Swansea city centre repurposing strategy
A £1 billion transformation story is under way in Swansea, thanks to major investment from the council, other public sector partners, the private sector and both the UK Government and Welsh Government via the Swansea Bay City Deal.
As a result of this major investment, Swansea is now regarded as being among the best-placed cities in the UK to attract further jobs and investment as it emerges from the pandemic.
We are at the forefront of many developments by committing significant investment into a series of projects and improvements. We have the second highest capital programme in Wales and recently announced a £20 million recovery programme specifically designed to support businesses and communities with their recovery from the pandemic.
City centres across the UK, however, have witnessed significant changes in recent years, owing to the shift to online shopping and the loss of a number of high-profile retailers. So to ensure that the transformation of Swansea city centre continues to deliver positive improvements for residents and visitors, we commissioned a review into the current retail and leisure offer with the aim of identifying further opportunities to continue the sustainable regeneration of the city centre. The conclusions and insights drawn from the review have informed a refreshed high-level, city-wide masterplan, as well as a strategy on how to maximise the existing retail core and address the changing role of the city centre.
The Swansea city centre repurposing strategy set outs the potential key interventions developed to address both the impacts of Covid and the changing nature of the UK retail sector and consumer needs. The proposed strategy builds on the current regeneration strategy set out in the Swansea central area regeneration framework (2016) and the multi-million pound investment in new office and work space, leisure and entertainment, homes and accommodation, better transport links, public realm improvements and more greenery in the city centre.
A shortlist of potential interventions addressing buildings, public realm and policy have been identified, which include:
- the retention of the former Debenhams building as a retail unit
- boosting Swansea Market trade by improving its entrances
- enhancing the look of key gateways in and out of the city centre with public art and more greenery
- introducing a new street food market with links to both Swansea Market and the Quadrant Shopping Centre
- creating a new public area for families at the junction between Oxford Street and Portland Place, including play facilities and seating
The Swansea city centre repurposing strategy will be presented to Cabinet on 16 September 2021 and, if approved, work will take place to further explore each proposal and potential funding sources. Consultation would also be held with residents and businesses.