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Community giving views on plans for city centre cycle lanes

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Residents and businesses in Swansea have been invited to help shape a proposed walking and cycle route through the city.

Swansea Council has identified Walter Road and Sketty Road (A4118) as a key strategic route into and out of the city centre and is hoping the road, which travels through the heart of Uplands and Sketty, can be improved to encourage more people to cycle and walk.

A series of drop-in sessions have been held recently, so locals can give their views on the proposals – which would see individual cycle lanes created, along with improved pedestrian footways and better crossing facilities.

The Council has previously secured funding from the Welsh Government’s Active Travel programme to look at the design and feasibility of creating a route.

Mark Thomas, Cabinet Member for Environment Enhancement & Infrastructure Management, said: “If we want to see an increase in people cycling and walking, particularly for those wanting to commute into the city centre, we need to ensure we have good, safe infrastructure to meet the needs of everyone.

“Residents and businesses in the area have been talking to us about the plans and we want to hear from as many people as possible prior to us agreeing a scheme.”

Once a scheme has been approved, the Council will aim to secure funding for development of the route.

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Cllr Thomas added: “Our hope is we can secure the funding to build the route and in the future look at developing further walking and cycling links between Walter Road and nearby communities and increase the opportunities throughout the city for more sustainable transport.”

The public can view current active travel schemes in Swansea, including the proposals for Walter Road/Sketty Road, as well as taking part in a short survey on their travelling habits along the road.

(Lead image: Google Maps)

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Killay

New figures show parts of Swansea have the highest unemployment rate in Wales

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Swansea West has the highest unemployment rate in Wales – over double the national average according to new figures.

Figures from the Senedd (Welsh Parliament) research department show that Swansea West had an unemployment rate of 8.3% compared to the Welsh national average of 3.8% and the UK average of 4.5%.

Swansea West covers areas more typically associated with an affluent part of the city including Sketty, Killay and Dunvant, however it also covers more deprived parts of the city including Townhill, and Castle ward – which covers large parts of the city centre.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats said the figures show that the Welsh Government are failing to create long-term jobs in the region and are calling for urgent investment to create new jobs. 

Commenting on the figures Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said: “These figures are absolutely shocking, there is no justification that allows for unemployment in Swansea West to be this high. The city has a strong history of entrepreneurship and innovation, but we need the Welsh Government to increase investment to provide more opportunities to people. 

“Swansea West already has a child poverty rate of 32 per cent, the best way to reduce this poverty remains to provide good quality employment opportunities to people living in the area. The Welsh Government must urgently increase job creation schemes in the city.”

Michael O’Carroll, the spokesperson for Swansea West Liberal Democrats added: “These figures are extremely disappointing to see and the people of Swansea West deserve better. Under a Welsh Labour government in Cardiff Bay and a Welsh Labour Council administration in Swansea Guildhall, there has been insufficient focus on creating good quality jobs, especially for young people and graduates. 

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“We have many excellent, home-grown businesses in the area but do not do enough to attract inward investment.  I am glad that the Welsh Liberal Democrats will continue to press both the Welsh Government and UK Government to promote investment in the whole of Wales, not just in Cardiff.”

Leader of Labour-run Swansea Council, Cllr Rob Stewart has hit back at the claims however, pointing to the huge amount of investment currently underway in the city.

Cllr Stewart said: “Investment of over £1bn is underway in Swansea at present including £135m in the new Copr Bay Arena development which is part funded by Welsh Government through the £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal. The Lib Dems had opposed these job creation and investment plans and have criticised the council for borrowing to invest. 

“Three new local employment and innovation hubs are planned with 2 already under construction in the city, and we have a significant development pipeline over over £2bn which is a record for Swansea. Together these schemes will create and secure thousands of local jobs. Our local economy is expected to grow at around 8% this year and we are independently rated as one of the best places in the U.K. for investment.

“This is dramatically different to the situation under the Lib Dem administration that ran Swansea from 2004-2012. They crashed parts of the city economy with the disastrous Kingsway redevelopments, outsourced Swansea jobs to Scotland and left the council with record borrowing. We will take no lessons from the Lib Dems, who lets not forget were the co-architects of the failed austerity programme which brought misery to millions when they were in Government with the Tories.”

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(Lead image: iStockPhoto)

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Art

Murals brighten up Sketty and Tycoch utility boxes

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Gower College Swansea has recently funded the painting of three telecom boxes near their campuses, two at Sketty Green and one at Tycoch.

The project, in partnership with local Councillors Mike Day and Cheryl Philpott, aims to improve the community feeling around the campuses. The work was carried out by Ffion Nolwenn, a past student of the College from local company, Fresh Creative Co.

“We are very proud to have funded the painting of telecoms boxes,” says Deputy Principal of Gower College Swansea, Nick Brazil. “Ffion, who also worked with our Visual Arts learners earlier in the year, has executed the designs brilliantly.”

The work is based on different elements of the College and local surroundings. Tycoch’s features a geometric design incorporating the colours of Gower College Swansea’s logo. One box at Sketty Green displays a painting of Sketty Hall Business School through the trees on the front and cherry blossoms on the back. The other features oak leaves, acorns and a squirrel, reflecting the name and distinctive features of the area – Derwen Fawr (large oak).

Cherry blossoms feature on the back of this utility box (Image: Gower College Swansea)

“I really enjoyed working with the themes given to me,” says Ffion. “Colour plays an important role in my work, and when I can, I like to tie in the seasons – hence the Autumn theme of the oak design.

“The box opposite the Tycoch campus was inspired by the colour scheme of the logo. I wanted the colours to pop and be the main feature, which is why I chose a geometric design.

The geometric design was influenced by the Gower College Swansea logo (Image: Gower College Swansea)

“The Sketty Hall design was inspired by my walks through Singleton Park, seeing the hall peeping through the trees. The cherry blossom on the back was a nod to the tree that used to stand in Sketty Green. The lady who lives opposite wanted a little memory of that tree.

“It has been an absolute pleasure working in the Sketty area. I have met many lovely locals and it is a joy being able to bring more colour to the streets,” she says.

Gower College Swansea brightens up community in partnership with local company and councillors (Image: Gower College Swansea)

“We’ve all been through a difficult time recently, so it’s lovely to see the area brightened up by such wonderful painting!” says Councillor Mike Day. “Everyone has been blown away by Ffion’s work and skill. And we are all grateful to Gower College Swansea for their sponsorship. It’s a real demonstration of the College’s commitment to the community of Sketty. And Ffion’s work is a shining example of how the College helps to develop the talents and skills people have.”

(Lead image: Gower College Swansea)

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