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Plan for Swansea digital arena set for planning committee Swansea planning officers are recommending that a detailed proposal for the building of a 3,500-capacity arena near the LC is approved. They will recommend to a planning committee meeting on Tuesday (note: Oct 2) that the expansive scheme is granted planning permission. Approval by committee members would see the arena – described as having a “digitalised facade” – built on the existing LC car park. Associated works on nearby land are also recommended for approval. They include new public space, separate car parks on each side of Oystermouth Road – one being a two-tier structure, the other a multi-storey, a coastal public park, a new pedestrian bridge replacing the existing span, and apartments and commercial units on the northern side of the main road. The scheme in its totality is known as Swansea Central Phase One. An officer report to planning committee members states: “The new arena would support the aspiration to improve Swansea as a visitor destination.” It states: “The development will facilitate the physical and economic regeneration of the city centre through the introduction of new area of public realm and improved crossings over Oystermouth Road.” Officers say the proposal would “provide the economic growth for the regeneration of Swansea city centre and strengthen its role as a regional shopping and leisure destination.” They say it is anticipated that Swansea Central Phase One would help regenerate and attract investment to neighbouring land northwards towards Castle Square. This would be known as Swansea Central Phase Two. They say: “The delivery of a significant mix of new uses, including a 3,500-capacity arena, commercial floorspace, residential units and effectively designed car parking will deliver economic, social and environmental benefits. “The provision of the 944 replacement car parking spaces will ensure that the site is accessible and that there is no impact on city centre parking provision.” The council is also progressing a scheme to increase the Fabian Way park and ride by 350 additional spaces. The planning application has been submitted by Swansea Council, adding key detail to outline planning approval that was granted in June 2017. The digital indoor arena plans form part of the Swansea City and Waterfront Digital District project, which is due to be part-funded, subject to the approval of a business case, by the Swansea Bay City Deal – a £1.3 billion investment in 11 major projects across South West Wales. Ends

Swansea Central alterations approved

PART of a £120m scheme to regenerate Swansea city centre is being altered due to a main sewer.

The sewer runs along Albert Row, along the rear of the Tesco superstore, and its presence has caused a bit of a headache for the planning team behind the Swansea Central phase one project.

The upshot is that a new building comprising shops, restaurants, flats and multi-storey car park will be moved slightly further back from Albert Row to avoid any future sewer maintenance issues.

This building will also, at six storeys, be two storeys higher than previously approved.

In turn this will allow 36 Pobl housing association flats to be built, rather than 27 – and the multi-storey car park will have 606 spaces rather than 588.

Spencer Winter, a director at council development partners Rivington Land, told Swansea’s planning committee that the rectangular plot of land in question had presented “some significant challenges” to the deliverability of the scheme.

The redesign, he said, would improve its viability.

“In our view the result is an improved and more deliverable scheme,” said Mr Winter.

There will also be a tweak across Oystermouth Road at the arena site, with different drop-off points for coaches and a revised service yard access for the arena and proposed adjacent hotel.

Introducing the various changes at the planning meeting, a council officer said: “The basic scheme remains essentially the same.”

Contractors at the arena site have just started removing the earth embankment at the former Great Western Railway revetment wall, which is listed and will remain in place.

Piling work will then get underway as the arena development at the LC car park, which will also feature an undercroft car park with 425 spaces, gathers momentum.

The council will borrow money to fund the majority of the £120m Swansea Central phase one scheme, which is hoped will act as a catalyst for further city centre regeneration.

Nearly £20m has already been spent or allocated on phase one to date.

Committee members asked about wind funnelling effects of a taller building by Albert Row, and sought reassurances about a travel plan for the arena.

They also wanted to know if commercial tenants occupying a number of St David’s Shopping Centre units earmarked for demolition would be able to relocate.

After receiving a response from the planning officer, the committee voted in favour of the Swansea Central phase one revisions, which will require a detailed planning application to be submitted and approved in due course.

The only member to object was Councillor Richard Lewis, who said he was not happy with the scheme.

Cllr Lewis said he was worried about the loss of city centre parking in Swansea since the 1970s.

“I think it is a disaster waiting to happen,” he said.

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