THE leader of Swansea Council said he believed a new seafront skate park in West Cross would be a “real asset for the bay”, if it gets planning approval.
Cllr Rob Stewart praised Mumbles Community Council for its work promoting the skate park idea and submitting a planning application for it.
There is widespread support for a state-of-the-art skate park in Swansea but concerns have been raised about the lack of dedicated parking and toilets at the Llwynderw site in West Cross, where the current half-pipe is and where the £300,000 replacement skate park is planned.
Speaking at a cabinet meeting where potential development proposals for four seafront sites were considered, Cllr Stewart said: “If the facility does get planning approval, I think people will come to really cherish it and it will become a real asset to the bay.”
The report on the seafront sites, which was approved by cabinet, said Swansea Council’s cultural services department would now engage with the community council and carry out a full due diligence exercise to ensure the proposal was practical and sustainable in the long term.
Addressing cabinet, Mumbles Community Council chairwoman Carrie Townsend Jones said colleagues had spent more than two years looking at alternative sites in the Mumbles area – and that this had been discussed in community council meetings.
This was a reference to comments made in a scrutiny meeting the previous day by Swansea councillor and fellow community councillor Linda Tyler-Lloyd, who said alternative sites had not been discussed at community council meetings.
Mrs Townsend Jones said: “We are not saying Llwynderw is the perfect location but it’s the only one within the Mumbles Community Council area which absolutely met the criteria which we put forward.”
This included most users of the skate park not having to drive into and potentially through Mumbles to get to it.
The community council has earmarked £134,000 towards the project, and would look to allocate extra funding in the coming year’s budget as well as applying for grants.
Cllr Stewart said it would be prudent to investigate a back-up skate park site in case the Llwynderw plan did not come to fruition.
But he added: “This council is very supportive of that (skate park) going ahead.”
He also said he also supported comments by another community councillor, Pam Erasmus, who asked if cabinet agreed that the scheme would attract more people to the area and benefit the local economy.
She said public parking and toilets at Blackpill were just three minutes from the Llwynderw site, while public parking in West Cross was five minutes away.
The decision taken by cabinet will also result in potential design briefs for land at the bottom of Sketty Lane and the Blackpill Lido, but no precise schemes have been put forward at this stage.
There is a firmer proposal for the side-by-side tennis courts and public toilets at Langland, in that the council will now appoint an agent to advertise the site as available for sale or to let on a long leasehold basis.
But whatever scheme comes forward for Langland will need to provide public toilets – and the council would like to see a mix of leisure and commercial facilities.
Meanwhile, a fifth seafront site – on the Mumbles side of The West Cross Inn – has been dropped from the development discussions.
The Labour administration’s proposals for possible seafront development were assessed by the council’s scrutiny programme committee on January 8.
Delivering the committee’s findings, Cllr Mary Jones said most people agreed with some form of development at Sketty Lane and the Blackpill Lido.
“The controversial one is the skate park area and also the Langland tennis courts,” she said.
“I don’t think anyone was against the skate park – the question was the suitability of the site. Another site, or sites, should be identified.”
Cllr Jones also wanted to ensure public access was retained at all the seafront sites, and was keen on further scrutiny of any future decisions.
These decisions are to be delegated to a council director and cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, Cllr Francis-Davies.
Cllr Stewart said future decisions would also be delegated to him, and that there could be “more flexibility for scrutiny.”