South Wales contractor Griffiths is to undertake Swansea Council’s work to make the city centre Wind Street a more family-friendly environment.
The well respected firm was selected by the council in a competitive tender process and is due to start redevelopment work shortly in line with government pandemic guidelines.
Griffiths stepped in to work on the council’s widely praised Kingsway infrastructure scheme in 2019 after the original main contractor went into administration. That project is nearing completion.
Robert Francis-Davies, the council’s cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: “I’m pleased that a Welsh firm will carry out our Wind Street transformation.
“We’ve worked closely with Griffiths over the years to deliver a range of highways maintenance and improvement programmes as part of the Swansea Highways Partnership; we know they’ll do a great job in Wind Street.
“We want Wind Street to be a family-friendly, high quality hospitality environment.
“Planning work has continued through the pandemic; this has included consultation with traders and with environmental, disability and residents’ representatives.
“Our reimagining of Wind Street is a key element in our £1bn transformation of the city centre. Work that’s already well advanced on locations such as Copr Bay and The Kingsway – and our plans for other significant city centre locations – means that Swansea will lead the way out of the pandemic.”
Griffiths project manager Leighton Rees said: “Griffiths is delighted to continue being part of the regeneration of Swansea. We look forward to transforming Wind Street over the coming months.”
Russell Greenslade, chief executive of Swansea BID, said: “This is very welcome news in the latest stage of Swansea city centre’s regeneration journey. Swansea BID has worked very closely with the council to help deliver this project and drive change in this part of the city, improving the economy and vibrancy of the area.
“We are constantly striving, on behalf of our BID area businesses, to assist Swansea Council in its regeneration of the city centre to develop more vibrancy and attract more footfall.
“We are proud to see plans like these come to fruition and we will continue to work in partnership with the council on such projects to attract new investment to the city, whilst supporting our existing, much valued BID businesses through the regeneration process as much as we can.”
The Wind Street project will see the street become more accessible to pedestrians and more attractive to businesses wishing to trade outdoors.
The aim is for Wind Street to be a family-friendly all-day café quarter with traffic restricted to 7-11am for business loading only.
This means that the street will be free of vehicles during the daytime and evening trading periods.
Transformation work, to be carried out through this year will include green-landscaped new entrances to the street.
Existing natural stone paving and kerbs will be taken up and re-used. Stone will be laid in a way that reduces future maintenance costs.
The re-use of existing footway material will reduce the need for new materials, making the project more sustainable and reducing its carbon footprint.
The road will be brought up to the same level as the pavement to improve accessibility for all and to provide a flexible space for events and other activities. There will be new greenery and informal seating.
To help those with mobility issues, there will be a clear accessible route close to the new outdoor trading areas.
A new blue badge parking/dropping area will be created in Salubrious Passage, which will also benefit from new lighting.
Advance work already undertaken includes tree management that makes the area’s historic architecture more visible. More light now reaches pedestrians and people in the buildings. New street lights have been installed and new coloured pea-lights on trees now provide a vibrant backdrop to the street’s seasonal activities and activity through the year.
Funding sources include the council’s capital budget and the Welsh Government’s Targeted Regeneration Initiative.
To allow the work to be undertaken swiftly and to offer construction personnel a welfare area and compound, the nearby Worcester Place car park will temporarily close for the duration of the works.
Other council-managed parking is available nearby on-street and at car parks in The Strand, Park Street and Pell Street.
Lead image: Marking the appointment of the Wind Street project’s main contractor are, from left: Russell Greenslade, chief executive of Swansea BID; Leighton Rees, Griffiths project manager; Carwyn Davies, Griffiths contract manager; Robert Francis-Davies, the council’s cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism. (Swansea Council)