Award winning company appointed to lead £750m Swansea regeneration

Award winning company appointed to lead £750m Swansea regeneration

Proposals, worth £750m, that would further transform Swansea city centre and develop new homes and attractions along the coast and riverfront have taken a major step forward.


Swansea Council has announced it has appointed award winning regeneration company Urban Splash as its preferred development partner for a number of key sites, including the Civic Centre, Swansea Central North and a plot of land running alongside the River Tawe in the St Thomas area of the city.

We are really interested to hear that a development partner has been appointed and we look forward to understanding more about their vision for Swansea. At 4theRegion, we are focused on how people, communities and businesses can get more involved in shaping the future of our region, including the design and construction of major developments and strategic investments like this. We want to make sure that major regional projects are delivered in a way that provides economic, social and environmental benefit over the long term, and ensure that the well-being of people and planet is at the heart of decision-making.

Early ideas for each site have already been proposed, and these will now be worked up in more detail. We are pleased to hear there will be plenty of opportunities for local people to give their feedback and help shape the plans.

Early proposals, which will be delivered by the private sector, include:

  • The transformation of the 23 acre seafront Civic Centre site into a new city waterfront district for Swansea. A mixed use destination anchored by the beach is proposed, with new homes and a strong leisure and hospitality focus, generous civic spaces and plenty of greenery. Other proposals include a new walkway to the beach and a mix of permanent and seasonal uses and events to create an all season visitor destination
  • New office buildings, new apartments for residents and shared workspaces on the 5.5 acre Swansea Central North site located at the former St David’s Shopping Centre site. We are pleased to hear, capitalising on the major growth in demand for craft based goods, that space for small creative businesses to make and sell their products could also feature
  • A residential led regeneration of a 7.5 acre riverfront site in St Thomas, featuring family homes, apartments, new public spaces and a new terraced river walk providing direct access to the river for the first time in over 150 years.

The council said their appointment of Urban Splash followed an extensive search for a preferred development partner as part of the Shaping Swansea initiative.

Cllr Rob Stewart, Leader of Swansea Council, said: “The appointment of Urban Splash is a significant private sector vote of confidence not just in Swansea’s enormous potential, but also in the huge amount of regeneration work led by the council that’s already happening in the city, including our £135m Copr Bay phase one district. This work has acted as a catalyst to attract a company of Urban Splash’s quality and experience, and is part of a £1bn regeneration story unfolding across Swansea that’s transforming the city into one of the UK’s best places to live, work, study and visit.

“The regeneration of these three key sites will help take Swansea to the next level by creating thousands more jobs for local people, hundreds more new homes for local families and a mixed-use, vibrant city centre destination with the footfall it needs to thrive.

“Although subject to consultation in future to ensure people’s views are taken on board, the early proposals will help realise these goals, while also giving the stunning Civic Centre site on our world-class bay back to Swansea people and visitors to the city.

“We look forward to working with Urban Splash on further developing these exciting proposals for the people of Swansea to consider, along with ideas on how best to regenerate other key sites forming part of our Shaping Swansea plans.”

Urban Splash have developed over 60 regeneration projects across the UK in the last 25 years. These include the Royal William Yard project in Plymouth where the company has transformed a collection of Grade I and Grade II Listed waterfront structures into apartments, workspaces, galleries, bars and restaurants. The company is also undertaking the redevelopment of the Grade II Listed Park Hill in Sheffield into a mixed use cultural quarter, featuring hundreds of homes and workspaces – many of which are complete and fully occupied.

Jonathan Falkingham MBE, Urban Splash co-founder, is an award-winning architect who helped establish the regeneration company in 1993. In a press release, he said: “We are absolutely delighted to be working alongside Swansea Council and all of the partners involved in this fascinating project.

“I have a longstanding affiliation with this brilliant city, attending school here in my younger days. I’m pleased to be back in Swansea to help deliver such an exciting new era for the city. We have plans for a world-class environment of great architectural quality, that recognises and enhances the existing historic fabric of the local area and its beautiful location. We hope to achieve this through multi-authorship and partnering with brilliant designers to evolve the most appealing and sustainable designs for each area of this new neighbourhood.”

