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Plans for high-tech Swansea building approved

Plans for a groundbreaking Swansea city centre building that allows innovative tech and creative businesses to establish and grow were given planning permission today.

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A planning application for the glazed structure rising six storeys on the site of The Kingsway's former Oceana nightclub had been recommended for approval.

More than 600 people could work there.

The plans, assisted by feedback in a public consultation last year and further feedback this year, feature two underground levels making use of the former building basement.

They show a roof terrace and balconies with green infrastructure including trees. This reflects Swansea Council's commitment to green infrastructure. The building's working title is 71 and 72 Kingsway.

The council wants to develop the striking creative hub, with public access. The scheme includes a new link from Oxford Street onto The Kingsway.

The building will be high-tech, eco-friendly and have flexible open-plan work spaces including the balconies overlooking the city centre. 

The design of the building and the new landscaped pedestrian link will include measures to capture rainwater run-off. Some of this will be redirected to irrigate the green elements of the scheme; this will reduce water use. 

Heat source pumps will be used and windows will open. These measures will help heat and cool the building, reducing energy costs.

Council leader Rob Stewart said: "71 and 72 Kingsway will cater for new and existing digital businesses, bringing them together in an ultra-modern flexible workspace environment, generating new jobs and vitality for the city centre.

"We're talking to high-profile potential occupiers already and are confident of demand."

The planning process meant the public had another chance to comment on the plans. An initial public consultation took place last year and resulted in feedback that helped develop the proposals.

It's online here - www.bit.ly/DVplan - and was discussed at the city's Planning Committee this afternoon.

With planning permission nowgranted, construction could start early next year with the building opening in late 2022.

The structure is one of Swansea's major regeneration projects now underway and will stand close to the planned new Biophilic Living - an eco-friendly building with homes and commercial space being driven by Wales-based Hacer - if that goes ahead.

71 and 72 Kingsway - formerly known as the Digital Village - forms part of the Swansea City and Waterfront Digital District project being part-funded by the £1.3 billion Swansea Bay City Deal. Other features of the project include the indoor arena next to the LC, as well as a box village and innovation precinct development for start-up businesses at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David SA1 Waterfront

The first £18 million of City Deal funding has been released by the UK Government and Welsh Government, based on the approval of two projects including the Swansea City and Waterfront Digital District.

Robert Francis-Davies, the council's cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: "71 and 72 Kingsway is designed to attract leaders and innovators in the digital and education worlds.

"There will be high quality digital connectivity along with accessible spaces for events and complementary work activities.

"It will be a focal point for local people to visit and enjoy, with cultural activities and potential for an exciting food and drink offer."

The site is located between The Kingsway and Oxford Street at the heart of Swansea city centre. 

Work on the site will complement the ongoing £12m Kingsway transformation which will see this route become a high quality street, retaining traffic throughput but becoming a lot more pedestrian friendly. The idea is to make it an exciting place to live and work.

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