Affordable housing agreement signed as part of £1 billion Swansea regeneration

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8th December 2020

Swansea Council has signed an agreement with Pobl Group, Wales’ largest Registered Social Landlord, to manage 33 affordable apartments as part of Phase One of the Copr Bay regeneration project. The £135 million mixed-use scheme is one of several imaginative developments within an ambitious £1 billion city-wide programme, making it one of the largest urban transformations currently underway in Europe.

The scheme is helping us realise, during construction and from opening, our ambitious plans for jobs, economic benefit, and homes within an appealing and sustainable environment.

Rob Stewart, Leader of Swansea Council, commented: “Copr Bay Phase One on its own will generate an additional £73.3 million GVA into the local economy during development and at least £17.1 million every year once operational. During the development phase, it is creating some 1,260 construction jobs in Swansea. Once operational, it will create 593 net additional jobs in the local economy, with a target of 70 per cent to be filled by local residents.”

Robert Francis-Davies, Cabinet Member for Investment, Regeneration and Tourism, added: “This means the scheme is helping us realise, during construction and from opening, our ambitious plans for jobs, economic benefit, and homes within an appealing and sustainable environment.”

Pobl is a not-for-profit organisation that has over 15,000 homes under its management across Wales. The group currently has 36 developments ongoing with the construction of 1,234 homes in progress.

In Swansea, Pobl’s development of 52 apartments in Orchard House is scheduled for completion in March, while it is anticipated that the innovative Biophilic Living scheme, which will see 50 apartments built on the site of the old Woolworth store, will get underway in the spring. Work is about to commence on a collaborative project with Coastal Housing to develop a new community of 144 zero carbon homes to the west of the city.

All the apartments in Copr Bay Phase One will be affordable homes, targeted at those working in Swansea city centre, particularly key workers. Funded by Pobl Group and the Welsh Government, the homes will consist of 13 one-bed apartments for up to two people, and 20 two-bedroom apartments for up to three people. Copr Bay Phase One is being funded by Swansea Council, and is centred around a 3,500-capacity live performance arena and conference centre which is part-funded by the Swansea Bay City Deal, a £1.3 billion investment fund set-up for major transformation projects in this region of South Wales. The arena will be operated by the global leader in live theatre, The Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG).

Copr Bay, the newly revealed permanent name for the development previously called ‘Swansea Central’, uses the Welsh spelling for copper to herald the city’s world-leading contribution during the industrial revolution, and celebrates its world-famous coastline. It will bring together culture, entertainment and leisure, and links the city centre to the marina and the expansive sandy beach via a new statement bridge for pedestrians and cyclists, combining improved permeability with iconic design.

As well as the coastal park and bridge, the scheme includes a 3,500-capacity live performance arena and conference centre, a hotel with up to 150-rooms, further restaurants, spacious public realm and the new homes. The scheme is being delivered by Swansea Council working with development manager RivingtonHark, one of the leading city and town centre real estate transformation specialists.

Amanda Davies, Group Chief Executive of Pobl Group, said: “The Copr Bay development is an important addition to the city. It is within the city centre’s Castle ward that has a strong need for more affordable housing and emphasises the Council’s commitment to address the accommodation needs of the region. The new homes are in a great location, close to the new coastal park, and will provide much needed quality accommodation for the local community.”

Swansea Council aims to double the city’s green infrastructure over the next ten years, including a ‘green artery’ that will connect Swansea Station to the beach and the marina through planting and soft interventions, including Copr Bay’s 1.1-acre coastal park. The scheme adheres to the Well-Being of Future Generations Act. This law, unique to Wales, requires public bodies to consider the long-term impact of decisions to reduce poverty, health inequalities and climate change.  This underpins Swansea Council’s goal to be a net carbon zero organisation by 2030, and an ambitious vision for the city to be net carbon zero by 2050, a target that was agreed by the council’s cabinet in November 2020.

