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Final plans revealed for phase one of Swansea Central

Final plans have been submitted for a £100m scheme to transform a high-profile area of Swansea city centre, in south Wales.

They reveal a dramatic, innovative and hi-tech new look for a huge area of land between the core shopping district and the Marina.

Initial plans won overwhelming public support. Consultation respondents liked the proposed 3,500-capacity digital indoor arena, coastal park, digital plaza, “gateway” landmark pedestrian bridge, new homes and premises for retail, food and drink.

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If permission is granted by Swansea planners in October the major development, known as Swansea Central Phase One, will be built either side of Oystermouth Road – on the LC car park and St Mary’s car park. It will border buildings such as Tesco, St David’s Church and the LC.

Council leader Rob Stewart said:

“We already knew the plans were incredible – now the fine detail takes them to an exceptional new level.

“Local residents and businesses will be inspired when they see them. A new digital flythrough of the final designs is being prepared and will be released shortly.

“We’re pushing ahead with the arena complex from this month (note: August), firstly with enabling works, then main construction.

“The aim will be to complete the build by late 2020. We want Swansea to become a major destination for tours, acts, conferences and events. This scheme will boost our city centre economy by more than £40m per year and create hundreds of new local jobs.

“Swansea Central Phase One will be a world-class development, creating jobs, boosting the economy of Swansea and delivering a one-of-a-kind arena with aspects not seen in the UK before. Local residents and businesses will soon see a transformed city centre that is a truly great place to spend time, live, work and enjoy.

“Working with our partners, including all involved in the £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal, Swansea Central Phase One is just one part of our vision to bring more people into the city centre – to enjoy their leisure time there, to shop, to set up home and to go to work.

“Once the neighbouring phase two of Swansea Central is developed – bringing a mix of enhanced new retail, restaurants and leisure – it will represent £200m of investment.”

Outline planning permission has already been granted for Swansea Central Phase One, and public feedback during consultations was extremely positive with over 85% of people welcoming the plans. Contractors moved onto Wellington Street this month (note: August).

The state-of-the-art arena will be managed by The Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG), a global leader in live entertainment. It is due to be part-funded, subject to the approval of a business case, by the £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal, an investment in 11 major projects across South West Wales being funded by the UK Government, the Welsh Government, the public sector and the private sector.

Swansea Central Phase One will bring a total of more than 20,000 sq m of public space to the city.

This includes the new parkland – with parking underneath. It will be inspired by Swansea’s coastal landscape and will be the first new park in the city since Victorian times. It will be bigger than a football pitch and will help connect the city to its stunning coast and bay as well as supporting city living.

Pedestrian access and transport in the area will be greatly improved by the proposals thanks to the new pedestrian bridge, which will seamlessly connect the city centre with the arena and Marina. It will be on the same level as shops, cafes and restaurants and strengthen the city’s connection with its waterfront. There will be more than 900 car parking spaces as well as highway improvements.

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In addition, there are proposals for a new high quality hotel on the arena site. Further details on this will be revealed in due course with a future planning application expected.

Rivington Land, appointed by Swansea Council, is development manager for Swansea Central Phase One.

Director Spencer Winter said: “The proposals present a truly outstanding scheme for Swansea.

“The arena will bring a new and exciting leisure offering to the city. The coastal parkland will provide some much needed new green space to the city centre, supporting the proposed and future residential aspects of Swansea Central regeneration.”

The architects are ACME, an international practice with offices in London, Berlin and Melbourne.

ACME director Friedrich Ludewig said: “We are delighted that final details for Phase 1 are ready to be considered by Swansea planners.

“This first phase contains the most important part of Swansea Central, the opportunity to bring the city closer to the beaches of Swansea Bay and to bring new urban uses and activities to the heart of the city.

“The bridge, digital square, high-quality parking, major new park and the digital arena are major public investments.  Future phases of Swansea Central will be able to grow and evolve around them.

“We hope the public will see how their consultation feedback has shaped and informed the design, to create buildings and public spaces unique to Swansea and Wales.”

Swansea Central Phase One Highlights Include

[accordion title=”Arena” load=”show”]Operators ATG will carefully plan the events programme to dovetail with other activity around the city. There will be strong communication with other local attractions, neighbours and audiences. Staff will be hired and more than 180 events – including music, comedy, musicals, family, dance and conferences – would take place. The programme will combine the best in UK touring – applicable to the arena – with work that involves the best in Welsh culture.[/accordion]
[accordion title=”Arena Façade Lighting” load=”hide”]The arena’s decorative cladding includes a proposed integrated LED media lighting solution. The lighting will activate the building in the nightscape and communicate to the public by displaying continuous and dynamic colour effects, abstract artwork and video playback. It will be optimised for views of around 200m away.[/accordion]
[accordion title=”Pedestrian Bridge Lighting” load=”hide”]The LED lighting design aims to accentuate the elegant form of the bridge, provide a consistent glow of illumination through the perforated sides, and provide sufficient functional illumination for pedestrians.[/accordion]
[accordion title=”Coastal Park” load=”hide”]The coastal landscape of Swansea Bay provides the inspiration for the park’s hard and soft landscaped areas. It will be designed to be as inclusive as possible, for all ages and backgrounds, for those visitors to the town centre as a place to enjoy lunch or rest after shopping or if visiting the arena for an event, as well as for those users or families visiting the park specifically to enjoy some green space away from the town centre and wanting to dwell longer. It will have a food and drink kiosk, with toilets.[/accordion]
[accordion title=”Landscaping” load=”hide”]The scheme’s landscaping introduces new green spaces, which together with existing green spaces, provide a series of open space “stepping-stones” to form a green artery through the complex. It aims to create public space which is visually and physically linked to the site and neighbouring locations. It reinforces Swansea’s coastal, historical and industrial heritage.[/accordion]