blank
Connect with us

Swansea

Pictures show Council’s vision for revamp of Swansea’s Castle Square

Published

on

Swansea Council’s cabinet is to discuss a smart new concept for the city centre Castle Square – one they say introduces more greenery, fun and reasons to visit.

The amount of space for people to gather, sit out and relax would remain the same. Green space would grow from today’s 25% cover to more than 40%. Biodiversity would increase and most existing trees would remain, with new trees planted.

A dynamic new 21st Century concept, with a keen eye on the location’s green past, the early design sees the existing water feature removed. Playful new attractions would be introduced and new opportunities to eat and drink.

The plans would see:

  • Green space increased significantly – from 25% of the current area to more than 40%
  • A greater number of trees – with most existing trees remaining
  • Permanent food and drink units – with green roofs – for up to four businesses
  • A fun water jets feature with mini-fountains rising from the paved area
  • An upgraded paved area
  • Improvements to make Caer Street and Castle Bailey Street more pedestrian-friendly
A vision of how Swansea’s Castle Square could look

If the cabinet likes the design concept it will instruct officers to ask the public, businesses and special interest groups for their views to help shape Castle Square’s detailed design.

Before any final decision is taken, with the public’s views on board, the cabinet must agree to fund the project and a full planning process must be followed, including further public consultation.

The vision, which takes into account public opinions expressed to the council over the past few years, has been drawn up by respected architects ACME.

A new-look Castle Square could open as early as late next year. Its new water feature would be at ground level with the square and could be turned off when not in use to accommodate events.

Advertisement
New greenery planned for Swansea’s Castle Square

Council leader Rob Stewart said: “We want Castle Square to play a key role in the city’s £1bn regeneration programme that’s already making Swansea a place where people want to live, work, study and spend quality free time.

“We want to increase the time that visitors spend in Castle Square, make it suitable for a range of events and make it more active, distinctive and vibrant.

“It will be greener, more welcoming and much more family friendly – a Castle Gardens for the 21st Century.

“If cabinet approves the concept next week, I would urge everybody to make their views known in the subsequent few weeks.”

A vision of how Swansea’s Castle Square could look

Robert Francis-Davies, the council’s cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: “Our new design concept shows that the future Castle Square would be accessible to all. It would remain a pivotal focal point for events and gatherings such as those held there before the pandemic.

“There are good examples in other towns and cities, where public squares with food, drink and fun are very successful indeed. They offer people what they want – a convivial atmosphere with modern comfort.

“We think the Swansea public will enjoy the thought of relaxing in this space which will have playful features and a large amount of greenery.”

Advertisement

On Thursday, February 18, the cabinet will discuss the results of feasibility study that recommends the smart new Castle Square concept.

Café space is incorporated into the Council’s plans

Comments from public consultations on various city centre schemes over the past four years have guided the development of options for the site.

A fresh public engagement process – over around three weeks – would gather further public views to influence the detailed design. It would be widely promoted, including on the Castle Square big screen.

The total cost of the scheme would be £6m-£9m. The work would be funded in a number of ways, including from the council budget. Revenue would include income from leases on the food and drink units. The big screen would remain.

(All images: Swansea Council)


Advertisement
2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Pingback: Housing organisation in Swansea says ‘More Greenery is Needed’- Council leader agrees – Swansea Bay News

  2. Pingback: New drone footage shows Kingsway’s green transformation – Swansea Bay News

Leave a Reply

Dance

Doctors prescribe dance classes to keep patients on their feet

Published

on

By

Over 65s in Swansea Bay are being encouraged to attend dance classes in a bid to keep them on their feet.

Five of the health board’s clusters – groups of GP surgeries working together within a geographical area – are backing the scheme as the exercise to music is proven to aid falls prevention.

Advertisement

Each class is led by a trained dance teacher with participants encouraged to follow a range of routines, designed to develop their strength and balance, with the option of using a chair for support if their mobility is limited.

The Dance for Health programme is a collaboration between the health board, clusters, local authorities, and Aesop, an arts focused charity.

Alyson Pugh, Programme Manager at Aesop, said: “We are delighted to be working with our partners in the health sector to improve the health and wellbeing of people aged over 65 through the medium of dance.

“During each class participants will move to a variety of music from all around the world. The classes are fun and vibrant, increasing fitness, mobility and strength.

“Afterwards, participants will have a good chance to get to know one another over a cup of tea or coffee. No previous experience is needed, everybody is welcome.”

Advertisement

So far classes are held in Pontardawe, Morriston, Seven Sisters, Cwmavon and Briton Ferry, Upper Killay, Reynoldston, Mumbles and the Waterfront Museum.

Alyson said: “The health board asked for 12 classes across Swansea Bay and funded the management side while the GP clusters are funding the delivery of the classes. They wanted it to be grass roots up.

“Anyone can walk in but they wanted the main referrals to come from the virtual wards and local area coordinators and social prescribers, a whole community approach.”

Lizzie MacMillan (Image: Swansea Bay HNS)

Dance artist Lizzie MacMillan (left), a development officer for Dance for Health, said: “It’s for older people and people who are struggling a little bit with perhaps balance issues, mobility issues as well, so we are not expecting them to foxtrot along the floor on the first class or anything like that. It builds up over the weeks.

“We start off quite gently, just seeing where everyone is in the class – I like to gauge the class first of all to see if people are having problems with balance or perhaps giddiness or joint problems. I like to get to know each person in the class so that I can look after them and know their capacity for movement.