The new coastal park is the first park to be built in the city since the Victorian age and will provide attractive green spaces plus facilities for outdoor events. It will extend the green artery in the city, creating a home for local wildlife and a place for local residents to relax. Plans are in-hand for wifi across the scheme, including throughout the coastal park, making it ideal for the growing trend of remote working.

Copr Bay Phase Two will include additional homes, retail and offices, such as an office hub for public sector workers. This includes new office space aimed at small businesses and start-ups, particularly as incubator space catering to the needs of students looking to grow their careers in the city after graduation.


Dramatic video marks landmark moment for Swansea

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12th November 2020

The topping out of Swansea’s new, 3,500-capacity arena – a new landmark destination for South Wales – took place with a virtual celebration, in light of current restrictions as a result of COVID-19.

It saw political and business leaders mark the moment together, digitally, via a specially created video.

The film features footage from a drone sweeping through the expansive – and newly named – Copr Bay Phase One district. It takes the viewer around the complex and right up to the arena rooftop over 20m above the road below.

The activity was the latest milestone for the £135m Copr Bay Phase One scheme, a catalyst for the city’s £1bn transformation over the coming few years.

The scheme is being delivered by Swansea Council and funded by the council, the Welsh Government and the Swansea Bay City Deal which includes both UK Government and Welsh Government funding.

Develop Managed by RivingtonHark, it is being built by Buckingham Group Contracting and the arena is to be operated by The Ambassador Theatre Group, (ATG), a global leader in live theatre. The project, with the arena, new 1.1-acre of parkland, homes, commercial units, parking for around 1,000 cars and landmark bridge, is on target to open in the second half of next year.

Those appearing in the topping out video included council leader Rob Stewart, Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Wales David TC Davies, Wales Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport Lee Waters, Members of the Senedd Julie James and Rebecca Evans, Buckingham Group Director Kevin Underwood and ATG Group Operations Director Stuart Beeby.

The film combined drone footage across the site with CGIs and video interviews. It can be seen online here

Council leader Rob Stewart said: “This is a key moment in the transformation of this site and the £1bn regeneration of Swansea city centre.

“The private and public sectors are backing Swansea with ideas, money and action – and people across our communities can be confident in the city’s future.

“Swansea city centre is fast becoming a great place to live, work, study and play.

“Although this was an important moment, we took the pandemic into consideration and chose to do it virtually rather than with a traditional gathering.”

It’s fantastic see a transformative project – one of the biggest in the UK – being delivered in the heart of Swansea

Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said: “It’s fantastic see a transformative project – one of the biggest in the UK – being delivered in the heart of Swansea.

“The UK Government is working to bring greater investment and growth to communities across Wales and this project is going to make a huge difference to Swansea and to the wider region.

“It is something to be excited about and it’s been an incredible achievement to deliver it during some very difficult times.”

Wales Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport Lee Waters said: “The arena will be visible across the sweep of Swansea Bay – and we hope its economic impact will be felt right across the city region.”

Robert Francis-Davies, the council’s cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: “Swansea’s ambitions are coming together!

“We’re already blessed to live on the UK’s best bay – now the arena illustrates how we’re delivering a first-class destination city centre.

“This development is going to be the catalyst to drive all the ambitions we have so I urge investors to take a look at us; they won’t be disappointed.”

Buckingham Group Director Kevin Underwood said: “We’re delivering high-quality work on this very special project – a fantastic flagship development for the centre of Swansea. We’ve reached an important milestone in the construction of this innovative arena and I look forward to it hosting some fabulous shows in the near future.”

ATG Group Operations Director Stuart Beeby said: “With this major milestone reached, everyone can start to see what a premier building the Swansea Arena is going to be.

“An arena of this calibre deserves to be filled with world class acts and we’re already booking in shows with some of the industry’s top promoters.

“Swansea’s new future as a destination for the best live entertainment is closer than ever.”

