Swansea Kingsway: Revamp is completed after delays

By Rhys Williams
BBC News

image captionWork has been taking place to change the road layout on the Kingsway

A £12m redevelopment of a major city centre road has been praised by business owners who hope it will boost trade.

Work on the Kingsway in Swansea has been plagued by delays, mainly due to construction firm Dawnus being declared bankrupt halfway through in March.

Griffiths Ltd stepped in and work was completed this week, with surrounding areas to be finished in the new year.

A business owner said the end product was worth the disruption.

"It looks nice. I think hopefully in the centre it will draw more people into the city centre," said Howard Penry, owner of Gower Butcher.

"I think in the long term it'll be worth it.

"I know it's taken a long time to do and there's been a lot of disruption, but now that it's finished I think in future that Swansea's onward and upwards."

Perfect Bridal relocated to the Kingsway because manager Julie Riby thought it was "going to be the place to be".

"Now it's finished I'm really really happy with it," she said.

Godfrey Doolan, owner of Fashion UK Ltd, has traded on the Kingsway for more than 40 years and has lived through many attempted redevelopments of the thoroughfare.

image captionGower Butcher is one of the businesses based on the Kingsway

He had previously been critical of the plans, but has changed his mind, saying he thinks it is "a big improvement".

The Kingsway has been particularly hard-hit over the last 10 years with its nightlife disappearing and many retail units left empty.

The controversial introduction of a bendy bus road system in 2009 was blamed on a drop in trade by businesses.

It was scrapped in 2015 following two deaths and a number of injuries.

Swansea Council leader Rob Stewart said work on the rest of the Kingsway redevelopment was being paused to "support traders" over Christmas.

"You look around and there are eight, nine, 10 cranes across the city centre. We haven't seen that in 20 years," he said.

"The other sites will come online in the next few months and by 2022-2023 we'll have a very different city centre."

image captionChanges have been made to the road layout and the look of the Kingsway

Some traders raised concerns the new road on the Kingsway was too narrow for large buses and lorries to pass each other, but a council spokesman insisted that the new roadway is wide enough for two passing vehicles.

The Kingsway redevelopment is part of a much larger phase of developments in the city including a 3,500-capacity "digital arena" with coastal park and hotel to be completed in 2020.

Swansea Council's cabinet will decide Thursday whether to commit £110m to the scheme, having already approved £24m to date.

The main contractor is expected to start work at the arena site in a matter of days subject to approval.

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