The transformation of one of Swansea’s key city centre locations has started, paving the way for the creation of hundreds of jobs and a green artery for the city, though businesses in and around the Kingsway will be operating as normal throughout the redevelopment.
The £12 million investment of the city’s Kingsway has been welcomed by business leaders and traders in the city as Swansea Council starts the process of transforming the route into a new ‘digital district’.
The news is the first tangible step in the regeneration of the city centre as part of the City Deal and comes on the back of major new private sector developments in the Kingsway area which will help transform the city centre.
Under the scheme, Swansea’s Kingsway will be turned into a city park incorporating new public areas, landscaped parkland, cycle tracks and a two-way single lane vehicle route along with the creation of wider pedestrian walkways.
Contractors Dawnus will now begin the main construction of the new pedestrian areas along the southbound carriageway (metro track). This phase is expected to run until October 2018.
The work will also help set the scene for a new, state-of-the-art digital village development for tech businesses on Kingsway. Earmarked for the former Oceana nightclub site, the digital village is due to be part-funded by the £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal.
Secured by the Swansea Bay City Region for South West Wales, the Swansea Bay City Deal includes funding from the UK Government, the Welsh Government, the public sector and the private sector.
Rob Stewart, Leader of Swansea Council, said: “As well as this development on the Kingsway itself, we are in the process of appointing a design team to develop the Digital Village. We can see the public sector confidence in the area is driving private sector confidence with work already starting on the student development on the Kingsway and the Loosemore’s redevelopment to come.
“We want to transform the city centre into a vibrant and bustling centre for business and leisure. The investment in the new city green artery and new traffic system will prepare the Kingsway for its transformation into the Digital District as we start to deliver the £1.3bn City Deal projects.”
Swansea BID chair Juliet Luporini said: “It is important that we continue to support the businesses along the Kingsway, Orchard Street and beyond during the delivery of this important scheme – it will be very much business as usual for them during these works – so we encourage shoppers to continue supporting them throughout, while our new Swansea City Centre takes shape.”
The Kingsway Infrastructure Project includes £4.5 million of WEFO funding which will assist with the demolition and refurbishment of buildings along the route.
The transformation will also see a return of two-way traffic routes along the Kingsway and surrounding roads.
Cllr Stewart said: “The support we’re getting via the Welsh Government’s Wales European Funding Office (WEFO) will help us create more public leisure space in the city.
“This will help to attract jobs and investment and to support the new city centre we are building, and also importantly simplify traffic flows across the city centre and make it easier for people to get from east to west.”