Work completed on River Tawe pontoon

Work has been completed on installing a boating pontoon at a key site of Swansea regeneration.

Contractors working on behalf of Swansea Council have put in place the new structure at a Landore riverbank location on the Tawe.

It’s on the river’s western bank, around 1.5 miles upstream from the Tawe Barrage and next to the former Hafod Morfa Copperworks site which is being transformed as part of the council’s ongoing £1bn city regeneration.

Work took around three weeks and includes new railings and gates, as well as energy-efficient LED lighting.

The pontoon project’s funding included support from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, which is funded by the European Union and Welsh Government (main pontoon and lighting) and from the Welsh Government’s Small Scale Coastal Infrastructure Scheme (stainless steel gates and railings).

Main contractors were pontoon specialists Inland and Coastal Marina Systems.

Council cabinet member Robert Francis-Davies said: “The Tawe was at the heart of Swansea life for many years; it will be again in future as we breathe more life into the river corridor for the benefit of local people and visitors.

“Our new river pontoon – plus two others we plan – will help bring more people to attractions like the copperworks. Already, Penderyn has recently opened an operational distillery and visitor centre there.

“The pontoons form part of a wider project that’ll celebrate Swansea’s rich history, create jobs for local people and open up innovative new spaces for local businesses.”

Plans for the pontoon just installed were drawn up for the council by heritage specialists Ashley Davies Architects and structural specialists Mann Williams.

The structure sits alongside an existing river walk and a disused historic quay wall. Quayside and pontoon are linked by a bridgehead platform and footbridge.

The pontoon and neighbouring quayside have safety equipment, signs and wall ladders. Life buoys have been installed along with lockable gates for key holders.

The structure – mainly in steel and concrete, and with buoyancy units – rises and falls with river levels.

The pontoon will be managed and maintained by the council’s Swansea Marina team.

Initially, it will be accessible to established and constituted non-commercial groups that use the river already.

These include the Copper Jack cruises, the City of Swansea Rowing Club and Swansea University Rowing Club.

They’ll pay an annual licence fee to the council. The fees will help the council maintain the new facility.

A licence will ensure they can access the pontoon from the quayside at times when they need it.

As the use of this valuable new facility beds in the council plans to take a considered look at how access to the pontoon can be granted to others – with security and safety the highest priorities.

The other two planned pontoons – one close to the junction of The Strand and New Cut Road, and one at Morfa Quay near the Stadium, plus a Swansea Museum extension, further transformation of the copperworks and improvements to The Strand, are part of a £28.7m Lower Swansea Valley improvement project being led by the council and part-funded by the UK Government’s Levelling Up programme.