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New scheme sheds light on promenade in West Cross

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Businesses and cyclists have welcomed an £80,000 new lighting scheme along the promenade in West Cross.

The low-level, environmentally-friendly lights are being funded by Swansea Council, thanks to a scheme for smaller-scale projects in communities across the city.

Each ward in Swansea is being given at least £36,000 to invest in new play equipment or other facilities as part of the scheme. This is in addition to local councillors using funding from their environmental budgets to boost communities.

Stretching for about a mile, the new lighting is aimed at further improving safety and accessibility for walkers, runners, cyclists and other promenade users when it’s dark.

An official switch-on of the West Cross promenade lights has now taken place.

The lights were officially switched on by Lord Mayor of Swansea, Cllr Mary Jones and her consort Cllr Mike Jones (Image: Swansea Council)

Dennis Dywer, of Ripples Café, said: “I’m a resident of West Cross and I have a business here on the promenade. It’s made a big difference – certainly to the business.

“It’s great to see many more cyclists using it day after day – not using their cars, supporting active travel and the very important climate change agenda.”

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John Sayce, Chair of Wheelrights – the Swansea Bay cycle campaign – said: “It’s a fantastic scheme. It’s something that we greatly welcome.

“This scheme will increase the amount of times that cyclists can safely cycle from Mumbles through to West Cross. This is a particular benefit to people who are not used to cycling.”

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Cllr Mark Thomas, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Environmental Enhancement and Infrastructure Management, said: “The low-level lighting delivers a big improvement, while ensuring the night sky is unaffected.

“The scheme is already proving very popular, but it will really come into its own during the autumn and winter, giving people even more time to enjoy the promenade.

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“Given how successful this scheme has been, we’re also exploring the introduction of similar lighting on other parts of the promenade to benefit even more residents, businesses and visitors to the city.”

The new lights along the prom in West Cross (Image: Swansea Council)

Cllr Andrew Stevens, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Business Improvement and Performance, said: “This fantastic new lighting scheme in West Cross is part an overall council investment that will ensure every ward in Swansea benefits from new facilities. Other examples include new play facilities already being enjoyed by children and families in communities like Grovesend.

“We’re so lucky to have a promenade that stretches alongside our world class bay, but we’ll keep doing all we can to further improve the facility for walkers, cyclists and other promenade users.”

(Lead image: Swansea Council)


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Sport

New Townhill all weather-pitch is ready for kick-off

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A new all-weather pitch that will benefit thousands of players in the years to come has been fitted at the Phoenix Centre in Townhill.

Swansea Council provided the funding that also included an upgrade to the floodlights at the popular venue.

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The council is also improving the nearby multi-use-games-area as part of the project that represents an investment of up to £300,000.

The centre’s former pitch was laid around 20 years ago and was well used by the community including local sporting clubs.

Council Cabinet Member for Investment, Regeneration and Tourism, Robert Francis-Davies, visited the site this week to check on progress that has also seen new netting and fencing installed.

He said: “Sport is such an important part of so many peoples’ lives so I’m really pleased we’ve able to use part of the council’s Economic Recovery Fund to make these improvements.

“The council recognises sport has huge physical, mental health and general wellbeing benefits and that is why we do all we can to provide modern and accessible facilities for all.

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“This pitch will benefit thousands of players of all ages and is just the latest all-weather pitch we have funded or provided support towards in recent years following on from investments at Penyrheol, Morriston, Pentrehafod, Gowerton, Bishopston, the Elba Sports Complex and at Dylan Thomas Community School.”

The work at the Phoenix Centre was carried out by Blakedown Sport and Play and old pitch has been recycled by a company working in the golf industry.

The Phoenix Centre is a flagship community enterprise centre run and managed by Hill Community Development Trust.

Manager Leanne Dower said: “We are very much looking forward to welcoming our existing and new users to this great new facility.

“The pitch will create opportunities for local children to try a variety of sports and have a safe space to play. We are very grateful to all involved for supporting us.”

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(Lead image: Swansea Council)

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Construction

Construction work soon to start on Swansea’s ‘living building’ at former Oxford Street Woolworths site

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With main construction work due to start in the coming weeks, city leaders have visited the Swansea site where a major new ‘living building’ project will soon be taking shape.

Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, and Julie James, the Welsh Government’s Minister for Climate Change, were talked through details and timescales for the development, which will be located at the former Woolworths unit on Oxford Street.

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Earmarked for completion by the end of 2023, Swansea-based Hacer Developments is behind the scheme, which is one of the first of its kind in the UK.

Made up of the former Woolworths unit and a new adjoining 13-storey structure, the ‘living building’ will include green walls and green roofs, an educational facility, retail, offices, a landscaped courtyard, rooftop solar panels, battery storage and gardens. Pobl Group will manage 50 affordable apartments forming part of the scheme.

Other scheme features include an urban farm-style greenhouse set over four floors. Plants and vegetables will be grown in water and fed by waste pumped from fish tanks at the bottom of the building.

A green walkway including seating through the building will link Oxford Street to a new public space leading to the 71/72 Kingsway scheme being developed by Swansea Council.

Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, and Julie James, the Welsh Government’s Minister for Climate Change, were talked through details and timescales for the development, which will be located at the former Woolworths unit on Oxford Street. (Image: Swansea Council)

Stripping-out and demolition works have now been completed at the ‘living building’ site, paving the way for main construction to begin.

