Castle Square in Swansea could soon be transformed into a more vibrant destination with the feel of a city park. Nestled between the city's historic castle and main shopping street, Castle Square will have a key role as an iconic area right at the heart of a regenerated city centre.
Swansea Council's Cabinet will soon be asked for authorisation to consider redevelopment opportunities at Castle Square, provided they complement other regeneration schemes and enhance the public space through the continuation of public access and events.
If Cabinet agrees to consider redevelopment opportunities, then a Public Open Spaces notice will be published, giving people the chance to have their views taken on board. A marketing brief could also then be put together, inviting proposals from interested parties. The brief would set out the council's requirements in terms of greening, quality of the public realm, linkages, provision of public access at all times and provision for events.
Any possible preferred scheme in future would be subject to Cabinet approval and public consultation. The council could also consider options for redeveloping Castle Square itself.
Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said making the square a vibrant public area was absolutely essential to the planned transformation of the city centre.
Cllr Stewart added:
“The city centre needs to change and we have plans in place to change it for the better very soon. Castle Square is looking tired, but it's a key location that has the potential to become a special destination in a revitalised Swansea city centre.
“We want Castle Square to be a bustling, visually attractive, green and relaxing place where people can meet with friends or visitors, have a meal or enjoy a top quality public event. We want the charm of the past while looking to make a successful public space for years to come.
“If Cabinet agrees to the consideration of redevelopment opportunities at Castle Square, then a marketing exercise could lead to the potential for private investment, which would be a good thing. This would reduce costs to the taxpayer, but we will also protect public access and usage in any future scheme.”
Elsewhere in the city centre, preliminary discussions have also now started with retailers, restaurants, cinema operators and housing developers as work to secure tenants for the St David's and Civic Centre development sites gathers pace.
Part of what's being proposed for the St David's site is a new café and restaurant quarter, as well as a new retail street stretching from Whitewalls to Oystermouth Road.
Cllr Stewart continued:
“I have said many times that no part of the city centre will be untouched or left behind by our plans, as we set about transforming our city into a top quality destination for leisure and retail.
“Major new student accommodation is planned for Mariner Street and Kingsway will be transformed into a business district, helping generate the footfall and spending needed to boost city centre trade and attract new investment.
“We want to attract more business to the city centre to help create jobs. But businesses need new offices, which is why we'll build new offices, shops, restaurants and leisure destinations. Put simply, the city centre needs more people living there, working there and spending money there.”