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Council depot plan would see improvements for public

Plans to transform a council depot would bring benefits for the whole community, senior councillors pledged today.


They said their vision to change Home Farm from a rundown, largely hidden works yard to an attractive area of housing, gardens and landscaping would:

  • Improve and preserve historic buildings for future generations
  • Make a site of great heritage accessible to all
  • Retain neighbouring parkland
  • Keep traffic levels similar to today

Swansea Council leader Rob Stewart said: "Not a blade of grass would be touched in the neighbouring parkland.

"We would keep tight control of any development and would turn this unattractive, largely unseen location into something of which Swansea people could be proud.

"Home Farm dates from the mid-1800s. We want to give this important heritage site the attention and bright future it deserves."

"Its existing buildings would be sensitively transformed into homes and the location safeguarded for future years."

The council's cabinet today (note: April 18) approved a move to seek expressions of interest for a joint venture partner to work with the council on the Home Farm project and four other sites earmarked for new development: the former Gorseinon Business Park, in West Street, Gorseinon; land at Mynydd Newydd Road/Milford Way, Penplas; land at Midland Place, Llansamlet; and land at Mynydd Garnllwyd Road, Morriston.

The council now aims to produce a detailed scheme plan Home Farm, a brownfield site next to the south-west corner of Singleton Park - and will undertake further surveys in order to work towards the submission of a detailed planning application.

Initial scoping plans show there would be no impact on the pedestrian and vehicle access to the park, other than an improved single-lane roadway - with passing places - from Sketty Lane. No significant trees would be removed from the fenced Home Farm site.

Home Farm dates from the mid-1800s. It includes a small group of farm buildings, yards, stone walls, rails for wagons and the two-storey rubble stone former main farmhouse.

Robert Francis-Davies, cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: "Home Farm offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a wonderful heritage-based development that will enhance its immediate area.

"Our plan would see us refurbish and safeguard these historic pioneering farm buildings for enjoyment by residents and visitors for many decades to come.

"The setting is unique and the result could be a prestigious project that would showcase the exceptional buildings to great effect."

If the scheme went ahead, the council parks staff and operations based there would be relocated. An area of hardstanding on the site, now used as a store for council parks apparatus and with no public access, would be opened up to the public as sensitively developed new-build housing.

Cllr Francis-Davies said: "Feasibility work is being carried out and throughout this scheme there is an emphasis on conservation, heritage, ecology and the site's special status.

"As work progresses we will consult with CADW, local people and organisations. We have already spoken with members of volunteer group the Friends of the City of Swansea Botanical Complex.

"This is an important part of the council's work as we try to get best value for the public from our land assets and as we strive to maintain important structures for future generations. This is crucial as we continue to tackle the effects of austerity which has seen our income from central government fall substantially over the past few years.

"The council would remain open-minded on the form of joint venture arrangement.

"This isn't a case of us selling off an asset - this is us looking for potential commercial partners and for an arrangement that may generate both capital and revenue receipts.

"We want to maximise commercial returns for the long-term good of the community rather than simply sell a site off to a developer for a land value.

"Singleton Park is an urban public park of outstanding historical interest and it will remain so - and we're confident this neighbouring scheme, with its accent on sensitively preserving our heritage, will improve its reputation."

The proposed Home Farm development comprises 42 residential units, including a mix of refurbished buildings and new-build, including affordable housing.

A pre-planning application was submitted to the local planning authority last year.




Home Farm depot proposal - FAQs

Here are some FAQs about our proposal to transform the council depot at Home Farm, Sketty, into an accessible area preserved for future generations.

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