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Urban Splash named as Swansea’s £750m city redevelopment partner

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Swansea Council have appointed regeneration company Urban Splash as its preferred development partner for a number of key sites, including the Civic Centre, Swansea Central North and a plot of land running alongside the River Tawe in the St Thomas area of the city.

The Council say early ideas for each site have been proposed, which will now be worked up in more detail before plenty of opportunities for local people to give their feedback and help shape the plans.

The proposals are part of a £750m transformation plan for Swansea and will see new homes and attractions developed along the coast and riverfront.

To be delivered by the private sector, the early proposals include:

  • The transformation of the 23-acre seafront Civic Centre site into a new city waterfront district for Swansea. A mixed-use destination anchored by the beach is proposed, with new homes and a strong leisure and hospitality focus, generous civic spaces and plenty of greenery. Other proposals include a new walkway to the beach and a mix of permanent and seasonal uses and events to create an all-season visitor destination.
  • New office buildings, new apartments for residents and shared workspaces on the 5.5-acre Swansea Central North site located at the former St David’s Shopping Centre site. Capitalising on the major growth across the UK in demand for craft-based goods, space for small creative businesses to make and sell their products could also feature.
  • A residential-led regeneration of a 7.5-acre riverfront site in St Thomas, featuring family homes, apartments, new public spaces and a new terraced river walk providing direct access to the river for the first time in over 150 years.
The Swansea Central North site is adjacent to the emerging Copr Bay development on the site of the former St David’s Shopping Centre and car park (Image: Swansea Council)

The council’s appointment of Urban Splash follows an extensive search for a preferred development partner as part of the Shaping Swansea initiative.

Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said: “The appointment of Urban Splash is a significant private sector vote of confidence not just in Swansea’s enormous potential, but also in the huge amount of regeneration work led by the council that’s already happening in the city, including our £135m Copr Bay phase one district. This work has acted as a catalyst to attract a company of Urban Splash’s quality and experience, and is part of a £1bn regeneration story unfolding across Swansea that’s transforming the city into one of the UK’s best places to live, work, study and visit.

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“The regeneration of these three key sites will help take Swansea to the next level by creating thousands more jobs for local people, hundreds more new homes for local families and a mixed-use, vibrant city centre destination with the footfall it needs to thrive.

“Although subject to consultation in future to ensure people’s views are taken on board, the early proposals will help realise these goals, while also giving the stunning Civic Centre site on our world-class bay back to Swansea people and visitors to the city.

“We look forward to working with Urban Splash on further developing these exciting proposals for the people of Swansea to consider, along with ideas on how best to regenerate other key sites forming part of our Shaping Swansea plans.”

Urban Splash have developed over 60 regeneration projects throughout the UK in the last 25 years. These include the Royal William Yard project in Plymouth where the company has transformed a collection of Grade I and Grade II Listed waterfront structures into apartments, workspaces, galleries, bars and restaurants.

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The company is also undertaking the redevelopment of the Grade II Listed Park Hill in Sheffield into a mixed-use cultural quarter, featuring hundreds of homes and workspaces – many of which are complete and fully occupied.

Jonathan Falkingham MBE, Urban Splash co-founder, is an award-winning architect who helped establish the regeneration company in 1993. He said: “We are absolutely delighted to be working alongside Swansea Council and all of the partners involved in this fascinating project.

“I have a longstanding affiliation with this brilliant city, attending school here in my younger days. I’m pleased to be back in Swansea to help deliver such an exciting new era for the city. We have plans for a world-class environment of great architectural quality, that recognises and enhances the existing historic fabric of the local area and its beautiful location. We hope to achieve this through multi-authorship and partnering with brilliant designers to evolve the most appealing and sustainable designs for each area of this new neighbourhood.”

Tom Bloxham MBE, Urban Splash Chairman, said: “For almost three decades now, Urban Splash has worked hard to transform the fortunes of towns and cities, breathing new life into places through applying great design ideas, and working with the local community to create beautiful buildings and spaces that are sustainable for all.

“We have been really impressed with the ambition and vision of Swansea Council and look forward to working in partnership with this amazing city on the beach, using our experience, capital and resources to strengthen their vision and deliver exceptional living, working and leisure spaces to help more people live well by design.”

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Further proposals in future will also cover opportunities to develop other key sites across Swansea.

(Lead image: Swansea Council)

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Education

Pupils create lasting legacy ahead of move to new school

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Pupils counting down the weeks until they can move into their new school building have created a lasting legacy to let children in the future know what school life is like today.

The children at Ysgol Gymraeg Tan-y-lan have worked with staff to gather items for a time capsule that has been buried on the site of the new £9.9m build in Clase.

The development is nearing completion and they are due to move from their existing site at Tan-y-lan Terrace in Morriston to their new home in Clase after the Christmas holiday break.

