The regeneration of Swansea has continued to move forward this summer, with several new developments completed and public opinions sought for future work. Here’s the lowdown.
Public opinion sought
Swansea residents and businesses are being encouraged to have their say on final plans for a redeveloped, greener Castle Square.
Public feedback from earlier rounds of consultation was taken into account when designers created the new look for the location that’s a focal point at the heart of the city centre.
The proposals include:
- An increase in the number of trees
- An increase in the amount of other greenery, including new lawns, ornamental and biodiverse planting – from 1,460 sq m to 2,530 sq m
- The addition of two pavilion buildings for food, drink or retail businesses – one with an accessible green roof
- A new water feature for interactive play
- New giant TV screen above a bandstand-style facility
- New outdoor seating areas
The plans include new planters, steps, seating, lighting and paving. The existing leaf boat feature would be removed to another suitable Swansea location in consultation with the original artist.
The planning application states that the commercial elements – including restaurant units with outdoor seating – would aim to increase the location’s vitality and encourage people to stay longer.
Castle Square would continue to host public and creative events through the year. The planning application shows no net loss of useable public open space.
The design document goes on: “Any new building and enhancements must be of a high quality design, accessible and sustainable, and complementing Swansea’s central area and its heritage.”
Businesses involved in the designs include architects ACME, development manager Spider Projects and structural specialists Civic Engineers.
Planning consultants Savills have been working on Castle Square on behalf of the council which is driving a £1bn regeneration of Swansea.
As part of the formal planning process for this development the public can have their say on the planning application consultation until September 5.
ACME founding director Friedrich Ludewig said: “We are revitalising an important civic space with terraced seating areas, new access routes, a playful water feature and biodiverse planting.”
The Castle Square proposals can be seen online.
Knab Rock pontoon
Views are also wanted on a proposal to create a new pontoon at Knab Rock in Mumbles. Swansea Council is behind the proposal, which is aimed at making it easier for boat users to access the water there.
These include fishermen, pleasure boaters and yacht users.
If the pontoon gets the go-ahead, it would be attached to the slipway at Knab Rock. The pontoon would also give people with some disabilities better access to boats on the water there.
Other benefits of the new pontoon would include the chance for local fishermen to offer a greater range of services, including fishing trips. The pontoon could also be potentially used as a boarding point in future for water taxis between Mumbles and other parts of the city including Swansea Marina.
Cllr Andrew Stevens, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Infrastructure, said:
“Boat users including fishermen – especially if they’re by themselves – currently find it very difficult to board their vessels at Knab Rock without getting very wet.
“A new pontoon at the location would give these boat users easier and safer access to their boats there, while also encouraging a greater range of uses like fishing trips and water sports opportunities for local residents and visitors.
“In future, there’s also the potential to link parts of Swansea by water taxi, so the new pontoon at Knab Rock could be used as a pick-up and drop-off point.
“We’re after as much feedback as possible though before this proposal potentially takes its next steps. That’s why we’d ask anyone interested to take a look at our online consultation and give their views so we can consider them in the coming weeks and months.”
The proposal would be funded by Swansea Council’s Economic Recovery Fund – a major pot of money helping communities and businesses recover from the economic impact of the pandemic.
Head to swansea.gov.uk/knabrockpontoonconsultation to have your say by a deadline of September 11.
New archways link city to the sea
Three new archways are now open to better link Swansea city centre with the sea.
The archways – which have replaced a narrow tunnel that was in place beforehand – are located close to the LC, between the maritime quarter and the city’s £135m new Copr Bay district.
The district also includes Swansea Arena, the 1.1-acre coastal park and the new bridge over Oystermouth Road
Copr Bay has been developed by Swansea Council and development managed by RivingtonHark.
Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said: “Swansea’s waterfront has always been the city’s crown jewel, but Oystermouth Road had become a barrier between the city centre and the promenade and sea.
“Not only is the iconic new bridge over the road now in place to create better links between the two areas, but the three new archways are now open too, making the maritime quarter and the waterfront more accessible to pedestrians and cyclists.
“The arches are part of our new Copr Bay district, which is worth hundreds of jobs and £17.1m a year to Swansea’s economy. It’s part of a major on-going investment in Swansea that’s transforming the city into the one of the UK’s very best places to live, work, study and visit.”
The arena feature of Copr Bay is being part-funded by the Swansea Bay City Deal as part of the Swansea City and Waterfront Digital District project that also includes the new office development now being constructed at 71/72 The Kingsway.
The bridge over Oystermouth Road is part-funded by the Welsh Government’s Active Travel fund.
Residents start moving in to new Copr Bay apartments
With building work now complete, many residents have already started moving into a new apartment complex in Swansea city centre.
The 33-apartment block being run by Pobl Group forms part of the £135m Copr Bay district developed by Swansea Council.
Located on the city centre side of the new bridge over Oystermouth Road, the apartment complex overlooks Swansea Arena and the 1.1-acre coastal park. Some of the apartments benefit from views of Swansea Bay and the coastline.
The Copr Bay district is being development managed by RivingtonHark and constructed by Buckingham Group Contracting.
Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said: “These apartments will create more affordable living opportunities in the city centre, while also combining with the arena and coastal park to generate more footfall. This is important because it will help create more spending in shops and other businesses in the city centre by supporting traders there.
“The new high-quality apartments, along with other residential schemes in the city centre and beyond, will make a big difference to the quality of living for many people.”
All the apartments in Copr Bay are affordable homes, targeted at those working in Swansea city centre – particularly key workers. Funded by Pobl Group and the Welsh Government, the homes consist of 13 one-bed apartments for up to two people, and 20 two-bedroom apartments for up to three people.
Amanda Davies, Chief Executive of Pobl Group, said: “The Copr Bay development is an important addition to the city which is already making a positive impact on people’s lives. We are delighted to be working in partnership with Swansea Council to provide much-needed quality, affordable homes for those who want to live and work in the city centre, helping the council in their wider regeneration strategy for the city.”
Other features of Copr Bay, including the new car park behind the apartment building, as well as the retail units on Cupid Way for food and drink businesses, will be finished later this year.