Mid Wales

109-year-old Drill Hall at risk from Aberystwyth stores scheme

Aberystwyth drill hall
Image caption The drill hall in Glyndwr Road is near 12 homes which are also earmarked for demolition as part of the shopping development

Plans to demolish a 109-year-old hall to make way for two superstores in Aberystwyth have met with opposition.

The Drill Hall in Glyndwr Road is near 12 homes which are also earmarked to be pulled down as part of the development.

Glyndwr Road was in the headlines last month when Ceredigion council backed the use of a compulsory purchase order to force a woman to move from her home.

The authority owns the hall and said it was planned for demolition as part of the shopping project.

Town councillor Mair Benjamin, who wants the hall kept open as a community resource, said until now the future of the hall had been unclear.

A Tesco supermarket and a Marks and Spencer store are planned for the Ceredigion council-owned Mill Street car park adjacent to Glyndwr Road.

About 280 jobs would be created with both Tesco and M&S hoping to open their shops by December 2016.

The council claims the development will boost town centre trade by between £1.6m and £3.5m a year.

But grandmother Enid Jones is the only Glyndwr Road resident refusing to sell her home.

The final decision about whether her property should be demolished will be made by the Welsh government.

Councillor Benjamin and World War II veteran Iori Lewis, who trained at the Drill Hall as a soldier, said it should be saved.

Vintage clothes

"Thousands of soldiers have been through the hall, including me," said Mr Lewis, who retired after 18 years as Aberystwyth's Royal British Legion branch president last November.

"I trained there as part of the Royal Artillery doing gun drills. It's a very historic and iconic building and should be listed. It certainly shouldn't be pulled down."

Ms Benjamin said it should be used by the community.

"I am not against the regeneration of Aberystwyth but the Drill Hall shouldn't be demolished. It has got a lot of a potential and would be an ideal space for the community," she said.

"You can have the regeneration but keep the hall as a community resource and build the shopping development around it."

Ceredigion council said: "The drill hall has been earmarked for demolition as part of the Mill Street car park development proposal."

The building had been used to store a huge collection of vintage clothes belonging to Ceredigion Museum until recently.

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