Swansea Creative Focus Advent Calendar
Day Twenty Four: 24/12/2019

What’s on your wish list for Swansea in the 2020s?

A regular influx of talented undergraduates with affordable accommodation that gives them the comfort to excel in their studies and the motivation to stay in the city and contribute to the local economy?

A vibrant High Street with independent retailers thriving in service of local customers with money to spend?

Could High Street student accommodation help us to achieve both of these goals? Early signs are positive.

The Oldway Centre is already established as a residence of choice for Swansea students. Occupancy rates continue to rise, and the makeover that transformed a run of the mill government workplace into high quality accommodation for over 550 students is looking like money well spent. A games room, a cinema room and a 24-hour reception service set a standard that will encourage visitors to stay. A second development, catering for almost 800 students, is underway in nearby Mariner Street. By the Autumn of 2021, over 1300 students will call this central area their home.

What could this mean for the retailers whose hard work and creativity is transforming the High Street? It could mean customers with disposable income on their doorsteps. It could mean sustainable and well-deserved profit. And what could it mean for the city’s long- term competitiveness? Already blessed with excellent universities and further education centres, the more Swansea integrates its visiting students into a revitalised city centre, the more likely they will be to want to stay when their studies are complete. Young people from all over the country and all over the world come to this city for first-rate education and training, and a springboard for their career of choice. Why should that career have to take them away from a place they’ve learned to call home?

Come for the education, stay for the city and the opportunities it can offer. The regeneration of Swansea High Street and the development of student accommodation on it ticks a lot of boxes. It sends out a clear message that ambitious, talented people should come here and stay here.

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