July 30, 2021

Newyddion Cymru Ar-Lein : Wales News Online

Newyddion Lleol a Chenedlaethol Cymru – Local and National News for Wales

£100m plans to transform a high-profile area of Swansea city centre are revealed tomorrow (note: June 13) – and you can have your say on them. They show how the proposed 3,500-capacity digital indoor arena, parkland, plaza, broad pedestrian bridge, homes and retail premises could look. The location of the huge development, known as Swansea Central Phase One, is either side of Oystermouth Road between the Marina and the Quadrant. It will border buildings such as Tesco, St David's Church and the LC. From today you can see the proposals and submit your feedback via the website www.swanseacentral.info. This Friday (note: June 15) from 9.30am-8pm you can see the designs and submit feedback at a public exhibition in St David’s Church Hall, St David’s Place, Swansea, SA1 3NG. Swansea Council and its project team will then review the final proposals, taking public opinion into account, before submitting a planning application this summer. Council leader Cllr Rob Stewart said: “The plans look incredible and I’m confident that local residents and businesses will be inspired by them. I urge them to attend Friday’s exhibition and let us have their thoughts. “This is the final consultation before construction begins - and enabling works are due to start in August. “We want to push ahead with the arena complex as soon as possible because we want Swansea to become a major destination for tours, acts, conferences and events that will boost our city centre economy and create local jobs. “Working with our partners, including all involved in the £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal, Swansea Central Phase One is just one part of our vision to bring more people into the city centre – to enjoy their leisure time there, to shop, to set up home and to go to work.†The state-of-the-art arena will be managed by The Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG), a global leader in live entertainment. It is due to be part-funded, subject to the approval of a business case, by the £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal, an investment in 11 major projects across South West Wales being funded by the UK Government, the Welsh Government, the public sector and the private sector. Swansea Central Phase One will bring a total of more than 20,000 sq m of public space to the city. This includes the new parkland – with parking underneath. It will be inspired by Swansea’s coastal landscape and will be the first new park in the city since Victorian times. It will be bigger than a full-size football pitch and will help connect the city to its stunning coast and bay. School children are being asked what play facilities they would like there. Pedestrian access and transport in the area will be greatly improved by the proposals thanks to the new pedestrian bridge which will seamlessly connect the city centre with the arena and Marina. It will be on the same level as shops, cafes and restaurants and strengthen the city’s connection with its waterfront. There will be nearly 1,000 car parking spaces as well as highway improvements. In addition, there will be a new high quality hotel on the arena site. Further details on the hotel will be revealed at a subsequent date with a future planning application expected. Work has started in the LC car park to assess the former railway wall behind the earth bank which stretches the length of the car park. This investigation will help inform the design of the arena and its immediate vicinity. Early construction work for Swansea Central Phase One would include changes to Wellington Street, between Tesco and the Quadrant car park, including an improved road access to the supermarket. Rivington Land, appointed by Swansea Council, is development manager for the scheme. Director Spencer Winter said: “The proposals take into account previous feedback from the public and present a truly outstanding scheme for Swansea. “The arena will bring a new and exciting leisure offering to the city, while the parkland will provide some much needed new green space to the city – connecting it to its waterfront. “It has been great to see public enthusiasm in Swansea so far for the emerging plans and we hope this will continue at the latest public exhibition. We look forward to receiving further feedback to inform the final stage of design.†ends

Construction starting on Cardiff Bay arena next year as another small venue likely

CONSTRUCTION starting on Cardiff Bay arena next year as another small venue likely

Construction is due to start on the new arena in Cardiff Bay next year and full details of the designs will be revealed in August.

This week a public consultation was launched for the local community to let developers know their views about the arena and the wider redevelopment of Atlantic Wharf.

As well as the 15,000-spectator arena, the redevelopment will include 1,100 apartments, with shops, restaurants and bars, covering 30 acres in total.