Copr Bay Phase One under construction

How the arena in Copr Bay will look


Digital technology that gives a view of the future as part of £1 billion Swansea regeneration

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11th November 2020

Pioneering technology has been unveiled at a Swansea city centre regeneration project, allowing visitors to peer into the future.

Lookout, which launched today, 11 November, at the £135 million Copr Bay arena complex development off Oystermouth Road, Swansea, is a public engagement area including advanced technology that combines archive and historical images with digital innovation. At the heart of the free attraction are digital binoculars, each with a viewing screen. They give local residents and visitors the opportunity to view interactive visuals that combine current images with how the city will look in a few years as the city centre-wide £1bn regeneration story develops.

As an added interactive element, viewers will have the opportunity to capture a picture of themselves and see their own image inserted into the Copr Bay district.

The partnership between the Copr Bay Phase One development and the University will give local residents and workers an innovative look at what our future city holds in store.

Rob Stewart, Leader of Swansea Council, commented: “Swansea is renowned for its cutting-edge expertise in areas such as life science, advanced engineering, materials, low carbon technologies, digital technology and creative industries. This innovation is emphasised by Swansea University, a world-leader in championing digital technology. The partnership between the Copr Bay Phase One development and the University will give local residents and workers an innovative look at what our future city holds in store. The Lookout installation highlights how this city is fast becoming a best-in-class hub for design and digital innovation.”

Copr Bay, the newly revealed permanent name for the development previously called ‘Swansea Central’ heralds the city’s significant industrial heritage and world-famous coastline. It will bring together culture, entertainment and leisure, and links the city centre to the marina and the expansive sandy beach. Phase One is being delivered by Swansea Council working with development manager RivingtonHark.

Delivered by Swansea Council as part of its art strategy and managed by RivingtonHark, Lookout has been designed to offer opportunities for insight and reflection by visitors around the development, emphasising the history, current building works and future attractions, as well as highlighting innovation and talent in Swansea.

The blueprint for the interactive digital displays was developed by Anna Carter, a PhD student at Swansea University’s Computational Foundry working in the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training with Professor Matt Jones, Dr Jen Pearson, Dr Simon Robinson and Gavin Bailey.

Lookout’s futuristic viewing devices are hands-free operated, making them Covid-safe and accessible to people of all abilities. Two devices will be installed at different heights to be enjoyed by adults, wheelchair users and children. Tom Henderson of Swansea-based Henderson Engineering produced the digital binoculars from the RivingtonHark concept.

The binoculars at Lookout combine current, archive and historical images with future perspectives, giving an engaging view of how Swansea will look in a few years.

Professor Jones said: “Digital technology goes well beyond mobile phones and computers. Our research is all about putting people at the heart of innovation in the digital economy. This includes considering how Artificial Intelligence and big data can become more human-centric, thereby creating greater opportunities. The binoculars at Lookout combine current, archive and historical images with future perspectives, giving an engaging view of how Swansea will look in a few years.”

Located immediately to the south of St Mary’s Church, the binoculars at the Lookout will feature content that can change throughout the duration of the construction with new visuals, information and interactive displays, ensuring local people and visitors can experience something new each time they visit. Enhancing the immersive experience further, the Lookout installation will be surrounded by greenery, including new trees and seating, giving visitors a conceptual preview of what is to come with Copr Bay’s 1.1-acre coastal park. Artificial grass has been installed at the Lookout for durability, whereas the parkland will be a relaxing haven for biodiversity.

Completing the setting of the Lookout is an eye-catching graphic produced by Swansea-based creative media company iCreate which gives an insight as to how the development will look.

Anna Carter said: “I chose to study at Swansea University because it’s the only university that offers the opportunity to study technology with an intense focus on human interaction. This collaboration with Copr Bay Phase One felt like a natural partnership, since people and design innovation are central to the plans for the district. I hope the binoculars at Lookout will provide a really constructive visual aid to the exciting developments taking place within the city in an interactive and engaging way.”