Pupils joined Swansea Council Leader Rob Stewart, Cabinet member for Education Improvement Robert Smith and other senior councillors at the new site to bury the time capsule.

It includes photos and recordings of performances along with items of news and information that will give a flavour of school life in 2021.

The new build is jointly funded by Swansea Council and the Welsh Government under the 21st Century Schools and Colleges Programme and is part of a £170m investment in new and improved schools in Swansea which is the largest such investment in the city’s history.

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Cllr Smith said: “The new school building and facilities are absolutely first class and I can see how excited the staff and children are about moving into their new home.

“This will give them the very best surroundings in which to work and is very different to the old outdated accommodation of their current buildings.

“The contractors Kier have done an amazing job in building this school while working safely during the pandemic and I can’t wait to see the pupils settle in. I’m really looking forward to visiting them again when it opens.”

The new build at Hill View Crescent has an increased capacity and a nursery that will help meet additional demand for Welsh medium education in the future.

YGG Tan-y-lan headteacher Berian Jones said pupils and staff were very excited about the move and said they had all worked together to create the time capsule.

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He added: “Pupils from each year group were involved in preparing USB’s filled with examples of activities, photos and performances that have been placed in the capsule.

“We have also collected items that represent the school and our ‘cynefin’ habitat – we also included items and information from current time that explain our current situation and current events in history.”

(Lead image: Swansea Council)

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Health

Health board warning flu cases leading to hospital admissions in Swansea Bay

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woman lying on bed while blowing her nose

The flu virus is already circulating and has led to people being hospitalised according to Swansea Bay University Health Board’s Director of Public Health, Dr Keith Reid.

Dr Reid said the cases, although small in number, should be a timely reminder that everyone eligible for a free flu vaccination should take up the offer.

Dr Keith Reid

“Flu was non-existent in autumn and winter 2020 as lockdowns, mask wearing and increased hand hygiene stopped it and other winter bugs from spreading from person to person,” he said.

“But we have been expecting to see flu come back this year and potentially at levels up to twice as high as a normal flu season.

“People were simply not exposed to flu and other seasonal viruses last year, so the level of immunity in the community is likely to have dropped and people will be susceptible.

“Plus we are all mixing far more now and, with the bad weather coming, we are all going to be heading indoors which will give flu and other bugs the ideal opportunity to spread.”

Flu can be fatal and research has shown that those infected with both flu and Covid are more than twice as likely to die as someone with Covid alone.

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Dr Reid said: “This will be the first winter when we will have significant levels of flu and Covid circulating at the same time, so I must urge everyone, if they are eligible for a free flu vaccination, to take up the offer as soon as possible.

“While no vaccine can offer 100% protection, the flu vaccine remains our best defence against this nasty virus.

“And remember, if you haven’t yet had your first Covid vaccination you can still do so.”

(Lead image: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels.com)

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Swansea

Installation of gold-coloured panels nears completion at arena

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Installation of all gold-coloured panels surrounding Swansea Arena is now just about complete.

Over 1,600 of the panels have been installed – each equipped with LED lights to enable the hosting of displays around the attraction.

It’s another milestone for the £135m Copr Bay phase one district, which is being developed by Swansea Council and advised by development managers RivingtonHark.

Construction of the district – led by Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd – will be complete this year, with the arena opening its doors in early 2022.

Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said: “This is another great milestone for our Copr Bay phase one district, which will be worth hundreds of jobs and £17.1m a year to Swansea’s economy.

“Significant progress is being made every day. This includes the planting of trees and other greenery in the 1.1-acre coastal park next to the arena and major construction progress on the new restaurant in the park that will be run by a Swansea business.

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“Our arena tenants and operators – Ambassador Theatre Group – have also started announcing arena acts, helping build excitement towards the announcement of a headline opening music act.

“People walking, cycling or driving along Oystermouth Road may also have seen more greenery being introduced recently along the roadside, with a living wall soon being introduced nearby too.

“The arena is creating a stunning new landmark on Swansea’s transformed cityscape. It will combine with many other projects to ensure our city quickly bounces back from the economic impact of the pandemic.

“Copr Bay phase one has been and continues to be delivered despite the challenge of Covid, while also paving the way for phase two that will be progressed with Urban Splash – our preferred development partner for the regeneration of several key sites in Swansea.”

Other features of Copr Bay phase one include the new bridge over Oystermouth Road, which will soon benefit from a permanent lighting scheme. Apartments are also being constructed, along with spaces for more businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors.

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The arena feature of Copr Bay phase one is being part-funded by the Swansea Bay City Deal as part of the Swansea City and Waterfront Digital District project that also includes the new office development soon being constructed at 71/72 The Kingsway.

The bridge over Oystermouth Road is part-funded by the Welsh Government’s Active Travel fund.

(Lead image: Swansea Council)

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