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Arena operator Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) have released a stunning new digital fly-through video shows how the inside of Swansea Arena will look once it’s open.

Along with new artists’ impressions, the video highlights the design and architecture of the attraction which Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) will operate.

Swansea Arena is one feature of the £135 million Copr Bay phase one district being developed by Swansea Council and advised by development manager RivingtonHark. Other features include the Copr Bay bridge, a coastal park, apartments, business spaces and car parking.

A 3,500-capacity attraction, the arena will include: 

  • A divisible auditorium to create separate spaces, with the upper level transforming into a conference space to complement banqueting facilities
  • A 175-capacity VIP lounge
  • Nine food and drink outlets
New images show what the exterior of the Arena will look like
(Image: Ambassador Theatre Group / Swansea Council)

Complete with an LED façade, the arena will host performances across music, comedy, e-sports and conference events for an estimated 230,000 visitors a year.

Construction of Copr Bay phase one, being led by Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd, is on track for completion this autumn.

Artists impression of the lobby area of the new arena
(Image: Ambassador Theatre Group / Swansea Council)

Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Investment and Tourism, said: “The Swansea Arena is going to be an iconic attraction at the heart of the city’s emerging new Copr Bay phase one district, with construction on track for completion in the autumn.

“Excitement is already starting to build with more and more visible progress on site every day, but this stunning new digital fly-through will help further raise anticipation throughout Swansea and beyond. It shows how the arena – once complete and operational – will be a world class facility that will give local people the opportunity to enjoy the very best entertainment, conferences and other events.

An audience-eye view of what it will be like to see a show at the new arena
(Image: Ambassador Theatre Group / Swansea Council)

“Copr Bay phase one is also worth hundreds of jobs to local people, with the investment having sparked considerable private sector interest in our city. Schemes of this nature – in combination with many others – will transform Swansea into one of the UK’s best cities to live, work, study and visit. They also mean Swansea’s economy is in a strong position to quickly recover from the economic impact of the pandemic.”

The flexible interior space can be arranged in a number of different ways
(Image: Ambassador Theatre Group / Swansea Council)

The tech installed at Swansea Arena will ensure that the venue is equipped to host both real life and hybrid events, embracing the current trend for virtual attendance that will continue beyond the pandemic.

Lisa Mart, Swansea Arena General Manager, said: “We are a multi-purpose entertainment venue, so although the majority of our bookings are going to be music acts, we are also going to be having comedy, premium musical theatre, and things like e-sports, gaming and even wrestling because the flexibility of our venue means we can play things in the round.

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Artists impression of the arena set up as an exhibition space
(Image: Ambassador Theatre Group / Swansea Council)

“Swansea Arena is limitless in terms of all the things it can offer.”

The arena also forms part of the Swansea City and Waterfront Digital District project which is being part-funded by the Swansea Bay City Deal.

WATCH: An amazing fly-through of the new Swansea Arena (Video: Ambassador Theatre Group / Swansea Council)

(Lead image: Ambassador Theatre Group / Swansea Council)

Education

Council to review Swansea Valley ‘Super School’ decision made by previous administration

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A reprieve could be on the cards for Alltwen, Godre’rgraig and Llangiwg Primary schools as Neath Port Talbot’s new coalition administration say they want to review the decision made to create a new ‘super school’ in Pontardawe.

The new administration says it wants to establish if an alternative way to bring 21st Century School standards to the Swansea Valley can be achieved, which would be more acceptable to the community.

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The decision to establish a new £22.7m English-medium 3-11 school and specialist Learning Support Centre for pupils with a statement of Autistic Spectrum Disorder in Pontardawe to replace Alltwen, Godre’rgraig and Llangiwg Primary schools was taken by Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet on October 20th, 2021.

The controversial decision triggered a process of communicating with local schools around the next steps and general planning for the construction of the new school and swimming pool.

A successful tender exercise took place to secure a contractor to begin stage one of a two stage process.

Neath Port Talbot Council say that under its own procurement rules, it says it has been necessary to approve the appointment of the contractor to undertake Stage 1 contract works only, with no obligation on the council to proceed to the second stage. Stage 1 includes developing the design information; carrying out assessments of traffic and site conditions; ground investigations; and obtaining planning approval.

