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Castle Square: Public to shape its green and welcoming future

A bright new future for a major Swansea focal point moved a big step closer today.

CastleSq090221

Swansea Council's cabinet discussed a smart new concept for the city centre Castle Square - one that introduces more greenery, fun and reasons to visit.

The cabinet liked the design concept so today instructed officers to ask the public, businesses and special interest groups for their views to help shape Castle Square's detailed design. The formal public engagement process will begin shortly.

Before any final decision is taken, with the public's views on board, the cabinet must agree to fund the project and a full planning process must be followed, including further public consultation.

The plans show that the amount of space for people to gather, sit out and relax would remain the same. Green space would grow to cover to more than 40% of the space. Biodiversity would increase and most existing trees would remain, with new trees planted.

A dynamic new 21st Century concept, with a keen eye on the location's green past, the initial design sees the existing water feature removed. Playful new attractions would be introduced and new opportunities to eat and drink.

The plans would see:

  • Green space increased significantly
  • A greater number of trees
  • Permanent food and drink units
  • A fun water jets feature with mini-fountains
  • An upgraded paved area
  • Caer Street and Castle Bailey Street made more pedestrian-friendly

The vision, which takes into account public opinions expressed to the council over the past few years, has been drawn up by respected architects ACME.

A new-look Castle Square could open as early as late next year.

Council leader Rob Stewartsaid: "We want Castle Square to play a key role in the city's £1bn regeneration programme that's already making Swansea a place where people want to live, work, study and spend quality free time.

"We want to increase the time that visitors spend in Castle Square, make it suitable for a range of events and make it more active, distinctive and vibrant.

"It will be greener, more welcoming and much more family friendly - a Castle Gardens for the 21st Century.

"When the public consultation opens next week, I urge everybody to make their views known in the subsequent few weeks."

Robert Francis-Davies, the council's cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: "Our new design concept shows that the future Castle Square would be accessible to all. It would remain a pivotal focal point for events and gatherings such as those held there before the pandemic.

"There are good examples in other towns and cities, where public squares with food, drink and fun are very successful indeed. They offer people what they want - a convivial atmosphere with modern comfort.

"We think the Swansea public will enjoy the thought of relaxing in this space which will have playful features and a large amount of greenery."

Today, the cabinet discussed the results of a feasibility study that recommends the smart new Castle Square concept.

Comments from public consultations on various city centre schemes over the past four years have guided the development of options for the site.

A fresh public engagement process - over around three weeks - will now gather further public views to influence the detailed design. It will be widely promoted, including on the Castle Square big screen.

The total cost of the scheme would be £6m-£9m. The work would be funded in a number of ways, including from the council budget. Revenue would include income from leases on the food and drink units. The big screen would remain.

ACME director Friedrich Ludewig said: "Castle Square is Swansea's central public space, and we are delighted that cabinet approval has been given to transform it into a green garden and event space, with more flower planting, a spectacular new water feature and new cafes.

"The square will celebrate local materials and history, a setting for the historic castle, and a digitally activated event space for markets, performances and informal play.

"Castle Square, the new Oystermouth Road bridge and the indoor arena's coastal park by ACME will create a new green spine through the city centre, the largest transformation of Swansea's public space since the 1960s."

More: www.swansea.gov.uk/castlesquaredevelopment

Images: Castle Square today - and how it may look in future.

Castle Square Regeneration - 01

Castle Square Regeneration - 02

Castle Square vision (view from Princess Way roundabout)

Castle Square Regeneration - 04

Castle Square Regeneration - 05

Castle Square Regeneration - 06

Castle Square Regeneration - 07

 

 


 

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