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Business welcome for £750m Swansea regeneration plans

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Swansea business leaders have welcomed the appointment of an award-winning regeneration company to lead a £750m transformation of several key development sites.

Alan Brayley, Managing Director of AB Glass, and Russell Greenslade, Chief Executive of Swansea BID (Business Improvement District), say Swansea Council’s appointment of Urban Splash as its preferred development partner is a major private sector vote of confidence in the city.

Urban Splash have developed over 60 regeneration projects across the UK in the last 25 years.

To be funded by the private sector, early proposals for a number of sites in Swansea have now been developed. The sites include the Civic Centre, Swansea Central North at the former St David’s Shopping Centre site, and a plot of land running alongside the river in the St Thomas area of the city.

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

More work will now carried out on the early proposals for each site before plenty of opportunities for local people to give their feedback and help shape the plans.

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Artist’s impression of the Civic Centre site (Image: Swansea Council)
Alan Brayley

Alan Brayley, who’s also President of the Swansea Bay Business Club, said: “This is yet another big step forward for the city. We know how much potential Swansea has, and these proposals will help make the most of our stunning seafront while also creating more footfall and spending for our city centre businesses.

“Businesses in Swansea feel confident about the future, thanks to the huge amount of regeneration works already taking place across the city, including the Copr Bay district with the fantastic Swansea Arena development at its heart. 

“If anything, this confidence has now been further strengthened by the council attracting a major private sector partner with a great track for delivery in other cities throughout the UK. These are exciting times for Swansea, which mean our city is emerging from the pandemic in a strong place in terms of investment and job creation.”

Russell Greenslade

Russell Greenslade said: “This is a significant private sector vote of confidence in our BID area and city. It’s certainly an exciting time to be part of the unfolding story of Swansea as a modern, confident, forward-thinking city. 

“As a BID, we are seeing the impressive investments being made by Swansea Council and the public sector being mirrored by our BID area businesses, who are doubling down on their efforts to make their firms a success. 

“We are already seeing a renewed confidence in the area from existing and new businesses investing in the city centre, not least because of the prospect of extra footfall and improved vibrancy that is likely to materialise thanks to sites including the new office buildings, apartments, and shared workspaces on the Swansea Central North former St David’s Shopping Centre site. With the Civic Centre site also in our BID area, we look forward to learning more about its transformation. We have a lot to look forward to.”

A new city waterfront district is being earmarked for the Civic Centre site. 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.

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At Swansea Central North, new office buildings, new apartments for residents and shared workspaces are proposed, along with space for small creative businesses.

A residential-led regeneration is proposed for the St Thomas site, 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.

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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