Swansea’s European-style boulevard plan gets £38m funding
A European-style boulevard for Swansea has moved a step closer with the announcement of a £38 million funding boost to transform the city.
It is being hailed as the most significant investment here in 50 years — reinforcing Swansea’s status as the regional capital of South West Wales and tackling deprivation at the same time.
Deputy Minister for Regeneration, Leighton Andrews will outline the city’s future look to Swansea and business leaders this morning.
He said the project would contribute significantly to the regeneration of Swansea, help create a more attractive climate for further investment, stimulate commercial confidence, support the retail sector and create more jobs.
“Earlier this year I announced that the city centre would benefit from its designation as a strategic regeneration area and this new package of funding will address some of the social and economic issues including unemployment,” he said. “It will drive forward a major programme of physical regeneration projects geared to support economic growth and tackle some of the issues affecting communities within the city centre area.It will lay the foundations designed to bring long-term economic and social benefits to businesses, people and communities in the region.”
A key element is the creation of a boulevard. This involves major work to Oystermouth Road, Victoria Road and Quay Parade, improved links between the city centre and the waterfront, and enhancement of public areas including landscaping, footpaths, cycleways, street furniture and public art.
The boulevard will eventually extend from the Tawe Road bridge to the Civic Centre.
A new Property Development Fund will provide gap funding for the construction of new offices and the refurbishment of existing offices in the city centre.
Meanwhile, there will be grants to improve buildings and shop fronts, as well as environmental improvements across the city.
Funding will also be targeted at public area improvements in three key waterfront locations on the riverbank and seafront promenade, between the Tawe Bridges and the Civic Centre.
The investment bid was led by Swansea Council, with the package made up of £28million coming from the Assembly (including £20million from the Convergence European Regional Development Fund) and cash from other sources.
Social benefit clauses will be incorporated into the public works programme to tackle deprivation by providing supply opportunities for local businesses and jobs and training for residents.
Council leader Chris Holley said: “This is one of the most significant investments in Swansea during the past 50 years and is wonderful news for the city.
“It’s been our ambition for many years to improve connections between the city centre and the waterfront and I’m delighted this investment will help us achieve that.
“This major investment will also build on the work already underway in the city centre and will help to support businesses and boost the local economy.
“We are now in the position to deliver a number of key projects and work with our developers Hammerson to transform the city centre.”
The announcement, which confirmed the Convergence funding approval, comes hot on the heels of the £11 million Quadrant bus station redevelopment, also backed by the Assembly and the Convergence fund, each of them contributing £5 million.
Swansea Council has commissioned a special three-minute fly-through of the multi-million pound bus station redevelopment to give people a better idea of how it will all look when it’s completed in 12 months time. To view the fly-through and to find out more visit www.swanseacitycentre.com/busstation