Tom Bloxham MBE, Urban Splash Chairman, said: “For almost three decades now, Urban Splash has worked hard to transform the fortunes of towns and cities, breathing new life into places through applying great design ideas, and working with the local community to create beautiful buildings and spaces that are sustainable for all.

“We have been really impressed with the ambition and vision of Swansea Council and look forward to working in partnership with this amazing city on the beach, using our experience, capital and resources to strengthen their vision and deliver exceptional living, working and leisure spaces to help more people live well by design.”

We understand future proposals will also cover opportunities to develop other key sites across Swansea.

Students and Staff from Swansea College of Art contribute to the ‘Without Borders’ exhibition

Students and Staff from Swansea College of Art contribute to the ‘Without Borders’ exhibition

Students and staff from UWTSD’s Swansea College of Art have contributed to the latest exhibition showcasing at the Elysium Art Gallery, Swansea, ‘Without Borders’.

‘Without Borders’ is an evolving digital project and physical exhibition, aimed at bringing together 22 communities and nearly 300 artists from around the world.

The exhibition seeks to remove barriers, create alliances, and connect with neighbours. It aims to bring creative people together, to collaborate in an international touring exhibition of works on paper – a collection of artists’ pages.

After exhibiting at Swansea, ‘Without Borders’ will travel to Japan, Norway, USA, Venice, Canada, and back to Wales. The project will also be globally accessible via an e-catalogue.

At the end of the tour, the artworks will permanently be bound together to create one unique artist book, to be housed in a special collection’s library which will be announced at a later date.

The term Border describes literal or invisible lines: edges that separate and divide, that contain and limit. Without Borders is particularly evocative and redolent in these current times. Ever-quickening, reactive politics results in some borders hardening, whilst others dissolve. The divide between rich and poor appears to be widening. Physical, geographical, and social borders, together with the fragile, permeable border between life and death have also been highlighted by the recent pandemic.

Jonathan Powell from the Elysium Art Gallery said: “As a former student of Swansea College of Art, I was very keen to get them involved in some way. Despite the difficulties with all the lockdowns and disruptions the students were magnificent and contributed a great body of work.”

Katherine Clewett, Programme Director of the Cert HE Art and Design Foundation course at Swansea College of Art said: “The exhibition title ‘Without Borders’ upholds ideas and perspectives concerning current socio-political boundaries. This project is an opportunity for students and staff to reflect on constricted connections, and to seek collective responses.

“Swansea College of Art contributors comprises students and staff from Foundation, Degree and MA courses, exhibiting in a variety of mediums including drawing, painting, photography and stitch.

“We are thankful to Elysium Art Gallery for inviting us to contribute to this timely exhibition.”

The exhibition continues at Elysium Art Gallery until Saturday, August 28th.

University Wales Trinity Saint David

More greenery is needed

More greenery is needed

There’s something familiar about a new scaffold wrap that appeared above the Potters Wheel on Swansea’s Kingsway on Friday. Coastal Housing owns the building at 85 Kingsway, which is currently being upgraded thanks to funding from Welsh Government’s Transforming Towns programme and support from Swansea Council.

The temporary installation declares that ‘More greenery is needed’ – recycling the font and layout from the much-loved ‘More poetry is needed’ piece by artist Jeremy Deller, which became a Swansea landmark.

The upgrade works at 85 Kingsway will include the city centre’s first living, green walls but Coastal Housing, which installed the temporary scaffold graphic, says the broader message applies to more than just the work going on at their building.

“Over recent months many of us have realised the importance of nature, both to us personally and of course for the environment, says Chief Executive Debbie Green. “Plants take in co2, produce oxygen, absorb rainwater and can have a cooling effect on high temperatures, so more greenery is definitely needed, especially in urban areas. Fortunately, thanks to the Welsh Government’s Transforming Towns funding and the support of Swansea Council, more green infrastructure projects like this are due to happen across the city in the near future.

“At Coastal we see our site hoardings as opportunities to do something positive and creative. We were massive fans of the ‘More poetry’ piece and when we started thinking about something for this site that captured our commitment to sustainability and worked on the kind of scale we had available, we thought a reworked, ‘green’ version would be a nice tribute whilst the building is upgraded, and something people across the city would notice and hopefully enjoy.”

