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Government approval for City Deal plans step closer

DISCUSSIONS with senior UK and Welsh Government officials are now at an advanced stage as a multi-million pound City Deal project earmarked for Swansea edges closer to approval

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The discussions follow an independent review into the Swansea Bay City Deal, which found the business case for the Swansea City and Waterfront Digital District project to be 'fit for purpose'.

Recommending immediate approval for the project, the review was commissioned by both governments to help speed up delivery of the £1.3 billion City Deal across South West Wales.

The £168.2 million Swansea City and Waterfront Digital District project includes a digital indoor arena and digital plaza at the LC car park site, and a digital village for tech businesses on Kingsway. Also included is a box village and innovation precinct development for start-up businesses at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David campus in SA1.

Once the project's business case is approved, a City Deal contribution of £50 million from both governments will follow.

Russell Greenslade, Chief Executive of Swansea BID welcomed the news, saying the projects would help transform the city centre. He said: "I think every one of us who loves Swansea and has a vested interest in seeing the city centre thrive is pleased to see this important regeneration work pressing ahead. 

"I know the 800 or so BID area businesses are invested in the regeneration and the long term benefits it will bring to the city centre in terms of vibrancy, visitor numbers and better accessibility. 

"This is one of the most important chapters of Swansea city centre's history so far and we are all looking forward to seeing it take shape during which time the city centre and its businesses are very much open for business as usual, and we encourage shoppers to support them."

Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said: "As a City Deal Joint Committee, we have accepted all recommendations arising from both an independent review and an internal review we commissioned ourselves.

"Recommendations include the immediate approval of the Swansea City and Waterfront Digital District project, so the council is now in advanced discussions with both governments as we look to secure imminent release of City Deal funding.

"This is vitally important because the council has been proceeding at risk with this project for the benefit of Swansea residents and businesses as soon as possible. Planning approval for the digital indoor arena and digital plaza has already been awarded, and a contractor and operator have been appointed. Work will be starting this summer on site, with completion due by the end of 2020.

"Planning applications for the digital village, box village and innovation precinct developments are also due for submission in coming months, which is further evidence of our commitment to deliver.

"This project will give Swansea a cutting-edge, world class entertainment venue, while also providing our businesses and entrepreneurs with the office space and digital infrastructure they need to thrive."

The Swansea Bay City Deal is an investment in 11 major projects across the Swansea Bay City Region, which is being funded, subject to the approval of business cases, by the UK Government, the Welsh Government, the public sector and the private sector. It's projected to create over 9,000 high-quality jobs and give the regional economy a £1.8 billion boost in coming years.

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