Swansea arena scheme: Construction gathers pace for 2020

How Swansea Central Phase One will look as it takes shape either side of Oystermouth Road, near the LC and Tesco.

The £135m Swansea Central Phase One scheme will take two more big leaps forward today (6th January).

Contractors on the major transformative project are set to start work on the whole of the project’s northern site, next to the Tesco Marina store, including:-

  • a reduction in the size of the temporary St Mary’s surface car park near St David’s car park
  • the closure – and subsequent removal – of the old footbridge over Oystermouth Road. Nearby ground level pedestrian crossing controls remain available.

Also from today, a cut-price offer for the St David’s multi-storey takes effect. Parking will be just £1 for the first three hours – a cut from £3. The offer applies Monday-Saturday. Sundays remain free.

Additionally, Swansea’s Park and Ride service will have a cash-only offer of £1 per car Monday–Friday after 09.30am, a cut from £2.50.

The deals have been assisted by Swansea BID and will be reviewed regularly to support for shoppers and businesses through the construction process.

The measures taken next week with the bridge and car park will allow construction work to start on the iconic new broad Golden Swan bridge for cyclists and pedestrians. This will connect the main city centre to the 3,500-capacity Digital Arena and other attractions on the southern side of the road, next to the LC.

Principal contractor Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd is already undertaking construction work on the southern section.

Throughout the work over the next 18 months access to city centre businesses, car parks and attractions will be maintained for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

When Swansea Central Phase One opens – complete with nearly 1,000 new car parking spaces, new parkland, commercial and residential units – it is expected to provide a major economic boost to Swansea.

Swansea Council are behind the scheme, with some funding for the arena coming from the £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal. Some funding for the new bridge comes from the Welsh Government’s Active Travel Fund.

Council leader Rob Stewart said: “The closure of most of the temporary surface car park at St Mary’s and the old footbridge over Oystermouth Road has been trailed for some time.

“We’re on schedule with this work and have reached another significant moment for the digital arena project that will stimulate the transformation and success of Swansea city centre for generations to come.

“Buckingham Group Contracting moving right across the northern section shows that the project is gathering pace. This is a big deal for Swansea, and the momentum will build as out-of-ground construction gathers pace.

“I’m pleased we’ve been able to introduce our new car parking offers – as promised – to reduce costs for shoppers during the arena project’s major construction phase. We’ll keep reviewing such promotions to ensure they best support shoppers and businesses over the coming months.

“I thank the citizens of Swansea for their patience and understanding as the major regeneration people have wanted for some time gathers pace. It’s going to be a game-changer for the whole city.

“This is the start of a truly transformational project for Swansea and we know that thousands of local residents and visitors share our excitement at the job opportunities and other benefits it will bring.”

The council and its partners have been liaising with residents and attractions close to the arena site. These include the LC, the National Waterfront Museum and city centre businesses.

Notices have been placed on the bridge and in the St Mary’s car park for the past few weeks. There is ample spare capacity and space available in existing multi-storey car parks that can be used while construction takes place.

Next week will see most parking spaces in the temporary St Mary’s car park taken over by Buckingham Group Contracting as part of the development site.

Around 35 spaces will remain; motorists are encouraged to use the 460-space St David’s pay and display multi-storey right next door, other city centre car parks and Park and Ride. Lighting at St David’s has been upgraded in recent months and new parking payment machines have been installed.

There will be an illuminated pedestrian route around the whole perimeter of the northern site and directional signage on the site hoardings. Safety hoardings are going up around both sites.

Next week will also see the closure of the tired-looking and uncovered old concrete footbridge that spans Oystermouth Road. Road disruption for its removal in due course is expected to be minimal.

Pedestrians and cyclists who currently use the bridge will be able to cross Oystermouth Road at two nearby lights-controlled road crossings, at the foot of Albert Row and Princess Way. Thousands of people, including families with young children, have used the crossings safely in recent weeks to visit Waterfront Winterland.

Work will start straight away on construction of the replacement bridge, a wide gold-coloured steel structure with an eye-catching design that will provide a memorable new city gateway.

Council cabinet member for environment and infrastructure management Mark Thomas said: “What we deliver in the coming months will be a new district that links the city centre with our world-class coast in a way that will really make people sit up and take note.

“The arena will be top class, as will the other components of Swansea Central Phase One.

“As the work progresses we aim to minimise disruption to those looking to access the city centre shops, services and attractions.

“There are disability spaces in the St David’s multi-storey and we also plan to create additional disabled spaces in the remainder of the St Mary’s car park.”

Nearby car parks include the Quadrant multi-storey (517 spaces), The Strand (218 spaces), Paxton Street (331 spaces) and East Burrows car park (230 spaces), by the sail bridge. Park and Ride continues to operate at Fabian Way and Landore.

Main works on Swansea Central Phase One are due to complete in 2021.