Wales

Swansea city centre revamp to start after £110m agreed

An architect illustration of Swansea Central Phase One’s coastal parkland and arena Image copyright Swansea Council
Image caption Swansea City Council leader Rob Stewart described the latest cash bid as a "significant" move for the project

Work to build a 3,500-seat arena, shops and flats is set to begin in Swansea after £110m funding is approved.

The first phase of the city centre revamp at Oystermouth Road, which is also expected to include a multi-storey car park, will start "next week", the council said.

The authority's cabinet agreed the cash. It had previously committed £24m towards the scheme.

Leader Rob Stewart described the latest cash bid as a "significant" move.

The regeneration project is due to be completed in 2021.

Image copyright Swansea Council
Image caption The regeneration project is due to be completed in 2021

Mr Stewart said: "I think this is the most significant day that this or any other council has faced over the last 20 years in terms of investment and saving the city.

"We are really at a point now that if we don't do something significant then Swansea's future looks extremely uncertain."

The council aims to claw back just under £23m from the Swansea Bay City Deal and almost £5m from the sale of the flats.

Further grants could also reduce the council's contribution, the authority said.

Image copyright Swansea Council
Image caption A 3,500-seat arena, 36 flats, 15 retail units and a multi-storey car park are expected to be built

The Labour administration has also set aside money to cover the first six years of repayment costs.

Beyond that £7m per year would be needed for about 40 years, plus maintenance costs of £1m each year.

Income from the car parking, as well as rent from the retail units and the arena is expected to bring in £1.7m per year but could rise and could offset most or even all of the £7m needed, according to Mr Stewart.

Liberal Democrat group leader Chris Holley welcomed Swansea Central phase one but said the group had "reservations about the funding and what the long-term consequences of this are going to be".

The first phase is estimated to deliver a £17m annual boost to the city's economy, provide construction work for local firms and create 600 long-term jobs, according to contractor Buckingham Group Contracting.

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