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Planning permission granted to bring new life to historic Swansea Palace Theatre

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Planning permission has been granted for the restoration and conversion of Swansea’s historic Palace Theatre building.

The plan will see the 132-year-old six-storey structure become home to tech, start-up and creative businesses.

Works will include the reinstatement and restoration of the auditorium balustrading. A section of tiered seating will be retained to form social seating and presentation space, with the ability to accommodate small scale events.

The interior will retain the existing floors that look down towards a stage – as theatre audiences once would have done.

Artists impression of how the interior of the Palace building could look (Image: Swansea Council)

The planning application, submitted to Swansea planners in September, has now been approved. It shows the building’s structure maintained with the retention and restoration of original historic features and the reinstatement of other historic features.

An application for listed building consent is being studied by the Welsh Government.

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The vision for the wedge-shaped grade two listed city centre building includes workspaces for more than 130 people.

The plans have been assisted by the public through the Friends of Place Theatre Group and a dedicated Facebook page and by others through engagement with Welsh historic monuments body Cadw, council officers, the Theatres Trust and the Victorian Society.

On behalf of Swansea Council, GWP Architecture is leading the Palace project.

Hoardings outside the building tell the story of the building’s history (Image: Swansea Council)

Council leader Rob Stewart said: “We’re preserving this landmark building and are pleased that planning permission has been granted.

“The sense of the theatre is to be retained wherever possible, with the opportunity for workspaces overlooking the original auditorium.

“Our plan will help transform the High Street area – already benefiting from many millions of private investment – and will help our £1bn regeneration work.

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“The city centre is fast becoming a place where people want to live, work and play”

The Palace Theatre in it’s heyday (Image: Swansea Council)

Robert Francis-Davies, the council’s cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: “The new-look Palace will help us continue our work on redeveloping the High Street area and city centre.

“We want the Palace’s renovation to help make it a focal point for small to medium-sized enterprises and start-ups.”

The site stands close to Swansea’s High Street Station at the heart of the city centre.

The Palace Theatre staged performances by stars such as Charlie Chaplin and Sir Anthony Hopkins. It was last used 14 years ago as a nightclub. The council bought the building from private owners this year.

If listed building consent is granted in the next few months, transformation work would start next year with it opening in 2022. Funding for the project is being sought from the European Regional Development Fund and the Welsh Government, via the Welsh Government’s Transforming Towns programme.

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The hunt is already on for a lead tenant to run the building – www.bit.ly/PalaceLease.

Recollections of the Palace can be shared with the project’s Facebook page – www.facebook.com/PalaceTheatreRedevelopment/.


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South Wales Police

Cash and mobile taken in late night Carmarthen Road assault

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South Wales Police are appealing for information after an alleged assault between 1am and 2am on Carmarthen Road in Swansea on Tuesday 12 October.

A 60 year-old man was reportedly attacked while walking up Carmarthen Road near to the first bus stop after Dyfatty lights.

A woman is alleged to have approached the man, then assaulted him before making off with money and his mobile phone.

Police are appealing for anyone with dashcam footage, anyone who witnessed the incident or who may have more information to contact them online, by emailing SWP101@south-wales.police.uk or by calling 101 quoting reference 2100358315.

(Lead image: Google Maps)

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Coronavirus

Health board using converted shipping containers as ‘local vaccination centres’

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Swansea Bay University Health Board say they are making it easier for older people to get their Covid-19 booster vaccinations with the use of converted shipping containers.

Three containers, known as Local Vaccination Centres (LVCs), have been located in communities across the Swansea Bay area for those who may find it difficult to get to a mass vaccination centre.

The containers build on the success and experience of the Immbulance, the health board’s mobile vaccination unit.

And they are able to free up the Immbulance to be deployed to cover new areas.

The units can be located in one place for several days and include staff facilities, which means they can stay there longer and don’t have to be driven away each night and be brought back the following morning.

Staff are providing Covid booster vaccinations for those with an appointment only and aim to deliver 60 jabs every day.

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People can then wait the usual 15-minutes after a vaccination either in their cars or in the container itself.

One of the units has been placed in Seven Sisters Rugby Club car park to serve those in the Dulais Valley and neighbouring communities.

Another of the LVCs has been placed near the Guildhall in Swansea, which has proven to be a popular location for the Immbulance.

James Ruggiero, Swansea Bay University Health Board’s Assistant Head of Operational Planning for the vaccination programme, said: “This project is part of our ongoing effort to increase access to vaccinations across the Swansea Bay area. 

“These units are helping us in our aim to get as many people vaccinated as possible, particularly those who may have difficulty in travelling to our mass vaccination centres.”

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Lead image: Matthew Armstrong, immuniser; Andrea Howells, clinical supervisor; Ian Worthing, immuniser (Image: Swansea Bay NHS)

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Food & Drink

MP pledges support for local pubs in Gower

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Tonia Antoniazzi MP has pledged her support for the Long Live the Local campaign to help pubs and breweries in Gower recover and thrive.

Tonia joins over 125,000 people who have signed the petition so far, including 137 in Gower alone.

Ms Antoniazzi is calling on the Government to lower VAT for pubs and for an overall reduction in Beer Duty.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on brewers and pubs throughout the UK and continues to do so as the sector tries to kickstart its recovery.

The campaign argues that the sector needs an immediate boost and the fact that a local pub adds £100,000 to its local economy, creates jobs and acts as a social hub, underlines how directly investment in the form of lower VAT and an overall cut to beer duty can help pubs and their communities to recover. It will also boost Britain’s world class brewing sector, a homegrown manufacturing success story that brews over 80% of the beer we drink.

Brewing and pubs in Gower supports 1344 jobs and contributes £29m to the local economy. With £1 in every £3 pounds spent in UK pubs going to the taxman, British drinkers and pub goers are overtaxed and this is hampering the recovery of our cherished locals and Britain`s brewers.

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Commenting on the campaign, Tonia Antoniazzi MP said: “Pubs are at the heart of communities across Gower, but with pubs bearing a disproportionate burden as a result of the pandemic the Government should consider cutting unfair taxes on pubs that are hampering their recovery. I’m supporting the Long Live the Local campaign and calling on the Chancellor to lower VAT for pubs and reduce Beer Duty overall at this year’s Budget to support the recovery of pubs.”

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association said: “85% of pubs are based in community and rural areas, bringing jobs to the parts of the UK that need them most. They employ over 600,000 people, of which 43% are under 25. Cutting VAT and an overall reduction in Beer Duty would go a long way to helping pubs and brewers across Gower that are desperately trying to recover.

“We are very grateful to Tonia Antoniazzi for her support for the Long Live the Local campaign, and hope that the Government listens to MPs across Parliament and the thousands of people across the country who are calling on the Chancellor to lower VAT & Business Rates for pubs and reduce Beer Duty overall.”

Lead image: Emma McClarkin with Tonia Antoniazzi. 

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