“We use the chairs quite a lot if someone is unsteady on their feet. They can still do a variation using the chair for support. We also do a standing variation if people are a little fitter or a little bit more able to push themselves further in the class.”

Advertisement
Over 65s in Swansea Bay are being encouraged to attend dance classes in a bid to keep them on their feet. (Image: Swansea Bay NHS)

Mike Garner, Cwmtawe Cluster lead, said: “We are delighted to be participating in this programme as it fits in perfectly with our goal of improving well-being and helping people remain fit and healthy.”

One participant, Pauline Anderson, said: “I’ve been to four or five classes. I thought I would try it to see what it’s like and it’s been very good.

“As you get older you become more immobile. I’ve been struggling with my knees and joints, so I have found it helpful.

“I would advise anyone thinking about it to just come along.”

Another participant, Betty Didcock, said: “I try to keep active as much as I can. I used to enjoy dancing when I was younger. I’ve made friends here. If you’re a bit shy, it’s a wonderful place to come to get used to talking to people. I’m a quiet one. I don’t always do it right but I have a go.”

While Amber Davies said: “I thought I’d come along to see what it was like. It’s important to keep busy and remain active. It’s also a good way of meeting new people.”

Advertisement

(Lead image: Swansea Bay NHS)

Continue Reading

Swansea

Swansea’s popular land train is back – and you can even take your dog for a ride!

Published

on

By

Taking your family for a day out along Swansea prom? Now your four-legged friend can join in the fun too by hitching a ride on the land train!

Officially known as the Swansea Bay Rider, the 72-seater land train runs along Swansea’s prom from Blackpill Lido to Southend Gardens in Mumbles giving passengers an incredible view of Swansea Bay as they travel along.

Advertisement

Run by Swansea Council, the land train has been a feature of summer holiday trips for many years – whether it’s to soak up the sights in style, or hop on for a relaxing journey after a day of fun in the sun.

But did you know that dogs are allowed on board too?

The council has highlighted the little known fact that four-legged friends are welcome to ride the land train with their owners, as long as they are wearing a lead and are under control.

With more people than ever taking their dog on holiday or on days out, the land train is another fun activity that all the family can enjoy.

The Swansea Bay Rider is also fully accessible to wheelchair users.

Advertisement

The land train runs every weekend from 23 April to 4 September, and daily during the school holidays between 30 May and 3 June, and again between Friday 15 July and Sunday 4 September.

The 30 minute ride from Blackpill to Southend runs 7 times a day at 10.30am, 11.30am, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm and 5pm from Blackpill.

Return journeys from Southend are at 11am, 12pm, 1.30pm, 2.30pm, 3.30pm, 4.30pm and 5.30pm.

Can’t get enough of riding the land-train? How about becoming its driver!

Swansea Council are recruiting a land train driver on a zero hours contract for £19,264 per annum (pro-rata). Applications are open until 24 May on the council’s website.

Advertisement

(Lead image: Swansea Council)

Continue Reading

Books & Literature

Author uncovers the lost tale of Swansea fairground legend

Published

on

By

From Swansea Bliz survivor to fairground strongman – an author discovers his grandfather’s fascinating story as The Welsh Hercules.

In the early half of the 20th Century, Jack Lemm was a household name in Wales. As the Strongman star of fairgrounds and Music Hall, he was famed for his feats of strength, wrestling and his dangerous headlining act, The Whirl of Death.

Advertisement

Times and entertainment trends change, however, and now the once-famous showman is almost forgotten.

For one man, however, the story of the strongman had special meaning. Glaswegian Steven Blockley had always thought that his Great Grandfather deserved to be better known.

“I never actually met Jack,” he says. “I grew up listening to my uncles and aunts telling fascinating stories about all his incredible achievements around the Swansea area and I always knew I wanted to write a book to bring them to a wider audience. As I dug further into his past, however, even I was surprised by what I found.”

Looking into the background of Jack, Steven and co-author David J Thacker uncovered a rich life story and the perfect antidote to our troubled times.

Steven continues, “Jack lived through some harsh years – he was on HMS Lion at the Battle of Jutland in World War 1 and was a survivor of the Swansea Blitz in the Second World War – but his focus was always to put family first and to provide for everyone at home, even if doing so took him away from them.”

Advertisement

David takes up the story. “Jack came from a Greek family and his given surname was actually Lamnea, but his exploits on stage and at fairs all over the UK, including at Neath, were not always popular, especially with his authoritarian father.

“A lot of the tension in our book comes from that relationship, of a son trying to live up to the ideals of his father.”

The resulting book, The Welsh Hercules, took over a year to research and write but in doing it Steven found a kind of resolution.

“While we were writing the book, I turned 60. At that age, Jack was still doing 40 shows a day at the fairgrounds and even after he retired, he was helping roadworkers outside his house to fix the roads!

“Age really was just a number for him and I think that’s a great attitude to have.”

The Welsh Hercules tells the story of Jack, from his humble beginnings on Swansea Docks through to becoming a renowned boxing coach and fairground star. It takes him through two World Wars, as a survivor of the Battle of Jutland and the Swansea Blitz, and introduces a whole new world of showmen, acrobats and colourful characters.

Advertisement

But at its heart, Jack’s story is one of family – of the challenges met, the hearts won and the enduring romance of a Showman and his wife.

The Welsh Hercules is available in paperback on Amazon priced at £11.99

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending

Copyright © 2021 Swansea Bay News