park Avenue was the “road to nowhere”. Large quantities of stone were brought in to enable the development of Parc y Llyn and its surroundings. Several sumps with one-way drainage valves were constructed but were unable to cope with the 2012 deluge.
We have at least two recently constructed buildings on Park Avenue where the ground floor is a car park to try to reduce the risk from flooding – Tesco and the development between the Football Ground and the Rheidol.
Aldi want their store on the ground floor. One feature that would reduce the flood risk would be for the car park to have a water permeable surface rather than the impervious surface proposed in this plan.
Another gesture towards mitigation of climate change would be to plant a number of trees around the site. At one time in the sad and sorry saga of this development a plan was produced that showed seven trees on the site. The final application shew but a single tree. I was told there was too much sub-soil infrastructure to plant more. Four were, however, planted outside of the hoarding around the site —possibly by the Town Council. The hoarding was subsequently moved to include these trees. Will they get chopped down if the development proceeds ?
I think Ceredigion County Council were very unwise to go against the clear recommendations of NRW. There was talk at one time of a Judicial Review, I think by Lidl, though I am not clear on the specific grounds. Given the Welsh Government Inspector’s recommendations and the Minister’s decision any attempt to proceed with the development without significant mitigation of the climatic impact might be difficult to justify in court.
Any building would be expected to have at least a 50-year life span. I think Aldi should go back to the drawing board.
David Kirby, Aberystwyth
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