The vision for Swansea is to create a distinctive, ambitious and successful waterfront city. Here are a few of the big ideas:
More people living in the city centre
Town centres used to be all about retail, but these days the reality is that many of us are shopping online, so we can no longer rely on retail to sustain the centre of our towns and cities in the years to come. That’s part of the reason it’s important to get more people living in the city centre. It increases the footfall, creating demand for local shops and amenities, and benefiting restaurants, bars and cultural attractions.
Green space on the Kingsway
Naming the green corridor on the Kingsway ‘Central Park’ is perhaps ambitious, but the plan is popular among families and those who work in the city, who agree that Swansea needs more green space.
For those of us who enjoy a stroll around the city centre on a Saturday, the idea of a creating space for a picnic and a play on the sunny side of the Kingsway is a good one. The plan is to restore two-way traffic to the Kingsway, one lane each. This leaves significant width for grassy landscaping and play areas along the south facing side – which gets most of the sunshine. It will need to be child-safe of course…
Swansea Flythrough 2017
A better public space in Castle Square
Castle Square is a contentious site because of fondly held local memories of Castle Gardens – once a green lung in the heart of the city. The replacement of these formal gardens with the concrete jungle that exists today is a decision mourned by many. The Council has made clear their intention to retain ownership of Castle Square and maintain it as a public space – a greener and more attractive one. Clever use of the change in levels across this site could enable a new cafe or restaurant space to be built into the slope (replacing the steps), while maintaining use of the roof area for seating and greenery. More trees, more grass, and modern fountains will create a space where kids can play, people can relax, and friends can meet for coffee or food.
Swansea as a Digital Hotspot
The new arena adjacent to the leisure centre is part of the vision for the city centre. The idea is that Swansea will be able to attract big music concerts and other performances to the city, boosting the visitor economy and Swansea’s cultural offering. With the success of the City Deal bid there is now also money in the pot to equip the arena with state-of-the-art technology so that it can play host to major tech shows and conferences. It would be great for the city to make a name for itself hosting major events with a technology focus.
Making the most of our beach
One of Swansea city centre’s best assets is that it’s by the beach – and not just any beach but 5 miles of golden sand stretching from the Marina to Mumbles. But you could visit Swansea City Centre and never realise that the beach is so close. Or you could find yourself at the beach and then struggle to find anywhere to stop for a coffee or let the kids play. This is a missed opportunity, and one which the redevelopment of the Civic Centre site will seek to capitalise on. The aim is to enhance enjoyment of our world-class beach, creating a leisure and tourism destination on the seafront, with a digital aquarium and other visitor attractions, along with restaurants and cafes fronting the sea.
Pedestrianising Wind Street
Campaigners have been arguing for this one for years, and it’s finally happening. The idea is to open up the street for people and performances, allow the bars and restaurants along Wind Street to create attractive outdoor seating, and create a safer, more appealing streetscape for revellers. Part of the City Centre vision is to improve our night time offer – not just pubs and clubs but more arts, culture, leisure, food, and events.