The visit also included a tour of the new 33-apartment building at the city’s Copr Bay district developed by Swansea Council, which is set for completion this summer.

To be run by Pobl Group and located close to the new bridge over Oystermouth Road, the affordable apartments will cater for local people working in the city centre, with a particular focus on key workers. 

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Climate Change Minister Julie James said: “What we have seen through this work is an excellent example of the affordable homes we need to build in Wales.

“These new homes in the heart of Swansea city centre will make a huge difference to the quality of living for so many people.

“We need to see more projects like this delivered across the country as we strive to become a stronger, greener, fairer Wales.”

Cllr Stewart said: “Led by Hacer Developments, the exciting ‘living building’ scheme follows on from our work to transform the look and feel of The Kingsway.

“It will create jobs for local people while helping Swansea in its drive to become a net zero city, complementing the nearby office development at the former Oceana nightclub site that will be carbon zero in operation.

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“The residential element of the scheme will also meet the city’s accommodation needs by creating more affordable living opportunities in the city centre. This is also the case for the apartment building at the Copr Bay district developed by the council, which will benefit from excellent links with the new coastal park adjacent to Swansea Arena.”

Carwyn Davies, Managing Director of Hacer Developments, said: “We’re delighted that main construction work will soon start on the highly innovative ‘living building’ project, but it wouldn’t be possible without the support of the many partners involved, including Swansea Council, the Welsh Government, Pobl, the Development Bank of Wales, Swansea University and Cardiff University  – as well as our fantastic design and site team.”

The visit also included a tour of the new 33-apartment building at the city’s Copr Bay district developed by Swansea Council, which is set for completion this summer. (Image: Swansea Council)

Claire Tristham, Director of Developments at Pobl Group, said: “Pobl has a growing reputation for delivering forward-thinking housing solutions that push the boundaries.

“We are excited to be working with Hacer on this innovative project that will deliver much-needed, high-quality, affordable homes for Swansea and support the council’s wider regeneration plans for the city centre.

“Support from the council and Welsh Government has been critically important to this development, so we were delighted to able to welcome the Minister on site to officially launch the start of work on this truly unique project.”

The ‘living building’ is being funded by a mixture of private sector funding and funding from the Welsh Government’s Innovative Housing Programme, Pobl and the Development Bank of Wales.

Set to accommodate 600 workers, the nearby office development at the former Oceana nightclub site – due for completion in the summer of 2023 – is being funded by Swansea Council and the Swansea Bay City Deal. It is also being supported by the European Regional Development Site through the Welsh Government.

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The Copr Bay phase one district has been developed by Swansea Council, supported by development managers RivingtonHark. Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd is leading on its construction.

(Lead image: Swansea Council)

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Swansea Bay NHS

Health board unveil plans for three more operating theatres at Singleton Hospital

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Plans to expand the number of operating theatres at Singleton Hospital by 50% to help tackle surgical waiting lists are going before Swansea Bay University Health Board.

The hospital currently has six theatres, but the new plans will add another three.

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The planned new theatres are modular in design so they can be erected quickly and less expensively than traditional builds. The Board is being asked to approve the plans at its next meeting later today (Thursday 26 May).

The theatres will be the latest in a number of additional modular theatres being introduced to Swansea Bay hospitals.

Neath Port Talbot Hospital is having three new theatres to enable it to become the £25m Centre of Excellence for Orthopaedics.

The Day Surgery Unit (on a site opposite the main Singleton Hospital building) is also having an additional theatre.

The exiting six theatres at Singleton undertake procedures for gynaecology; ophthalmology; colorectal; general surgery; planned obstetric cases; breast surgery, orthopaedics and some plastic surgery.

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The three planned new theatres will provide additional activity for plastic surgery; general surgery, Ear, Nose and Throat, and oral maxillofacial surgery.

Singleton Hospital (Image: Swansea Bay NHS)

These three additional theatres at Singleton are expected to undertake an extra 2,190 operations a year.

The health board say that key to this work will be the introduction of a new four-bedded Post Anaesthesia Care Unit (PACU) at Singleton which will allow surgery to go ahead that could only have taken place in Morriston previously.

If the plans for the additional theatres are approved by the Board, the work is likely to be commissioned in 2023/2024.

Swansea Bay UHB Chief Executive, Mark Hackett, said: “We are only too aware of the pain and discomfort being endured by people on our lists who are waiting too long for the treatments they need.

“We are doing all we can to increase capacity to tackle these long lists.

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“Expanding our operating theatres at Singleton and Neath Port Talbot will be important steps forward.

“This is in line with our strategic Changing for the Future plans to improve both unscheduled and planned care, and develop each of our three main hospitals as centres of excellence.”

The future plans mean that Morriston Hospital will become a centre of excellence for urgent and emergency care, specialist care and regional surgical services for Swansea Bay, including complex medical interventions.

Singleton Hospital will become a centre of excellence for planned care, cancer care and diagnostics.

Neath Port Talbot Hospital will become a centre of excellence for orthopaedic and spinal care, diagnostics, rehabilitation and rheumatology.

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The health board say that by concentrating different skills, resources and specialisms on each site, each hospital will become a ‘powerhouse’ for these services, providing specialist treatments to a higher standard.

(Lead image: Swansea Bay NHS)

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