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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.


Bird's-eye film captures arena progress

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24th July 2020

Incredible drone footage offers spectacular bird’s-eye view of progress on the £135m Copr Bay Phase One scheme.

Please enjoy this incredible new drone footage taken part-way though the construction process.

It offers a spectacular bird’s-eye view of progress on the £135m Copr Bay Phase One scheme.

You can see work nearing completion on the project’s giant steel frames.

The 3,500-capacity arena is going up next to the LC, on the site of the former Oystermouth Road car park, along with its adjoining two levels of parking with parkland to come on top.

Over the other side of the main road – between Tesco and Iceland – is the steel frame of a larger multi-storey car park and the concrete core of a block that will become homes and commercial units.

The two sides will be connected by a landmark broad footbridge.

Thanks for the pics and film: Buckingham Group Contracting and Global Drone Surveys.

More: www.swansea.gov.uk/SkylineSteel

Aerial view of the new arena construction.


More trees set to be planted as part of arena project

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22nd June 2020

Work is set to start this week on widening a city centre street ready for two-way traffic as part of the Swansea arena project.

Seventeen new trees – including species such as red maple, London plane, and birch – are also being planted close to the Tesco Marina store as part of the scheme in Wellington Street.

The new greenery, supported by the introduction of other plants, will be part of work on the £135m Swansea Central Phase One scheme.

It will accompany improvements to Wellington Street. These will allow improved access to the Quadrant multi-storey and Tesco car parks, and easy access to a 588-space multi-storey being built as part of Swansea Central on the former St Mary’s car park.

The improvement work starts on Wednesday and will take a number of months. Access to the Quadrant car park, Tesco and the street’s coach facility will be maintained.

Mark Thomas, the council’s cabinet member for environment improvement and infrastructure management, said the work will not only improve access to three key locations in the city centre, it will also help Swansea become a greener city.

He said: “Swansea is becoming a greener city and our regeneration projects reflect that, with hundreds of trees appearing in the Kingsway area and planned for the Swansea Central Phase one development.

“This council wants to maintain and enhance Swansea’s natural resources and biodiversity – and Wellington Street is an example of that.

The improvements to Wellington Street will see:

  • New trees planted in a new central reservation at the West Way end of Wellington Street, on the site of the existing Tesco car park entrance and between the Tesco store and the Quadrant multi-storey
  • Existing soft landscaped areas renewed.
  • The Tesco car park entrance move around 40 metres eastwards along Wellington Street
  • Wellington Street between the Tesco store and the Quadrant multi-storey become two lane and two way
  • A bus stop and filter lane installed for motorists heading into the Quadrant car park

Disability parking provision will continue to be close to the store entrance.

Tesco have been fully consulted and city centre businesses are being informed of the changes.

Swansea Central Phase One will include a 3,500-capacity arena which is key to the city’s regeneration.

Other aspects of the scheme will include car parking, a landmark bridge, a coastal park, commercial units and apartments.

It 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.


Aerial photos show Swansea indoor arena taking shape

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10th May 2020

Dramatic new images show how a 3,500-capacity arena is taking shape between Swansea’s city centre and marina.

The drone photos from main contractor Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd – made public for the first time today – reveal how new parts of the Swansea skyline are emerging.

They show steel skeletons of the city’s new indoor arena and allied buildings going up.

Work on the huge steel frames of the £135m Swansea Central Phase One site began to rise around three weeks ago.

Now, a growing part of the arena framework is taking shape on the former Oystermouth Road car park along with a significant part of the multi-storey car park on the opposite side of the road. The latter is 24m tall.

The steel frame work is being undertaken by specialist contractors carefully complying with relevant coronavirus guidelines.

Drone footage of the new Swansea Arena under construction

Council leader Rob Stewart said: “The new images show that this important project is moving ahead at pace. It’s also being done with great care being given to the health of the workforce and public.

“Swansea Central Phase One will help transform Swansea. It’s a catalyst to regenerate Swansea and the region, and – as the recovery goes ahead after lockdown – it will be even more valuable.

“I thank the workers there – including many from South Wales and the steel frame specialists themselves – for making progress whilst working to latest guidelines.”

The £135m Swansea Central Phase One transformation scheme includes new parkland, homes, commercial units and almost 1,000 parking spaces. It is all due to open in the second half of next year.

