SWANSEA CIVIC SOCIETY

Cymdeithas Ddinesig Abertawe

Chairman's Overview of the year to August 2016

It has been yet another busy year for the Executive Committee, with a wide variety of issues and involvements for the Society as well as providing our support to other like-minded groups.

After the initial public consultation on a draft proposal, the Swansea City Area: Strategic Framework document was issued in February 2106.  In particular this relates to the redevelopment of the St David's and the Civic Centre sites, but also sets out a vision for the future of the City.

Following a number of approaches by the Society for further details, the Council leadership responded thus: -

1.    A business case to justify the closure of the Civic Centre and identify the relocation of services would be presented to the Council during the first quarter of this year.

2.   A transport study (including the Kingsway) would be available for public consultation In the first half of 2016.

3.    The programme (i.e. strategic sequence of events and timescales) exists in draft but is "constantly evolving".

Although the City has appointed development partners for the two major elements of the proposed redevelopment, the critical information that we have repeatedly sought, has not been made public.

Due to our mounting concern, a further meeting has recently been offered by the Council Leader, Cllr. Rob Stewart.

In addition to the City Area Strategy, consultation responses on behalf of the Society have been developed and submitted in respect of the City's draft ‘Tall Buildings Strategy, October 2015’ the final deposit ‘Local Development Plan, June 2016, the ‘Fabian Way Innovation Corridor, December 2015’, the ‘Westway Improvement Scheme’ and the Castle Square development proposals.

The Civic Society Executive also continues to monitor the development of the City's built environment via the planning process.  Significant proposals are reviewed and commented upon where appropriate and have included:

1.    Gwalia Housing replacement sheltered accommodation on the Vetch

2.    Castle Cinema redevelopment

3.    Student accommodation, Mariner Street

4.    Plot A1, SA1, student accommodation

5.    RAFA Club redevelopment, Ffynone

6.    Bush Hotel, retrospective Listed Building consent for the demolition

7.    Former Unigate Dairy site, student accommodation Morfa Road

8.    Mansion House redevelopment

The Blue Plaque Scheme with Civic Society support has over the past year continued to recognise important aspects of Swansea and its people.  Further plaques planned for this year include Saunders Lewis, John Hughes and Daniel James.

Regrettably the Save the Rec. campaign failed to achieve a Village Green status at the public hearing.  The City administration has now spent a significant sum in resisting the wishes of local residents’ applications to protect a number of open spaces.

I am pleased to report that the Clyne Valley Community Project in conjunction with the City's Conservation team has completed the reinstatement of the listed Roman Bridge at Clyne.   This is one of a number of listed structures and buildings which have been removed from the ‘at risk’ register.  It is hoped that others such as the Palace Theatre and the Albert Hall can also be saved.

The Society has also joined with many other organisations in the campaign to save the Swansea Museum and Royal Institution from the extremely harsh budget cuts proposed by the City administration.  Their future still remains in doubt.

This year's Walkabout on 26th July was a very informative and enjoyable tour of the Hafod and Morfa Copperworks, as well as the Swansea Museum Collections Store at Morfa.  This was provided with the help of the Hafod/Morfa Friends Group.

The Swansea Civic Society has renewed its membership with the reorganised Civic Trust Cymru with a view to increasing our information base and status.

As Chair of the Executive, on behalf of the Society I must record the sad loss of Sid Kidwell, one of our committee members. Sid was a great friend of the Society and active in many other areas across Swansea and will be missed by all.

Finally, I would stress that the Civic Society only exists through the hard work and commitment of its members.  It is important that we encourage more people to join us and to get involved.

John Steevens

Chair to the Executive

September 2016

 

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