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Contractor appointed to transform Palace Theatre building



Swansea Council has appointed experienced South Wales-based contractor, R&M Williams Ltd to transform the city centre’s historic Palace Theatre building.

The construction company have a track record of working with heritage buildings, including £4m refurbishment projects at the grade two listed Penarth Pier Pavilion and Empire House, an iconic 1920s Cardiff landmark

They will now be main contractor at Swansea’s flatiron-shaped 133-year-old Palace, a grade two listed building that once staged performances with the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Sir Anthony Hopkins.

The council acquired the six-storey High Street building from private owners around 20 months ago.

The derelict and dilapidated building from years of lack of use will be transformed sensitively into a home to tech, start-up and creative businesses. Planning permission and listed building consent have been granted.

Work will start in October and the building could reopen in 2023. The council has appointed Tramshed Tech as the lead tenant to run the building.


Council leader Rob Stewart said: “I welcome R&M Williams Ltd to this excellent project that will bring new life to one of Swansea’s most iconic buildings.”

Robert Francis-Davies, the council’s cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: “I’m delighted that a high-quality Welsh construction firm will be part of this prestigious project.”

Darryn Parry, managing director of R&M Williams Ltd, said: “R&M are delighted to be appointed as principal contractor to undertake the restoration of the iconic Palace Theatre building.”

Lee Waters, the Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Climate Change, said: “Through our Transforming Towns programme, we are providing £136m to further support the economic and social recovery of our town and city centres across Wales and our Town Centre First policy, embedded in Wales’ national development plan Future Wales, means that town and city centre sites should be the first consideration for all decisions on the location of workplaces and services.”

Tramshed Tech CEO Louise Harris said: “At Tramshed Tech we are delighted to be able to kick off our partnership with our new colleagues on this landmark project, to be housed in such an iconic building as the Palace Theatre.”


The main contractor was selected in a competitive tender process.

Lead image: Council cabinet member Robert Francis-Davies, left, at the Palace with Darryn Parry, of R&M Williams Ltd. (Image: Swansea Council)

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New £1.1m council house development completed in Amman Valley




A NEW £1.1million council housing development has been built in the Amman Valley as part of Carmarthenshire Council’s plan to deliver more affordable homes.

The eight two-bed semi-detached houses in Maespiode in Llandybie are the first to be delivered under the county council’s £150million new build programme.

The homes have modern kitchens and bathrooms, exceptionally high levels of insulation and are fitted with solar panels that will generate electricity and help provide lower energy bills for tenants.

A tree has also been planted in every garden to off-set carbon emissions, part of the council’s commitment to become net zero carbon by 2030.

The houses are available to applicants on the housing register and were delivered on behalf of the council by local building contractors TRJ Ltd.

Cabinet Member for Housing Cllr Linda Evans said: “Providing more affordable homes is a key priority for the council and I am delighted to see this new development – the first of many – has been completed in Llandybie for the benefit of local residents on the housing register.

“We are committed to delivering more than 900 new builds by 2029 which will be the biggest increase in council housing stock in Carmarthenshire since the 1970s.


“As well as providing much needed homes in the county, the investment will also boost the local economy creating jobs, training opportunities and apprenticeships in the construction industry.”

New council houses are also under construction in Dylan, Llanelli; Glanmor Terrace, Burry Port; Garreglwyd, Pembrey and Gwynfryn in Ammanford and are due for completion in the next 12 to 18 months.

Council Leader Emlyn Dole said: “We are proud to lead the way in Carmarthenshire and are committed to delivering an ambitious affordable housing programme to build much-needed high-quality homes for local people, create more jobs, stimulate economic growth and help wider-scale regeneration in our communities.

“This is even now more critical as we recover from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Lead image: Cabinet Member for the Environment Cllr Hazel Evans, Council Leader Cllr Emlyn Dole and Cabinet Member for Housing Cllr Linda Evans. (Image: Carmarthenshire Council)


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New pathway will link city centre with arena




Visitors to Swansea city centre may have recently noticed a new gold-coloured pathway taking shape in the area of the former St David’s Shopping Centre.

