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Cranes, hard hats and excavators - how Swansea is building confidence

It's Swansea city centre as you've never seen it - and businesses are getting excited!

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The skyline is starting to get populated with busy cranes - and more will come with the building of the digital arena, the streetscape is bustling with heavy machinery and there has never been such numbers of hi-viz jackets and hard hats.

And the message from those driving the city's radical transformation is: "This is just the start of something big!"

Swansea Council leader Rob Stewart said: "All this positive energy shows that Swansea is building for the brightest of futures.

"Our streets bustling with building activity proves that the city means business for its residents, traders and visitors.

"This incredible amount of heavy plant and high number of construction workers should give the whole population great confidence.

"It will link the city centre to the waterfront, see many more people enjoying leisure time in the city centre, bring work and trade."

Major work under way includes:

  • The creation of a new urban park with improved accessibility on The Kingsway and its neighbouring streets
  • Preparation work for a digital village in and around the former Oceana site for tech businesses. Thus is due to be part-funded, subject to the approval of a business case, by the £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal
  • The creation of hundreds of new student homes in Orchard Street and The Kingsway.

 Major work to come includes:

  • Swansea Central phase 1 near the LC and the Tesco superstore - including a 3,500 capacity digital indoor arena and digital square due to be part-funded, subject to the approval of a business case, by the City Deal. Other elements of the project include parkland, a broad pedestrian bridge, car parking, and residential and commercial units.
  • Swansea Central phase 2 between Castle Square and Oystermouth Road - a mix of retail and leisure alongside a business school.
  • A new look for Castle Square - making better use of this vital public space.
  • New student accommodation in Mariner Street.
  • The roll-out of hi-tech BT Inlinks which will replace city centre phone booths and provide free, fast public Wi-Fi.

The emerging cityscape has the backing of high-profile Swansea businesses.

Ben Wheeler, owner and founder of digital marketing business Copper Bay Creative, said: "As a leading tech company in the region, we're very excited to see the digital transformation of Swansea. Seeing work getting under way provides a great boost to local businesses and we can't wait to see the city evolve over the coming years."

Alan Brayley, chief executive officer of AB Glass, said: "I feel the city region is well overdue for this facelift and it can only be a positive move now, bringing prosperity, wellbeing and great opportunities for businesses operating in the region. We are so pleased to be a part of this regeneration project and are looking forward to greater opportunities well into the future. Great for our city, great for Wales!"

Stephen Evans, director of telecom services business Saecom, said: "Exciting times for Swansea! The developments will bring fantastic business and employment opportunities to the region. As a telecoms company, we are especially looking forward to seeing the roll out of the free public Wi-Fi spots in the city centre, making Wi-Fi accessible to all."

Matthew Morgan, director of construction business Dawnus, said: "As a Swansea based company, Dawnus are proud to be part of this exciting city centre transformation. The Kingsway project is leading the way in the regeneration of Swansea, and Dawnus are committed to delivering this work safely, with minimal disruption to its neighbours and with positive benefits for the local community. The site team maintain regular communication with local stakeholders and in addition to providing sustained employment to our long standing local workforce have provided three new job starts to previously unemployed people from Swansea and training and apprenticeship opportunities."

Steve Norman, managing director of demolition waste removal and recycling business Stenor West, said: "Stenor is a local family-run firm proud to be working and having personnel who live in Swansea. We are excited to be involved with the regeneration of the city centre and are looking forward to seeing the end product."

Alex Parr, managing director of Wolfestone Holdings which delivers professional language services, said: "For an organisation like ours, the planned works in the city centre will bring enormous benefits. For us, it already has. In November 2016, we moved our head office from an old Victorian house on Walter Road to an ultra-modern, open-plan office in the Urban Village on High Street.

"The move has revolutionised our business. Easy access to the train station and M4, leading to a city where you can witness its growth and evolvement before your very eyes, is hugely appealing to visitors. We've seen an improvement in our ability to attract and win high-profile clients and to recruit a very talented workforce who help us to deliver our multi-award-winning language services.

"We're proud to be one of the first businesses to benefit from this transformation and to call Swansea our home."

Wolfestone Holdings comprises three brands: translation giant Wolfestone, voiceover and subtitling specialists VoiceBox, and language training experts, Robertson Languages.

Wolfestone Holdings' head office is in the newly developed Urban Village on High Street.

Cllr Stewart added: "I thank residents, businesses and visitors for their support and patience while this amazing transformation goes ahead.

"Projects as large and complex as this inevitably mean some disruption but we're keeping it to the minimum possible - and the end result will be lots of new jobs, a greener, friendlier city centre and a destination to be proud of."

More: www.swansea.gov.uk/citycentreimprovements

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