Mid Wales

Pantycelyn: Aberystwyth students' anger over hall plans

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Media captionStudents protest as the university's Pro Vice-Chancellor Dr Rhodri Llwyd Morgan defends the new development

Students are staging a protest over the future of Aberystwyth University's Welsh-medium hall of residence, Pantycelyn.

The university is currently developing new halls at Penglais Farm, which means Pantycelyn may be redeveloped.

The hall has been traditionally where Welsh-speaking students stay, and where Prince Charles spent a term in 1969.

The Welsh-language students' union claimed the new halls would harm the Welsh-speaking student community.

"The new student village is completely unsuitable," said the president of Undeb Myfyrwyr Cymraeg Aberystwyth (UMCA), Mared Ifan.

She said the new £45m Penglais Farm development would not have an office for the union or a canteen.

She said it would also lack sufficient space for the Pantycelyn eisteddfod group to meet and practice.

Image caption Pantycelyn hall of residence has traditionally been home to Welsh-speaking students in Aberystwyth

'Lost faith'

"These are elements that are absolutely essential in maintaining our community of Welsh students," she said.

"After the lack of consultation on these plans, students have completely lost faith in the university."

University officials have insisted that the college is investing in "high standard" accommodation at Penglais Farm, with en suite self-catering flats featuring between six and eight bedrooms each.

"As part of the development there will be a dedicated area for Welsh language students with a particular social area for Welsh speakers," said a spokesperson.

"The university will continue its discussions with Welsh-medium students, the Pantycelyn Hall committee and UMCA about the Penglais Farm facilities and how to build and develop the Welsh language ethos there."

The college said Pantycelyn would remain in use as Welsh-medium hall until at least the end of the 2014-2015 academic year.

Officials said a business exercise was now under way to explore options for the site beyond those dates.

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