Aberaeron, the picturesque seaside resort town on Wales’ west coast, has today been crowned the winner in Wales’ Best Places competition. The nationwide competition, organised by the Royal Town Planning Institute Cymru, celebrates the places protected, carefully planned or improved by the planning system for communities.
Nearly 5,500 people voted on a shortlist of 10 places, with Aberaeron emerging as the most popular place.
Tenby, the walled coastal town in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and Gower, the first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Britain are second and third respectively.
Presenting the award to the Mayor of Aberaeron today, RTPI President Phil Williams said:
“Aberaeron is a truly deserving winner of the title – ‘Wales’ Best Place’. The impact of planning is obvious here as you walk through the town which has been carefully planned in the Georgian style around the harbour. Planners have been important guardians of this town’s character as it has changed over the last 200 years – from small fishing village, to a thriving trading port and ship building town to today’s bustling business centre and tourist hot spot. As a Welshman I’m proud to have shone a spotlight on the outstanding range of places in Wales that have been protected, carefully planned or improved by planners.”
Mayor of Aberaeron, Rhys Davies, said:
“I am so pleased that Aberaeron has won this very special award by the RTPI. It is something the residents of Aberaeron can be proud of, a place we all care deeply about.
Aberaeron is a gem of a town, it's beauty cannot fail to capture the hearts of visitors. It is one of the most photographed towns in the UK, yet maintaining Aberaeron as a popular visitor destination takes hard work and I would like to thank the business community and all our residents who maintain their properties so well, and which greatly benefits our tourist trade. We of course will make full use of the recognition we have been given by all who voted for us and by further promoting our town on a national and international stage, which not only benefits Aberaeron but Ceredigion as a whole.”
Peter Lloyd, Chair of RTPI Cymru said:
“Congratulations Aberaeron, affectionately known as the 'Jewel of Cardigan Bay'. It’s no surprise this charming seaside town, dotted with brightly coloured cottages around the harbour is the public’s favourite. This competition has reminded us just how important planners and the planning system are in ensuring places are protected, shaped and improved."
Councillor Elizabeth Evans, County Councillor for Aberaeron Ward said, “I am delighted that Aberaeron has won the RTPI Wales’ Best Places award. We were in a very tough shortlist of great places, which makes the winning all the more special. I would like to thank everyone who voted for our beautiful town and I know that the residents of Aberaeron will be as proud as I am, that our town has received this award. We of course have to thank the Rev Alban Gwynne, the man who made it all possible back in 1807, for having the vision to plan such a lovely place. Today, we are merely custodians of his legacy; this great town, Aberaeron.”
Aberaeron is one of Wales' first planned towns and since then has been developed and managed by the planning system to be a popular tourist destination and providing services to communities in its large rural hinterland. The planning of the town by Colonel Alban Gwynne and architect, Edward Haycock, earned it the reputation of being "one of the best examples of a planned township of small scale in Wales.
The 10 finalists are: Aberaeron, Ceredigion; Caernarfon, Gwynedd; Cardiff Bay Inner Harbour, Cardiff; Denbigh, Denbighshire; Gower, Swansea; The Hayes, Cardiff; Llandudno Promenade and Mostyn Street, Conwy County Borough; Merthyr Tydfil Town Centre, Merthyr Tydfil; Snowdonia, Conwy and Gwynedd and Tenby, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.
A similar competition was successfully run in England (2015) and Scotland (2014).