SWANSEA councillors heard more about High Street’s two faces at a meeting in which details of a new police operation were disclosed.
The scrutiny committee was told about the ongoing investment there, and the relocation of businesses to the Urban Village development.
In a few months, more than 500 students are due to move into flats at the Oldway Centre – a stone’s throw from the railway station on High Street.
Another student development at Mariner Street car park – opposite the Oldway Cente – is in the pipeline, while a number of independent retailers have set up lower down High Street.
“There is a lot of really good news in terms of the economic regeneration of the area,” said chief superintendent Martin Jones, of South Wales Police.
But he added: “There are real issues there which we have to face.”
High Street has had a significant amount of media coverage in recent weeks, prompted in part by a pub landlord who claimed the top of the street had been abandoned to crime.
Gez Couch reopened The White Swan last year, but said last month he had had enough after witnessing violence, prostitution and drug offences.
Addressing the scrutiny committee, Mr Jones described the concerns raised in the media as a “valid challenge”.
He said the issues affecting High Street were endemic and complex, and expected the multi-agency work that has been going on there to yield results.
“I am confident in six months’ time you will see a different High Street than you see today,” he said.
He added that the phased enforcement work which will now be carried out was not a “knee-jerk reaction”.
Councillor Cyril Anderson said: “My wife works for Great Western Railway – she’s forever complaining about the scrotes outside (the train station), the drugs, the drink.
“I think we really need to do something with High Street – that’s the face of the city.”
Mr Jones reiterated that some people on the street “have got problems”, but the police were an enforcement service which had a duty towards people arriving by train and the wider community.
A spokesman for Swansea Council said: “There is a huge amount of investment going into High Street that will transform the area and the council is playing its part in delivering this.”
Organisations based on the street include Coastal Housing, Tech Hub and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s business school.
The council spokesman added that grants had been provided to revamp or bring back into use other buildings, including the Grand Hotel, and the derelict 71 High Street, and that support was given for live events and festivals.
He added: “We are also currently working on refurbishments to the High Street multi-storey car park.”