The 3,500-capacity arena will be the first venue in the UK to feature an innovative lighting display – more than 70,000 LED lights that can create displays of dynamic artwork. Other aspects of the scheme will include car parking, a landmark bridge, the coastal park, commercial units and apartments. Copr Bay will bring new jobs and act as a catalyst for further investment in the city. The arena will be run by global entertainment operator ATG.

Copr Bay Phase Two will include additional homes, retail and offices, such as an office hub for public sector workers. This includes new office space aimed at small businesses and start-ups, particularly as incubator space catering to the needs of students looking to grow their careers in the city after graduation.


Vibrant future district will reflect city’s rich Welsh and industrial heritage

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9th November 2020

The £1 billion transformation of Swansea city centre will take a major step forward this month with main construction work on one of the regeneration’s flagship developments, ‘Swansea Central’, starting onsite on 27 November. An integral part of the ambitious city-wide regeneration, the £135 million ‘Swansea Central’ phase one scheme is a new cultural district encompassing a 3,500-capacity live performance arena and conference centre, a 150-room hotel, a coastal park, striking pedestrian bridge, new homes, offices and food and beverage space, allowing the city to realise its potential to become one of the most exciting places in the UK to live, work, visit and study.



Its name will reflect their Welsh heritage and the thriving industry in which hundreds of thousands of people played a key role.

The district will be known as Copr Bay, using the Welsh word for copper, an industry which saw Swansea help drive the Industrial Revolution.

It will provide entertainment, work and homes for today’s residents and future generations.

Copr Bay links our city’s past to its future – as the scheme itself links our city centre to the sea.

Copr Bay Phase One, complete with 3,500-capacity indoor arena, parkland, homes, commercial units, parking and a landmark bridge, has so far had the working title Swansea Central. It is being delivered by Swansea Council.

Its new place brand and logo designed by Mumbles-based Kneath Associates were unveiled today.

A second phase of the project will follow, with more homes, work spaces and commercial opportunities.

Council leader Rob Stewart said: “Copr Bay links our city’s past to its future – as the scheme itself links our city centre to the sea.

“This area’s Welsh and industrial heritage is important to local people and we wanted to recognise this in the naming of the scheme.

“Both have helped shape the city – and Copr Bay will be a catalyst for our future.

“The name also reflects many architectural touches throughout the district, such as the colour of the bridge and other key structures.”

The logo brings together the name, our vast city beach and Copr Bay’s landmark bridge that will span Oystermouth Road from next year.

Robert Francis-Davies, the council’s cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: “We thank the graphic designers at Kneath Associates.

“Their logo, which will appear around the new district and in marketing materials, brings together the name, our vast city beach and Copr Bay’s landmark bridge that will span Oystermouth Road from next year.”

The team working on the regeneration project along with Swansea-born Marc Rees, the artist who helped design the bridge with architects ACME, were among those who helped devise the branding and graphics.

To help develop the name, a number of local community representatives were invited to take part in a focus group. They ranged from artists to employees at local attractions such as Swansea Museum. Swansea BID (Business Improvement District) was involved along with councillors, council officers and the project team including development manager RivingtonHark.

The Lower Swansea Valley played a key role in Britain’s Industrial Revolution during the 18th and 19th centuries. By the mid-1800s there were 11 major copperworks near the River Tawe, producing around half the world’s output of smelted copper.

Such was the importance of this industry that Swansea became known by the nickname Copperopolis.

That industry is now gone and largely replaced by modern development – and now the city centre is undergoing a £1bn regeneration, with hundreds of millions of pounds being invested by private and public sectors.

Copr Bay is a major part of that. Funders include the Council, the Welsh Government and the Swansea Bay City Deal which is a £1.3bn investment programme by the public and private sectors.

Copr Bay Phase One is due to open in the second half of next year.