Mid Wales

Aberystwyth planning row student flats face demolition

Media captionThe owner has been given an enforcement notice but it is believed he will appeal

Flats housing up to 50 students in Aberystwyth face demolition because a council says they were built without correct planning permission.

Ceredigion council is demanding the flats are pulled down by June 2014.

Two blocks in Queen's Road, known as Ty Newydd and an extension to the Boar's Head Hotel flats, are facing demolition said the authority.

The owner has been given enforcement notices and it is thought he will appeal. He has been asked to comment.

Students are believed to have moved into the flats last year.

The council said Ty Newydd was issued with an enforcement notice in 2011 because it had not been built in "accordance with the plans".

The authority took the owner to court last week because the building had not been pulled down, but the case was adjourned for a month.

Two retrospective planning applications for the extension to the Boar's Head Hotel flats had been refused so that too had been issued with an enforcement notice, said the council.

A spokesman said the owner had planning permission for a set of drawings but the flats' extension "had not been built in accordance with the approved plans".

"The authority contend that the only resolution for the lack of planning permission for the unauthorised buildings is the total demolition of the building and that lesser steps would not overcome the planning objections to the building as built," said a council spokeswoman.

The council said the flats' owner, local businessman Geraint Dafis, originally had to demolish the Boar's Head extension within six months from the notice taking effect on 19 June.

But after receiving a number of calls from tenants it said it would postpone any demolition of the flats until the end of the summer term in 2014.

'Stressful period'

"The council has received a number calls from concerned students/tenants and their parents due to the ongoing planning enforcement action that the council is taking against the landowner, Mr Geraint Dafis," added the council.

"The council is committed to pursuing the enforcement action, however, it is very sympathetic to the difficult position in which the tenants now find themselves.

"Therefore, the council will take a common sense approach to the enforcement action and not seek to impose a timescale for demolition.

"If Mr Dafis appeals the planning refusal and the enforcement notice, the council won't receive a decision on those appeals until the end of 2013."

Laura Dickens, welfare officer at Aberystwyth Students' Union, said the union and the flats' tenants had a meeting with Mr Dafis on 14 May.

"Mr Dafis said at the meeting that he intends to appeal against the enforcement notice," said Ms Dickens.

"We're pleased the council has agreed to delay the demolition until June 2014.

"Everything has happened so quickly and it's quite difficult time for the students as they are in the middle of their exams. They say it's good quality accommodation but it's a stressful period for them."

Ms Dickens said she thought the flats housed between 35 and 50 students.

A lack of student accommodation has been an issue for Aberystwyth University in recent years.

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