Forming part of the £135m Copr Bay phase one district, the pathway will lead from close to the New Look store down to the new bridge over Oystermouth Road that connects the city centre with the Swansea Arena and coastal park development.

Currently under construction, the gold-coloured pathway will pass through a new temporary area being introduced at the former St David’s Shopping Centre site to introduce more vibrancy there, pending its longer-term regeneration.

A temporary pop-up park is also soon being put in place there, along with temporary units for local food and drink start-up businesses. 

Swansea Council is developing the Copr Bay district, which is being advised by development managers RivingtonHark. Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd is leading on the district’s construction.

The new pathway under construction between St Mary’s Church and the new arena (Image: Swansea Council)

Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said: “The new gold-coloured pathway being constructed will give local residents and visitors to Swansea a clear link between the city centre and our emerging £135m Copr Bay phase one district, benefitting businesses and facilities in both areas.

“It’s being deliberately set in a gold colouring to match not just the new bridge over Oystermouth Road, but the stunning panels around Swansea Arena too.


“It’s part of a plan to develop better connections than ever before between the city centre and our seafront, which will soon make even more progress when early proposals for both the Swansea Central North and Civic Centre sites gather more pace.  

“We now have an award-winning preferred development partner on board – Urban Splash – to lead a £750m regeneration of those sites and others, but a temporary scheme will also be introduced at the former St David’s Shopping Centre site in the meantime.

“As well a new temporary pop-up park and new temporary units for local start-up food and drink businesses, play facilities for children are also planned there, along with events to generate even more vibrancy pending the site’s major long-term regeneration.”

Also forming part of a temporary plan for the surrounding area is the demolition of the Llys Dewi Sant building and the St David’s multi-storey car park.

Demolition materials will be re-used as part of a new temporary surface on site. New car parking is soon being introduced nearby as part of the Copr Bay phase one district.


New lighting will also be introduced on site, along with information to show how the area will look in future.

(Lead image: Swansea Council)

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Swansea can lead UK’s green agenda charge says city developer




Swansea has a real chance to become a UK flagbearer for decarbonisation and well-being, according to a city developer.

Carwyn Davies, Managing Director of Hacer Developments, says the combination of on-going schemes with future plans means Swansea can be ahead of the curve in reaching green agenda ambitions.

Swansea-based Hacer Developments are behind the ‘living building’ plans for the former Woolworth’s unit in the city centre. Due for completion towards the end of 2023, the new development will feature an urban farm-style greenhouse over four floors, residential apartments, shops and offices.

Living walls and living roofs will also feature, as well as rooftop solar panels, battery storage and gardens.

Carwyn says Swansea Council’s £12m transformation of The Kingsway helped spark these development plans, with schemes like the £135m Copr Bay phase one district also giving the private sector more and more confidence to invest in Swansea.

Carwyn said: “Led by the council, which is working in close partnership with the private sector and other organisations, Swansea is on a hugely positive regeneration journey that we want to be part of as a local company with a local ethos that’s focused on benefiting local supply chain businesses.


“The Copr Bay development including the arena will attract far more people into the city centre, with the greener Kingsway now looking a far better prospect for business and urban living.

“The greenery there is great, but it can’t just be aesthetic. The combination of our biophilic building with other green roofs, living walls and zero-carbon schemes planned in Swansea means the city can punch above its weight in terms of the green agenda because of our size and scale. We have a real chance to get ahead of the curve.”

Other zero carbon schemes planned in Swansea include the new office development being planned for 71/72 The Kingsway. Led by Swansea Council and being part-funded by the Swansea Bay City Deal, this development will feature a green roof, solar panels and rainwater capture.

Construction work is soon due to start on that development, with the council having appointed Bouygues UK as its main contractor.

Artists impression of 71/72 Kingsway (Image: Swansea Council)

Carwyn says the introduction of greener, more flexible workspaces of this kind will help meet people’s needs, as the city emerges from the pandemic.

He said: “The working from home trend during the pandemic means office environments will no doubt change. Rows of desks are perhaps not the way forward now, with workspaces set to become more flexible and greener.


“That will be the case at our development too, with analysis to be carried out on how these environments benefit the well-being of people living and working there.”

(Lead image: Hacer / Swansea Council)

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