Lower Swansea Valley regeneration set to take key new steps

Multi-million pound plans to regenerate key parts of the Lower Swansea Valley are set to take some big steps forward over the coming months.

Swansea Council is working on a series of schemes in the River Tawe corridor with a view to submitting planning applications soon.

They’re on track due in part to the council securing £20m from the UK Government’s Levelling Up scheme last year.

The Lower Swansea Valley project, with a close focus on the site of the former Hafod Morfa Copperworks, will result in more wealth and greater local connectivity.

It’ll help tell the story of Swansea’s rich industrial legacy to new generations.

If planning permission is granted the forthcoming improvements could include developments such as:

  • Renovating the main structure of the copperworks’ derelict laboratory building
  • Rebuilding two canal former bridges plus part of a canal next to Morfa Road
  • Renovating the main structure of the copperworks’ huge rolling mill building
  • Renovating the copperworks’ Vivian and Musgrave engine houses
  • Restoring the copperworks’ structurally unstable V&S engine shed.
  • Creating two River Tawe pontoons, complementing a first installed last year
  • Bringing new life to railway arches and tunnels in and around The Strand
  • Creating additional exhibition space at Swansea Museum

Council leader Rob Stewart said: “These schemes, should planning approval be secured, will help bring new life to the Lower Swansea Valley, bringing new jobs, investment and opportunities for business, leisure and culture.

“Swansea’s enjoying a council-driven £1bn regeneration programme and our Tawe corridor project is key to success; it’ll help unlock the huge potential of a once heavily industrialised area that was key to the city’s growth in centuries gone by.

“Much work has already gone into this project – with more to come – and we’re now in a position to start submitting planning applications for some key elements. We’ll publicise full details of all the projects in due course.”

The council plans to complete the projects in 2025 and 2026. Planning approval is already in place for the laboratory building.

The copperworks is already a base for Penderyn Distillery. The business is operating a distillery and visitor centre from a new building and from historic locations saved by the council. Funders included The National Lottery Heritage Fund in Wales and Welsh Government.

Meanwhile, New Zealand-based Skyline Enterprises have submitted a planning application to use part the former copperworks as part of a new leisure attraction also using part of Kilvey Hill.

Cllr Stewart said: “Our Lower Swansea Valley project will build on all the work that’s taken place in recent years to help further preserve the city’s historic Hafod Morfa Copperworks site. It’ll create innovative new spaces for local businesses, new job opportunities for local people and better links between the site and the city centre.

“Helping breathe new life into the Tawe corridor will boost Swansea’s status as a heritage destination, ensure our rich industrial history continues to be celebrated and improve our cultural offer for the benefit of all.”