The scaffold graphic was printed and installed by Cardiff-based Semaphore Display and uses eco-friendly, recyclable materials.

Coastal Housing Group

BA Filmmaking Students work with Broadside Films

BA Filmmaking Students work with Broadside Films

The University of Wales Trinity Saint David BA Filmmaking students have had the opportunity this semester to work with the independent production company ‘Broadside Films’.

Each year has had the opportunity this semester to work with Broadside Films, a Carmarthenshire-based independent production company that produces short films, web series and features.

In May, first year Filmmaking students were challenged by Broadside to create a short film about UWTSD’s unique ‘Cynefin’ outdoor education centre located in Johnstown. Students also had the chance to take part in production workshops to learn more about the industry, whilst discovering more on filmmaking, storytelling and editing in the expertise of Broadside.

Second year students also had the opportunity to go on a placement, and to work on a feature film, and also a short film that’s currently being produced by Broadside Films. One of those short film titled ‘Jackdaw,’ is a short film in association with Ffilm Cymru Wales. It’s written and directed by Mac Nixon, and will be screened on the BBC later this year.

One student that took part in the placements, Katrina Seaton has now been asked back to return to do paid work on Broadside’s next production, which is a commercial shoot for a Whisky distillery on the Isle of Skye.

This is an exciting opportunity according to Katrina: “As a student getting real work experience on a professional set is hard to come by. I am very grateful of the opportunity I was given by Broadside to work alongside amazing creatives in a professional manner. The lessons I learned are just as substantial as any I learned in the classroom, such as how a set is run and how different departments work. I was able to form new friendships and professional relationships with people who can give advice on what steps I can take to achieve the career I want.”

Dan Bailey, Co-owner and producer of Broadside Films is also a 2016 graduate of the film and media provision on the Carmarthen campus. He’s a perfect example of how UWTSD’s Carmarthen based film and media courses connects students to the creative industries.

Dan’s happy that he’s been able to give back to the University by reflecting his working experience in the industry, and providing experience to current students. “The students were fantastic on set. They were very challenging shoots involving large crews, night shoots and multiple locations as well as the local police force. They were really knowledgeable and willing to be involved in all aspects of the production.”

This semester has been a fantastic opportunity for students to develop skills and to familiarise with the media industry. Dr Brett Aggersberg, Lecturer in the Film and Digital Media department said:

“The aim of our film and media programmes on the Carmarthen campus is to connect students with industry to help them when they graduate. They leave us with a degree and experience. Our links with Broadside Films started in 2016 when Dan Bailey graduated from our Film course. He was establishing Broadside as a commercial and community film business. He has since grown the company with his partners to develop short and feature films. He is now able to pass on his industry experience and connections by working directly with students in our department as a member of staff, and by facilitating placements of real world productions for students.”

University of Wales Trinity Saint David

Contractor appointed for new Kingsway scheme in Swansea

Contractor appointed for new Kingsway scheme in Swansea

A contractor has been appointed to build a major new high-tech office development that will provide space for 600 jobs in Swansea city centre.

Bouygues UK will start work this summer on construction of the multi-million scheme at the 71/72 The Kingsway site where the former Oceana nightclub once stood.

Set for completion in early 2023, the five-storey development will include 114,000 square feet of commercial floorspace, providing flexible co-working and office opportunities for innovative tech, digital and creative businesses.

Once complete and in operation, the development will be carbon zero and worth £32.6 million a year to Swansea’s economy. It will feature state-of-the-art digital connectivity, a roof terrace, greenery and balconies overlooking the city centre and Swansea Bay.

Two underground levels will also be included. Public access is planned, as well as a new link between The Kingsway and Oxford Street.

Training and work placements for local people form part of the construction plans, as well as supply chain opportunities for local businesses.

Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said: “We’re delighted to appoint Bouygues UK as our main contractor for this key development, which forms part of an on-going £1 billion transformation of Swansea into the one of the UK’s best cities to live, work, study and visit.

“We know there is significant unmet demand in Swansea for world class office space of this kind and that some businesses have had to leave the city to find the accommodation they need.

