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A greener Kingsway as more trees are planted

The Kingsway is looking greener than ever at the heart of Swansea city centre.

KingswayTreesJune2020

With the city centre's biggest ever tree planting scheme back underway, the key street increasingly has the feel of an urban park.

New and existing trees are flourishing together on The Kingsway and surrounding streets that are part of the area's £12m transformation project.

Pedestrians and cyclists are being attracted; they're enjoying broad shared paved areas, green landscaping and a series of crossing points.

Motorists will soon have a switch to a two-way road system with a largely 20mph speed limit. Roads are designed to Department for Transport specifications.

Swansea Council wants to make the city centre a great place to live, work and enjoy. Multi-million pound private development schemes are already underway, bringing new homes, student accommodation, commercial units and office space.

Planning permission has been granted for a large building for tech businesses on the site of the former Oceana nightclub. This will have a significant green element, including trees.

Mark Thomas, the council's cabinet member for environment and infrastructure management, said: "More than 170 trees are being planted as part of the Kingsway regeneration scheme - and it's good to see the public appreciating them as work restarts after a pause due to the pandemic.

"The total number of trees in the Kingsway area - more than 220 - is more than double the number previously there, and is boosting biodiversity alongside large areas of grass and scores of new shrubs and plants.

"The improvements will help bring people and business to an area that's so important to our local economy."

The streets to benefit directly are The Kingsway, Alexandra Road, Belle Vue Way, Christina Street, Cradock Street, De-La Beche Street, Grove Place, Mansel Street and Orchard Street.

The new trees stand up to 10m tall and complement existing mature trees that were retained. New varieties include alder, birch, cherry, lime, maples, flowering pears, snowy mespilus, katsura and Persian ironwood.

They were chosen for their suitability, form, flowering, leaf texture and autumn colouring as well as practical reasons within the street scene.

All planting incorporates protection to stop roots disrupting the pathways and roads that previously happened in locations such as Alexandra Road and Orchard Street.

Robert Francis-Davies, cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: "The trees look fantastic - they're helping to create the right environment for those that live, work, shop and do business in the city centre. They'll help attract further investment."

Cllr Thomas said: "The new trees are helping create a high-quality green artery through the city centre.

"They're already offering a welcoming ambience in the city centre."

Council leader Rob Stewart said: "A greener, new-look Castle Square - recognising the location's garden history - will form part of future city centre improvements, linking it to the Kingsway, arena development and a new-look Wind Street which will have an enhanced environment for pedestrians."

The Kingsway tree planting programme is being supported by business organisation Swansea BID.

Chief executive Russell Greenslade said: "The trees look terrific. People who haven't been to the city centre for a while due to lockdown will notice a big positive change to the environment.

"Our greener and more attractive city centre will attract more shoppers and will make it a more appealing place to do business.

"We are pleased to see the council's commitment to a greener city centre coming to fruition."

Previous city centre tree planting projects such as the Boulevard and Westway have seen the council introduce significantly more street trees and greenery than were previously present.

More trees will be planted on a coastal-themed parkland to be developed next to the indoor arena, now going up next to the LC.

Photo: Trees on The Kingsway at its junction with St Helen's Road and Dillwyn Street.

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