Work on the arena site by main contractor Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd has continued during the recent period of restrictions, in line with Government and industry guidance which allows construction to continue.

A number of South Wales firms continue to work on site along with others.

The steel frame work is expected to last around three months.

Swansea Council is behind the Swansea Central Phase One, with some funding for the arena coming from the £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal. Some funding for the new bridge comes from the Welsh Government’s Active Travel Fund.


Swansea skyline changing as arena steel structures rise

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23rd April 2020

New parts of the Swansea skyline are emerging as the steel skeletons of the city’s new indoor arena and allied buildings go up.

Work on the huge steel frames of the £135m Swansea Central Phase One site began to rise on Monday.

Now, part of the arena framework is up on the former Oystermouth Road car park along with a central element of the multi-storey car park on the opposite side of the road. The latter, at 24m tall, towers over the neighbouring Quadrant multi-storey.

The steel frame work is being undertaken in innovative ways by the experts putting it up – to ensure they comply with all coronavirus guidelines.

Council leader Rob Stewart said: “It’s encouraging to see the skyline evolving.

“This shows that progress is being made with this scheme that will help transform Swansea.

“As the days and weeks go on much more steel work will go up. Something special is emerging from this key site.

“We’ve always said the arena is a key catalyst to regenerate Swansea and the region, and now – post-lockdown – it will be an even more key icon and catalyst for recovery.

“I thank the workers there – including many from South Wales and the steel frame specialists themselves – for making progress whilst working to latest guidelines. They are keeping this significant scheme safe and advancing well at this difficult time.”

Arena under construction

The work is part of the council’s £135m Copr Bay Phase One transformation scheme which includes new parkland, homes, commercial units and almost 1,000 parking spaces. It is all due to open in the second half of next year.

Work on the arena site by main contractor Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd (BGCL) has continued during the recent period of restrictions, in line with Government and industry guidance which allows construction to continue.

Safety posters are on show around the site.

The steel frame workers themselves, a team of up to 28, travelled from away to do the work. To comply with social distancing guidelines, they travelled in pairs as is permitted under the guidance. During the work, they are living in Swansea at 14 private rented accommodation addresses in those same pairs – and they work on site in those pairs.

To further aid social distancing, they have staggered start, break and finish times. They have daily briefings about their work and coronavirus measures.

Each of these measures helps keep numbers down at any one time in any location on site.

Guidance being followed includes that from Government as well as industry bodies the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) and the British Constructional Steelwork Association (BCSA).

Tim Wood, BGCL’s project director on site, said: “It’s good to see hundreds of tons of steel going up so swiftly, efficiently and safely. The framework is a highly visible and positive step in this incredible project.

“BGCL has strong measures in place to protect its employees, clients and suppliers. Full risk assessments are carried out for those on site and actions undertaken include social distancing where safe and practical – in line with latest guidance.”

South Wales firms on site right now include Evan Pritchard groundwork specialists, Premier Groundworks Solutions, concrete specialist Thames Valley Construction, Bond Demolition, Rowecord Scaffolding, Site Electrical Services, Procomm Temporary Accommodation, Proctor Fencing, Quantum Geotechnic and Thrive Women’s Aid Cleaning Services.

Hundreds of Welsh businesses have attended meet-the-buyer events in recent months as main contractor Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd (BGCL) worked hard to embrace regional specialists.

The steel frame contract was awarded by BGCL to a Scottish based sub-contractor two months ago after a competitive tender process. Their winning bid providing the best value for the project in a judgment based on quality, timescales, experience and cost.

One of the two South Wales firms considered as part of that tender is now working with BGCL on a major project in England.

Cllr Stewart said: “The arena scheme is a transformational regeneration project that’s key to delivering a 21st Century Swansea. Once the crisis is over we will all be able to enjoy it.

“It’s good to see firms from Wales and elsewhere benefiting from the investment. I’m grateful them for their continuing efforts in Swansea.

“We are assured they are working carefully on the site, in line with Government guidance.”

The steel frame work is expected to last around three months.

Swansea Council is behind the Copr Bay Phase One, with some funding for the arena coming from the £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal. Some funding for the new bridge comes from the Welsh Government’s Active Travel Fund.