Developers will likely submit a planning application for the first phase this autumn. Before that, they will launch a second consultation around August, called a ‘pre-application consultation’, when full details of the designs will be published for the first time.

The arena will likely open in 2025, a year later than previously planned. Its opening could mean the closure of the Motorpoint arena. However, Cardiff council has revealed Live Nation, which runs the Motorpoint and will run the Bay arena, still wants to stay in the city centre.

Live Nation will likely open an ‘Academy’ venue in the city centre, of which they have several across the UK already. These tend to be smaller venues of around 2,000 or 3,000 capacity, smaller than the 7,500 capacity the Motorpoint can hold. It’s unclear where this might be.

Details of the current ‘community consultation’ and how to respond can be found on the website: atlanticwharfcardiff.co.uk; although there are fewer new details here than expected, and no new pictures or designs of the arenas, just vague stock photos.

Councillor Russell Goodway, cabinet member for investment and development, said: “The cabinet approved the masterplan for Atlantic Wharf late last year and as a result we are now ready to commence the public consultation process.

“By making better use of the existing space, we have the opportunity to create a premier UK visitor destination— a leading international culturally diverse area to live, work and enjoy. Connecting Atlantic Wharf to Cardiff Bay provides the possibility of bringing over 1 million visitors to the city annually, resulting in the creation of thousands of new jobs and homes.”

A major part of the plan is improving public transport in the area. This would likely mean building a new metro station on Pierhead Street, with a tram-train line connecting the Bay to St Mellons, where a new Cardiff Parkway train station and park and ride is likely to be built.

Developers are hoping visitors from outside of Cardiff coming to the arena will use public transport to get to the Bay, although they are also building a multi-storey car park on the redevelopment site for those who drive.

A new pedestrian footbridge will be built over the A4232 connecting the metro station on Pierhead Street with the new arena.

According to the consultation, the developers will focus on making sure some of the economic benefits of the redevelopment will be felt by the local Butetown community— a key criticism of previous redevelopments in the Bay was that they gentrified the area.

Cllr Goodway said: “At the heart of the proposal is the drive to improve public transport across the area as part of the South Wales Metro programme, with a new transport hub connecting the city, the Bay and St Mellons to support the movement of people.

“The consortium has committed to working with the council’s ‘Into Work’ services to ensure job and training opportunities are created during both the development and operational phases of the arena and hotel with a real focus on identifying job opportunities for local people.”

The arena will likely create 500 jobs during construction and another 500 when in operation. Space will be included for local musicians to rehearse.

The Travelodge hotel on Hemingway Road would be demolished to make way for a new public square, and a new hotel would be built to the north of the arena.

Plans for another new city centre music venue were revealed on Thursday, May 20, during a meeting of the cabinet. The council is currently discussing with Live Nation about whether they want to remain at the Motorpoint once the Bay arena is built.

A recently revealed masterplan for a separate major redevelopment, around Churchill Way in the east of the city centre, showed the Motorpoint replaced by hotels, offices and apartments. If it were demolished, Live Nation could open a smaller venue in the city centre.

During the cabinet meeting, Cllr Goodway said: “We are having discussions with Live Nation. They have what they call an ‘Academy’ product which is a smaller scale events space and they would like to retain a city centre presence.

“We will work with them to see how we can build that as part of this overall redevelopment. The issue is the existing Motorpoint arena perhaps doesn’t fit: it’s too big to be a small venue but it’s not big enough to be the type of venue that we’re building in the Bay.

“We will continue to work with them to ensure that there is a city centre cultural offer.”

Responding to recent public criticism of the redevelopment plans around Churchill Way, known as the ‘canal quarter’, Cllr Goodway explained the council needs private developers to build hotels and offices in order to pay to reopen the canal buried underneath the road.

He said: “I note on social media and in the press the appetite that a lot of people have to recreate and reinstate the canal, and yet they seem to be reticent about the associated developments.

“What we must emphasise to people is that development will provide the funding to reinstate the canal— because the council isn’t going to identify public funds to make that happen.”

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