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Funding earmarked to progress city centre's regeneration

Major plans to transform Swansea city centre into a leading destination for shopping, dining, business and entertainment could soon take another step forward.

St David's development site

Swansea Council's Cabinet is being asked to commit funding that will further progress plans to regenerate the St David's, Kingsway and Civic Centre development sites. 
The council has earmarked £1.73m that will enable all three projects to reach the next stage. A £6.2m loan requested from the Welsh Government to help cover work-up costs for the St David's scheme is now being linked to the City Deal, with a formal response soon expected.
Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said: "The council and Welsh Government funding that's been earmarked will transform Swansea city centre's fortunes, helping arrest the city centre's decline in recent years and support the fantastic on-going work of our traders and organisations including Swansea BID. 
"The private sector won't invest in Swansea city centre at this time due to economic issues, but doing nothing isn't an option because that would only lead to a further decline for our city centre - which nobody wants. 
"Industry experts say that with funding in place, the exciting regeneration projects we're proposing are both deliverable and viable. 
"Building on the progress that's already been made, it's only the council, with support from the Welsh Government, that can unlock the exciting projects being proposed and take them to the point where construction contracts can be tendered. This is why Cabinet is being asked to approve funding that would help lead to thousands of new jobs and opportunities for high-quality employment, as well as new offices, shops, hotels, restaurants, homes and state-of-the-art leisure and tourist attractions. These schemes will more than pay for themselves in the longer term."
Plans for the St David's site, made up of the former St David's shopping centre and the LC car park, include a digital indoor arena, new shops and restaurants, hundreds of car parking spaces, a university library and learning space, a hotel, a cinema and a wide pedestrian bridge over Oystermouth Road. Rivington Land, the council's development managers for the site, will submit an outline planning application this month, but funding is now needed to undertake detailed design work, appoint an arena operator, secure agreements with tenants and market the hotel opportunity.
Trebor Developments, the council's development manager for the Civic Centre site, are proposing 500 new homes, an improved seafront promenade and up to eight new restaurants around a new public square. A science-themed tourist attraction is also planned that could attract hundreds of thousands of visitors a year. Progress so far includes detailed work on the relocation of council offices to the city centre, but funding is now needed to carry out flood risk works, finalise the scheme's design, secure planning consent and facilitate the relocation of the Civic Centre when further funding is available.
Funding is also needed to undertake detailed design and planning work for a new office development for tech businesses at the former Oceana building site on Kingsway.
Cllr Stewart said: "We're expecting imminent UK Government approval for the Swansea Bay City Region's City Deal bid. When approved, this will lead to a range of exciting projects across the region, including a digital village on Kingsway where tech businesses will benefit from world class digital infrastructure. In combination with our plans to considerably improve Kingsway's look and feel, this will form part of an employment district that will open up hundreds of jobs for local people and generate far more footfall and spending in our city centre businesses."
Cabinet is also being asked to approve an application to the Welsh Government for Swansea city centre's designation as a Taxation Incremental Funding area. If successful, this would see the council keeping business rates for any new properties for a 20-year period to help support the costs of the city centre's regeneration.

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