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Swansea to get temporary pop-up park set to boost city nature

Credit: Swansea Council

Swansea is to get a new green park that will help bring even more nature in the city centre.

Projects such as the planned development of Castle Square will benefit from the temporary pop-up park that’s about to be installed in front of the Iceland supermarket in the former St David’s Shopping Centre.

The pop-up, being created by Swansea Council as a mechanism to demonstrate some future urban planting options, will be a boost for health and well-being and will improve the area’s biodiversity.

Credit: Swansea Council

Council leader Rob Stewart said: “We plan a number of major city centre developments over the coming years – and we want them to reflect our aim for  a greener and more biodiverse city.

“This temporary pop-up is close to the site of future developments such as Swansea Central North, Castle Square and a new services hub at the former BHS building.

“It’ll influence them and other key projects as it’ll be used to trial a wide variety of pollinator-friendly plants and nature-based solutions.

“It will celebrate Swansea’s rich natural environment and will help us use nature to make our city more resilient to the impacts of climate change and more able to contribute to delivering nature recovery.”

The pop-up park, being installed now, is being delivered by the council in partnership with Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and the Welsh Government’s Local Places for Nature Challenge Fund.

It will feature more than 40 wooden planters with a variety of themes, including wild meadows, cliffs and dunes, and natural hedgerows.

They’ll look different as the seasons change and will provide year-round support for butterflies, bees and other insects, providing food and shelter from flowers to berries.

The planters will have integral seating for shoppers, city centre residents and visitors to relax and meet.

There will be trees and, in due course, green-roofed cycle shelters. Once Swansea Central North is developed, the pop-up’s greenery will be relocated elsewhere in Swansea.

Fran Rolfe, senior green infrastructure officer with Natural Resources Wales, said:

“With a nature emergency declared in Wales, it’s more important than ever to do everything we can to help protect our biodiversity, encouraging it to flourish, especially in urban areas such as Swansea city centre.

“I’m really excited with this city centre pop-up park and hope it’ll provide opportunities for people to learn more about biodiversity and will open up conversations about how we can bring more nature into our city and town centres.

“Another critically important benefit of providing the pop-up park is the positive impact nature can have on our health and wellbeing. I hope people visiting the city centre enjoy the extra green space. After all, us humans deserve good habitats too.”

Climate Change Minister Julie James said: “The pandemic has given us all a greater appreciation of nature and its importance on our health and mental wellbeing.

“This pop-up park is a fantastic, innovative way for people from all backgrounds and abilities to learn how these green spaces are important for their communities as well as nature.

“It will show how nature can be integrated into town centre design and how people could get involved in further small local level actions, so important as part of the collective effort needed to tackle the nature emergency and support the variety of plants and animals we love to see in Wales.”

Council cabinet member Andrew Stevens said: “Swansea’s natural environment is already outstanding, making up over 80% of the county’s land area.

“Its diversity of landscapes and habitats, including farmland, upland moorlands, coastal cliffs, sandy beaches, woodlands, wetlands, river valleys and estuaries, combine to make it one of the UK’s most attractive and ecologically rich counties.

“We want to make it even better as we regenerate the city centre, help improve people’s health and well-being, and help tackle climate change and the nature emergency.

“The temporary pop-up park is designed to inspire future developments to include more nature.”