Swansea's SA1 marina surrounded by uncertainty
- 3 September 2012
- From the section Wales
Uncertainty surrounds the future of a planned £19m marina in Swansea after the development stalled.
The 400-berth marina at the Prince of Wales dock was proposed to be the centrepiece of the SA1 waterfront regeneration.
But the Welsh government said money ring-fenced for the project had been redistributed elsewhere in Wales.
South Wales Chamber of Commerce said the marina might not be the "right priority" for public money.
However, Councillor Chris Holley, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Swansea council and former leader of the authority, said the city had been "snubbed".
He claimed that business space and apartments at SA1 - a major redevelopment of the city's former docklands - had been sold with the proposed marina as the centrepiece.
The SA1 development overlooks the Prince of Wales Dock, near Swansea's current marina, and is being developed for commercial, residential and leisure use.
A second marina and a sea lock were also planned for the waterfront but work stalled in 2008 with the credit crunch.
Mr Holley said he was "shocked" to discover the Welsh government had spent the money ring-fenced for it from the sale of land in the area.
He said after he and Lib Dem AM Peter Black inquired about the project, they received a letter from business minister Edwina Hart which confirmed that the ring-fencing was stopped in 2008.
The money had instead being redistributed elsewhere in Wales.
"There's uncertainty about the marina future," said Mr Holley.
"I don't think it will be going ahead in the near future."
Peter Black AM told BBC Radio Wales he felt Swansea was "becoming the poor relation" to Cardiff.
"In terms of the amount of money being spent in Cardiff Bay - which must amount to £100m or more - compare that to what's being spent down in Swansea Marina and SA1, it is a pittance, and quite frankly Swansea is being second best here," he said.
Graham Morgan, director of the South Wales Chamber of Commerce, said he could understand if the Welsh government had re-prioritised the use of the money in the current financial climate.
"When you step back from it, for a marina to work you have to be convinced that someone will buy a boat and will moor it there," he said.
"That's the biggest thing at the moment - boats are luxury items.
"So it's perfectly feasible that right now that isn't the right development."
He said he did not believe the Welsh government was "snubbing" Swansea, pointing to a number of developments that were currently boosting the city.
"There's a lot going on, such as the new university campus being built, the electrification of the rail line to Swansea, the possibility of Swansea becoming a city region, the high performance computer system that's being installed in the Dylan Thomas Centre which will link together technology and academia," he added.
The Welsh government said that since 2008, only £2.9m has been raised from income by sales of land at SA1 and in the same period, £9.3m has been spent on the development.
"The business, enterprise, technology and science department has a clear process in place to allocate funding to projects as they are brought forward and has already provided significant support to Swansea including £2m in March of this year to acquire Oldway House to facilitate the city centre regeneration," a statement read.
"In addition Welsh government investment in SA1 over the last four years has been £9.3m, which exceeded sales income in the same period by almost £6.4m."