MULTI-MILLION pound plans to make Swansea’s Castle Square a place where not just protesters spend time have been taken forward.
A focal point for rallies and protests but not a lot else, the square of the not-too-distant will have two cafe-restaurant pavilions with outdoor seating, and more trees and greenery and wildflowers than currently.
A water jet feature with mini-fountains will replace the existing fountain, and the large TV screen will be replaced with a new one.
“This will be greatly welcomed I’m sure by the public, who have also showed a yearning to go back to far more greenery in the city centre,” said Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, who introduced a report on Castle Square at a cabinet meeting on December 16.
He described the plans as “quite spectacular”, and thanked the architects commissioned by the council for drawing up the scheme.
The cost of the project is not yet known – the main contractor is expected to be appointed in 2022 – but cabinet voted to add the scheme to its capital spending programme for the next financial year.
In February cabinet approved £782,000 on project development costs, covering detailed designs, planning and a public consultation. It was hoped then that the new-look square would be completed by the end of 2022, but the second half of August 2023 is the latest estimate.
The December 16 cabinet report said some grant funding was coming the council’s way.
Revenue income from the tenants of the pavilions will be ring-fenced for maintenance of the square, which was formerly Castle Gardens.
The overwhelming majority of people who responded to the consultation about the proposals backed the idea of more green space, and nearly three-quarters liked the idea of cafe or restaurant units.
Deckchairs have occasionally found their way onto the square – notably when Wales’s football team advanced to the semi-finals of Euro 2016.
Council leader Rob Stewart said the project would complement recent or ongoing upgrades on Wind Street and The Kingsway, as well as the Copr Bay indoor arena development.
“I think it’s a fantastic design which has been brought forward,” he said.