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Consultation held for Innovation and Enterprise project

Plans discussed: The meeting at Penrhyncoch
Plans discussed: The meeting at Penrhyncoch

ABERYSTWYTH UNIVERSITY and AIEC Limited held a Community Consultation Event at Penrhyncoch Village Hall on Tuesday, October 18, as part of a 28-day consultation period on the draft planning application for Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus.

The event was an opportunity for any interested parties to learn more about the proposed improvements to the existing Gogerddan campus. It also provided the project team with helpful and informative feedback to assist with the preparation of the final planning application, to be submitted in late 2016.

Speaking on behalf of the Project Team, Huw Watkins, Project Director, commented: “We were really pleased to see so many people attend the event, and it shows that there’s a real interest in Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus. We received valuable feedback from local residents and business owners with a particular focus on highway improvements, and we’ll be working closely with Ceredigion County Council during the consultation period to try and find a solution that works for all stakeholders.”

Funded by the European Regional Development Fund, through the Welsh Government; the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and by Aberystwyth University, the Innovation and Enterprise Campus will provide world leading facilities and the expertise to create market focused solutions for the agri-tech industry.

Proposed facilities at the AIEC include a Bio-refining Centre, Future Food Centre, Analytical Science laboratories and a Seed Processing and Biobank Facility. It will also provide formal and informal meeting areas and office accommodation.

However, residents expressed some misgivings about road safety and the potential hazard posed by an increase in traffic to and from the campus.

In particular, some residents expressed the concern that no account had been taken of the need to widen the road serving the site, whether during construction or after the campus becomes operational.

Responding to residents’ fears, Rhian Davitt-Jones, Senior Planning Consultant, said: “An initial transport assessment was carried out and, with the 45 jobs to be created, we plugged that into a simulator which told us there would not be a significant impact on the highways system.

“However, we do hear the concerns and we do continue to have that dialogue with Ceredigion County Council.”

The project aims to drive economic growth in the region and beyond through the creation of high value jobs and thriving knowledge-based companies. It will build on the existing capabilities already in existence within the university’s Institutes, working particularly closely with the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) to enhance the research capabilities currently offered.

The consultation on the plans is open until November 16.

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Dayne Stone

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