“This major development will help tackle that issue by providing space for over 600 jobs in the tech and digital sectors, while also generating further footfall for our city centre traders and acting as a catalyst for even further private sector investment on The Kingsway.

“Despite a recent trend of more people working from home, interest in this development is still considerable. Positive discussions with a potential building operator and tenants are advanced, with a recent review showing the development’s design to be Covid-resilient.

“As part of the construction, we’ll ensure that local people and local businesses benefit from work, training and supply chain opportunities.”

Bouygues UK is currently building Cardiff University’s state-of-the-art Cardiff Innovation Campus, which will house two world-leading scientific research establishments, The Institute for Compound Semiconductors and Cardiff Catalysis Institute, as well as SPARK, the world’s first social science research park.

Bouygues UK is also working on Bristol’s tallest residential building at Castle Park View. The 26-storey building will provide 375 new homes and forms part of the city’s major regeneration plans.

Mike Baynham, Bouygues UK Operations Director for Wales, said: “Bouygues UK is delighted to be appointed as the contractor for this prestigious project which will transform this part of the city.

“The Kingsway has already seen a huge amount of improvements in recent years and this contemporary, flexible office development with opportunities for retail and leisure will further add to the regeneration of Swansea and the Swansea Bay City Region as a whole.”

The 71/72 Kingsway development is being funded by Swansea Council and the Swansea Bay City Deal.  It is also supported by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.

Other developments in Swansea being part-funded by the Swansea Bay City Deal include the Swansea Arena forming part of the city’s emerging Copr Bay phase one district.

Swansea Council

Get social! New Swansea businesses get their own club

Get social! New Swansea businesses get their own club

Business Swansea, Swansea Council’s Business Support Service, is launching a new monthly Start-Up Enterprise Club for individuals starting a new business in Swansea.

Rebecca Wade, of Purple Dog, who will present a session on social media at Swansea’s first Start-up Enterprise Club meeting

The first session, “Launch your business using Social Media” will take place on July 8th from 10 to 11.30am. If you’d like to attend please click here to register.

This session will be delivered by Rebecca Wade, a Social Media Expert at Purple Dog with over seven years experience. She helps businesses to utilise social media and increase brand awareness by successfully building engagement and drive organic growth. Her training sessions will empower you to take control of your own social media success.

Rebecca Wade said: “Billions of people visit social media every day – and it’s one of the most powerful ways to grow a business.

“I’m looking forward to helping new Swansea businesses use social media to attract new customers and connect with key audiences.

“It’s a wise move for the council to launch the Start-up Enterprise Club as starting a business can be a daunting experience so it’s good to share knowledge and inspiration in this way.”

So you can get your business off to a great start on the right social media platforms for you, this beginner’s session will cover:

  • What is the best platform to use?
  • What tactics should you use to be seen by the most people?
  • Are there certain types of content that perform better than others?
  • How can you regularly post content?
  • What etiquette rules do you need to follow?

Robert Francis-Davies, the council’s cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: “We have a strong record in helping and advising local business before and during the pandemic – and that will continue as Swansea’s £1bn regeneration story develops.

“The Start-up Enterprise Club is aimed specifically at start-up or pre-start businesses – and it will feature regular events full of short, sharp briefings allowing businesses to implement their learning straight away.

“I encourage anybody starting a business here – or thinking seriously about doing so – to attend the event on July 8 and to continue playing a part in the club. We want to help them get off to a great start.”

The club will have its own Facebook group, allowing businesses to share ideas, solve problems and feel a sense of community.

It’s a great time to be an entrepreneur in Swansea. At 4theRegion we want to see more businesses start up and thrive in our region, so in April we hosted our Swansea Start Up & Business Owners Forum for entrepreneurs, small businesses and potential start-ups interested in being part of that “diverse and creative mix” that makes Swansea great. It was great to have people come and share ideas and perspectives on how we can make sure Swansea is an entrepreneurial city with a flourishing independent economy.

We believe that Swansea can be the perfect place to start and build a business. For us, it’s not big brands and major corporates that make a city great – it’s a diverse mix of independent firms, lifestyle businesses, trades, makers, creative start-ups and cultural entrepreneurs – all doing our best to make good things happen.