Latest workplace guidance includes:


Painstaking operation successfully removes Oystermouth Road bridge

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24th February 2020

A 40-year-old footbridge over Oystermouth Road was successfully removed on schedule yesterday and into the early hours of Monday morning.

The footbridge next to the LC was moved in a painstaking operation by specialist contractors using two 25-metre tall cranes.

The bridge, which weighed-in at 150 tonnes, will be replaced in the coming months by an eye-catching gold-coloured covered steel span ranging in width from 6m to 12m and standing up to 6m tall.

This will accommodate the many thousands set to attend events at the indoor arena being developed now by Swansea Council on the former LC car park.

The work is all part of the £135m Swansea Central Phase One transformation scheme which includes new parkland, almost 1,000 parking spaces, homes and commercial units. It is all due to open in the second half of next year.

Council leader Rob Stewart said:
“I want to thank motorists, shoppers and city centre businesses for their support and understanding while this work went ahead. I also want to offer my thanks to all the staff and contractors who took the bridge down safely.

“We didn’t want to disrupt weekday traffic and the decision made sense because weather forecasts predicted that we’d have a break in the stormy weather late on Sunday allowing specialist contractors to come in and do their job.”

The bridge removal was a carefully-planned operation using two large cranes which had to be put together under floodlights on the highway and positioned around the bridge.

Around 25 construction professionals carefully removed the 150-tonne 28m span with the use of two 25m-tall cranes. The operation was managed on behalf of the council by Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd, the principal contractor on Swansea Central Phase One.

Having been detached from footpaths either side of the road and eased to a nearby location on the construction site next to the LC, the bridge will be broken up and taken away for recycling.

CGI of the new bridge

The new bridge will help the regeneration scheme provide a stronger link between city and sea. It will carry hundreds of thousands of pedestrians and cyclists every year.

With the temporary absence of a bridge, pedestrians can cross the main road via nearby ground level lights-controlled crossings at the foot of Albert Row and Princess Way. Thousands use these crossings safely on a regular basis and many more used them safely to access the recent Waterfront Winterland.

Throughout the Swansea Central Phase One construction work over the next 18 months access to city centre businesses, car parks and attractions will be maintained for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

Swansea Council is behind the scheme, with some funding for the arena coming from the £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal. Some funding for the new bridge comes from the Welsh Government’s Active Travel Fund.


Two big leaps forward for £135m Swansea transformation scheme

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6th February 2020

A preferred bidder was announced for the Swansea Central Phase One hotel site. They are the nationally renowned premium hotel operator, Cairn Group, which is in discussions with a number of international hotel brands for the site.

And the design of the scheme’s landmark bridge was unveiled. It is a playful and spectacular gold-coloured interpretation of a striking swan figure. It was designed by respected Swansea artist Marc Rees in collaboration with contemporary architect, ACME.

Swansea Central Phase One is being developed by Swansea Council as a catalyst for wider city centre regeneration. It includes a 3,500-capacity indoor arena, new parkland, almost 1,000 new car parking spaces, commercial units and more than 30 homes.

It is due to be open in the second half of next year. World-leading theatre company ATG will run the arena.

Key funding assistance has come from the £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal – for the arena – and from the Welsh Government’s Active Travel Fund for the bridge.

Swansea Central Phase Two is due to follow, delivering office space, homes, retail and leisure.

Council leader Rob Stewart said: “This is another big day in this transformative project, part of our £1bn-plus rebuilding of the city centre, something the people of Swansea have wanted for a long time.

“I’m delighted to welcome partners here for the latest major announcements and to update them on the exciting progress we’ve made since the start of main construction work in November.

“I’m pleased to announce we have selected our preferred bidder for the new hotel site – Cairn Group are the best in the business in running top class hotels, including venues for big brands such as Hilton, IHG and Accor. This again demonstrates our promise to bring global brands to Swansea.

“The bridge design by Marc Rees, created in collaboration with top rate architects ACME, will provide a dramatic, eye catching new gateway to Swansea. It’s fun, outward looking and forward thinking.

“Swansea Central Phase One will help us become one of the most exciting places in the UK to live, work, study and enjoy.”

CGI of the proposed bridge design

Swansea Central Phase One is being built near the hugely popular LC leisure centre over both sides of the busy Oystermouth Road. The new broad bridge – up to 12m wide – will link the two halves of the expansive site and will provide a strong link between city and sea.

