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Live music venue heading for Swansea’s Albert Hall as part of £8m development by Loft Co

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Cardiff’s biggest independent events brand has announced it will open a second live music venue inside Swansea’s Albert Hall.

The DEPOT, which has established itself as one of the biggest entertainment brands in the capital city, has confirmed it will be one of the first new tenants of Loft Co’s latest redevelopment project in Swansea.

The £8 million refurbishment of the former opera hall on the corner of De-La Beche Street and Cradock Street is being led by Simon Baston, director of Loft Co. Loft Co is also responsible for the development of The Tramshed in Cardiff, Goodsheds in Barry and the J-Shed in Swansea, amongst others.

Loft Co’s plans are to restore the 157-year-old building back to its original splendour, creating a mixed-use development which will include The DEPOT as an 800-capacity music and entertainment venue, as well as dedicated new spaces for lifestyle businesses and offices. The full refurbishment is expected to take between 12 – 18 months.

An artist’s impression of what the interior of the Albert Hall’s music venue will look like

A ‘boutique apart-hotel’ comprising of ten serviced apartments will attract tourists, as well as ensuring the long-term sustainability of the scheme and contributing to a low carbon footprint existence. These will be available to rent for periods between one night and six months.

Academy Coffee have also been confirmed as tenants of the new scheme. The family-owned group of speciality coffee shops originated at The Pumphouse in Barry, with several venues across South Wales in Barry, Cardiff, Penarth (and Newport under construction).

Each venue has its own individual look and feel, from Victorian industrial brickwork to modern shipping containers; at Albert Hall, they have plans to operate an all-day venue serving coffee and light lunches during the day, transforming into a cocktail bar and lounge by night.

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A roof terrace will also be created but will be open to staff and clients of the tenanted businesses only.

Artists impression of the exterior of the Albert Hall

SWANSEA’S £1BN TRANSFORMATION

Swansea city centre is undergoing a £1bn transformation thanks to work driven by Swansea Council. It’s one of Europe’s biggest current city centre regeneration schemes.

Heritage sites being saved for future generations in and around the city centre include the Albert Hall, the Palace Theatre building and the Hafod-Morfa Copperworks Powerhouse. Hundreds of new homes and modern workspaces are also being created through private and public sector funding.

A catalyst for the regeneration is the £135m Copr Bay Phase One scheme, with an arena, parkland, homes, commercial space, parking and landmark new bridge. The scheme is due to open later this year.

The Albert Hall as it currently looks (Image: Google Maps)

Council leader Rob Stewart said: “I welcome the new vision for the Albert Hall, one of Swansea’s most iconic city centre buildings. The council has worked with Loft-Co to get to this stage and, pending planning permission, will continue to support the scheme. It can be a fantastic new venue and will be a near neighbour to our indoor arena that’s due to open this year.

“Together, they can help Swansea become a place where people want to live, work, study and spend quality spare time.

“The city will be leading wales out of the pandemic.”

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Simon Baston, Loft Co, said: “At Loft Co, we pride ourselves on creating spaces that are unique, accessible and most importantly, fun. We are excited by the plans we have for Albert Hall, and its potential to be a place where the community of Swansea can come to work, relax, and play when the restrictions of COVID-19 are long behind us.”

Artist’s impression of the interior of the music venue

Nick Saunders, founder and Managing Director of The DEPOT said: “Despite starting life as a temporary pop-up back in 2014, The DEPOT has since established itself as a key part of Cardiff’s alternative night-time economy, and we can’t wait to do the same in Swansea – providing a diverse and exciting events space for both locals and tourists alike.

We’re really excited about moving into a second site – and becoming neighbours with some other fantastic local businesses in the process.”

ABOUT THE ALBERT HALL

The Albert Hall first opened in 1864 as a public assembly and concert venue known as The Music Hall, Swansea, with a 2,500 capacity.

It became the Albert Hall in 1882, and over the years it has hosted performances and speeches from Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, David Lloyd George and opera singer Adelina Patti.

The venue – on the corner of De-La Beche Street and Cradock Street – became a silent movie cinema in 1922, switching to talkies in 1929.

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The doors of this 156-year-old building have been closed since 2007, when it last operated as a bingo hall.


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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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