Mid Wales

Aberystwyth superstore plans approved by Ceredigion council

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Media captionCeredigion council says around 300 jobs could be created by Tesco and Marks & Spencer

Controversial plans for two superstores in Aberystwyth that could lead to a grandmother losing her home have been approved by councillors.

Tesco and Marks & Spencer stores are part of a development in the town that is claimed could create 290 jobs.

But 12 homes in neighbouring Glyndwr Road face demolition under the proposals, with Enid Jones, 57, the only resident refusing to sell.

The plans were approved by Ceredigion's planning committee by 19 votes to one.

In a separate decision-making process, the council has already voted to issue a compulsory purchase order for Mrs Jones's home but the final decision about whether to demolish it will be made by the Welsh government.

The shopping development is earmarked for the council-owned Mill Street car park. Included in the application are the two stores, eight flats and a 555-space car park.

As part of the plans a number of buildings would have to be demolished, including a day centre, the 12 homes in Glyndwr Road, a nearby drill hall and a disused garage.

Image caption Enid Jones has refused to sell her home

The two superstores could open by December 2016, the council has said, and it says the development will boost town centre trade by between £1.6m and £3.5m a year.

After the decision, council leader Ellen ap Gwynn said: "Now that the statutory process has been completed, work on the Mill Street development can begin in earnest.

"It will play a huge part in realising the council's priority of making Aberystwyth a more vibrant and prosperous place to live, work and visit.

"In the current economic climate the commitment shown by Tesco and Marks & Spencer is a big boost to our efforts in bringing about the kind of economic development that will allow Aberystwyth to thrive in the years ahead."

A council report had said the two retail stores were looking to employ 295 full-time equivalent jobs, generating around £2.95m in wages for the local economy.

Members of Ceredigion council's development control committee visited the Mill Street site before Wednesday's meeting.

Backing the development, the committee authorised the head of lifestyle services to approve the application subject to legal and financial discussions with the developer.

The council has received 71 objections to the project.

Enid Jones's sister Bethan Bebb said her family were resigned to the development going ahead but Mrs Jones was still opposed to it and refused to sell her home.

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