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Options recommended for Castle Square's transformation

Castle Square's transformation into a greener, more vibrant space at the heart of Swansea city centre could soon take a major step forward.

Castle Square

Swansea Council's Cabinet is being asked to consider a report that recommends the preparation of a marketing brief for partial development opportunities at the square.

Both recommended development options would retain the same amount of public space in Castle Square currently enjoyed by residents and visitors. 

One of the preferred options could see commercial units introduced on underused areas of grass and trees located between Temple Street and the square's amphitheatre steps, with split level access.

The other recommended option would explore the potential to develop in the area of the amphitheatre steps themselves, partially extending into square with the opportunity for outdoor decking. A commercial unit at this location would also be split-level, the report says.

Initial assessments of Castle Square suggest it could accommodate one or two café units, incorporating outdoor seating with a footprint of 200 square metres over two floors. There could also be further opportunities to consider one or two kiosk business there in future.

Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said: "Castle Square has been looking tired for some time, so people want something that adds vibrancy there, while introducing more greenery to recreate the charm of Castle Gardens. 

"But we are clear that enhancements in future must retain or increase the amount of public space at the square and support the continuation of public events there, with any new design complementing the new, regenerated Kingsway that's planned.

"We want the square to play an important role at the heart of a regenerated, thriving city centre - a place where people can relax and watch the world go by over a coffee, a snack or an ice-cream. 

"The development options being recommended would help meet the aspirations of residents and visitors, so a marketing brief could soon be prepared as our commitment to transform the city centre gathers even more pace.

"Among the available options, expert analysis shows those being recommended are the most viable."

The report also recommends that Swansea Council acts as developer for the Castle Square site, with an external development manager to be appointed for the enhancement and partial development opportunity there.

Cllr Stewart said: "We want the square to remain in public ownership and the enhancement work to be under the control of the council.  This recommendation would give the council control over the design of the scheme and the future management of the square's public space, while taking less time to implement and deliver. 

"This area is important not just because of its history, but also because the square will link together Swansea Castle, the new Kingsway and the forthcoming Swansea Central scheme on the former St David's shopping centre site in future. 

"Castle Square needs to become an attractive, vibrant focal point for the city centre once again.". 

Transformation of Castle Square, subject to approvals, is likely to begin in 2018.

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