The council say that this first stage contract does not commit them to the construction of the school and pool, with a further contract being entered into at Stage 2, which is the actual construction phase. 

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It adds that allowing stage 1 works to progress will ensure that the opportunities to meet the timescales of the October 2021 decision could still be realised if a review does not highlight any changes are needed to the project.

This will avoid further anxiety for the school staff and families due to unnecessary delays, particularly important for those pupils in Godre’rgraig Primary School who are currently educated in temporary accommodation awaiting the new school.

Neath Port Talbot Council say they will now start discussions with Welsh Government Ministers to establish what information they might require from the council. This will inform the consultation process which the council will undertake with stakeholders.

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Books & Literature

Carmarthenshire author’s Carmarthen Crime series hits the bookshelves

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Ferryside author John Nicholl is celebrating the re-release of his Carmarthenshire-based detective books as the Carmarthen Crime Series.

His new publisher, Boldwood Books – winner of Publisher of the Year in the 2022 Independent Publishing Awards – has repackaged the four books with a strong emphasis on the Carmarthenshire setting and covers depicting local locations including Carmarthen, Dryslwyn Castle and the Tywi Estuary.

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The first two books, The Carmarthen Murders and The Tywi Estuary Killings, are on sale now, with the other two – The Castle Beach Murders and The Dryslwyn Castle Killings to follow soon.

The books focus on DI Gareth Gravel, an accomplished, old-school policeman affectionately known as Grav, who feels out of step with the modern world as he approaches retirement.

“Grav is something of a legend within the West Wales Police Force, liked and respected by the rank and file but not so much by the top brass due to his sharp tongue and a willingness to bend the rules to get results,” says Nicholl, who lives in Ferryside.

“Grav is overweight, loves rugby, drinks too much, particularly since the loss of his wife, and is struggling with chronic health issues. The job matters to him, victims matter to him, and he often goes the extra mile to protect the vulnerable victims of crime, particularly women and children, who he has a strong inclination to protect.”

The books draw on Nicholl’s own experience as a police officer and then as a child protection officer in Carmarthenshire. He started writing fiction after his psychologist recommended it as a way to process traumas he had witnessed during his career, which left him with PTSD.

He self-published his first book and it became an online bestseller; he went on to get signed by a publisher and now has 11 bestsellers behind him. His focus is on crime and the darker side of human nature, with a strong empathy for victims of abuse.

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“The four-book Carmarthen Crime Series, while fictional, draws on my real-life experiences as a police officer and child protection social worker,” he says. “I hope this gives the stories a gritty realism readers will enjoy.”

He adds that he is delighted to see the books republished as the Carmarthen Crime series.

“I grew up, live and write in west Wales, and so I’m delighted my publisher has given the books a strong Welsh identity, with stunning covers featuring some of the beautiful locations I know so very well,” he says.

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Port Talbot

Port Talbot RNLI shop open again for business

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Following refurbishment, visitors to Port Talbot will once again be able to visit the shop located at the lifeboat station at Aberavon seafront.

The shop refit marks the start of a new era. The shop was opened in loving memory of the previous shop manager, Phil Jones, who sadly passed away in early 2021.

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Phil had kept the shop open single-handedly for over twelve years with much success. Phil’s wife and daughter kindly agreed to officially open the new shop on Sunday 12 June when many memories were shared and there were plenty of best wishes for the future.

RNLI shops started out as simple cake stalls run by volunteers to raise money for their local station. Around 1920 commemorative RNLI products were added and shops were selling souvenirs and Christmas cards, all profits helping to save lives at sea.

The RNLI now has over 170 shops around the coast and inland all of which are run by dedicated volunteers: Port Talbot is no exception.

The shop volunteer team has grown since April 2021 from a team of one to thirteen and is also involved with fundraising.

New Shop Manager Kirstee David says: “It has been amazing watching the shop team develop over the last twelve months and to see how passionate the team is about developing what we offer – and about the RNLI!”

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(Lead image: Port Talbot RNLI)

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