Key business involved include development manager RivingtonHark and principal contractor Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd.

The new hotel will have 150 rooms and will overlook the arena and Marina. Designs of the new hotel will be released in the coming weeks.

Neeraj Handa, director of the Cairn Group, said: “The opportunity in Swansea is huge.

“The new arena alone is set to attract over 230,000 visitors a year to the city, from business visitors using the new conferencing facilities to holiday-makers taking in a show.

“The major improvements across the city, teamed with the remarkable local beaches and attractions, will ensure Swansea becomes an unrivalled destination to visit in the UK, and the demand for quality hotel rooms will boost the current supply.

“Added attractions will include a gym for hotel guests, alongside a public bar and restaurant, adding a new dimension to Swansea’s evening offer.”

The bridge will stand around 6m above the main road. It will range in width from12m to 6m, will be 6m high and 49m long. It will be lit inside by colour-changing LED lights.

The swan design was the idea of artist Marc Rees, commissioned for the bridge design task by the council.

The origami-style steel cutouts clearly feature swan shapes but there’s also a spirited abstract edge to them.

They’ll let in light and offer attention-grabbing patterns in the steel itself and on the floor; these will stimulate discussion and the interest of those such as local children enjoying the bridge with families and friends.

The bridge represents the transition from the past to the future. It symbolises Swansea’s aspiration to evolve, grow, flourish and become even more exciting but still very much rooted in a sense of place.

Marc Rees

Marc Rees said: “The council wanted the design to reflect an authentic local voice and I hope I bring that along with a compelling artistic edge.

“Working on the design with ACME has been exciting. I settled on an origami-style pattern because I wanted the bridge to have a playfulness reflecting its proximity to the arena and park.

“I chose swans because they represent forward movement and change; they also, of course, have a strong Swansea association.

“The bridge represents the transition from the past to the future. It symbolises Swansea’s aspiration to evolve, grow, flourish and become even more exciting but still very much rooted in a sense of place.”

Friedrich Ludewig, director at ACME, said: “We’re delighted that the design of the bridge for pedestrians and cyclists has been unveiled.

“The structure will seamlessly connect the city centre with the arena and Marina, and will become a stepping stone to connect to the beach. ACME has designed the bridge to celebrate the city through the form and appearance of the bridge.

“The pattern on the side panels is inspired by the silhouette of swans, the result of a close collaboration with the Wales-based artist Marc Rees.

“The selected colour and lighting acknowledges the historical link Swansea has to the local copper industry and is complementary to the digital facade of Swansea arena.”

UK Government Minister for Wales David TC Davies said: “The UK Government is working to bring greater investment and growth to communities across Wales and funding the redevelopment of Swansea city centre as part of the Swansea Bay City Deal represents real progress in achieving those aims.

“Working hand-in-hand with local government and business, we will help create new and exciting economic opportunities to unleash the potential of south west Wales.”

Lee Waters, Welsh Government Deputy Economy and Transport Minister, said: “I’m pleased the Welsh Government has helped to fund these improvements.

“The Swansea Bay City Deal will deliver genuine economic growth, and our active travel fund is designed to help local authorities be ambitious and deliver a culture change in how people undertake shorter journeys. Combined they should bring real benefits to Swansea and south-west Wales.”

Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, the Rt Hon Jake Berry MP, said: “This Government is committed to uniting and levelling up the whole of the UK by ensuring there is prosperity and opportunity for people everywhere.

“Our multi-million pound investment in the Swansea Bay City Deal shows this commitment in action and these important milestones will create tourist attractions, attract investment and unleash the potential of the area.”

Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd project director Tim Wood said:  “We have been working closely with Marc Rees and ACME to develop the detailed construction and structural designs for the bridge.

“Our aim is to ensure that the finished bridge delivers the architectural, aesthetic qualities that are required and that it creates a stunning visual gateway to Swansea.”

Mark Williams, executive director of RivingtonHark, said: “Landowners and developers need to be considering how they adapt our cities to cater for changing behaviours in the way we use and engage with our urban landscapes.

“Swansea Central is a truly mixed-use scheme that will provide new spaces within the city for a huge range of audiences, from the local community to growing businesses and holiday-makers. It is more than the sum of its parts. It is a new urban neighbourhood for people.”

The existing Oystermouth Road footbridge is due to be removed shortly.