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Meet the traders at the heart of Swansea's transformed High Street

From vinyl, coffee and jewellery shops to restaurants, bars and art galleries, dozens of traders are at the heart of High Street's ongoing transformation in Swansea city centre.

4 The Region team

4 The Region team

Over £100m is being invested in the area thanks to a combination of schemes being led by Swansea Council, Coastal Housing and other organisations.

Examples include a council scheme to bring the Palace Theatre back to life and Coastal Housing's plans to expand its Urban Village development which already includes a range of office, retail and hospitality businesses.

Among the organisations based on High Street is 4TheRegion, which has now had a base at Swansea Railway Station for four years.

Zoe Antrobus, 4theRegion managing director, said: "I love High Street because of the diversity of businesses there and the community element of it, which is fantastic.

"Things have really improved in recent years, thanks to the efforts of Swansea Council, Coastal Housing and all the local businesses.

"High Street is a hub of creativity as well due to venues like Volcano Theatre and art galleries like Elysium."

Dan & Tim (Elysium)

Daniel Staveleyfounder and director of Elysium gallery and studios, said: "Things have changed so much for the better in recent years, and High Street is no longer just a gateway to and from the railway station. It's starting to build its own community.

"Developments like Coastal Housing's Urban Village have helped lead to this change, as well as arts organisations moving into High Street. This has led to a lot more people visiting High Street which has meant more shops and independent businesses opening up to cater for them.

"We have bright hopes for the future too. We have just secured Arts Council funding for three years for our gallery programme and the bar is busier than ever, with events and gigs taking place there every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday night."

Christina (Arcadia)

Christina Reynolds, the owner of Arcadia Gemz, Beads and Jewellery on High Street, is encouraging more people to visit High Street and see the change for themselves.

Christina said: "There's a lot of money being spent on High Street and because of that we're finding that most of the problems that were here 15 to 20 years ago are no longer an issue.

"The mix of traders on High Street now is fantastic. You have everything here from all different types of cafes to lots of independent shops.

"I'd encourage people to come to experience High Street as it now is to see how much things have changed."

Matthew Davies (Tangled Parrot)

Matthew Davies, owner of the Tangled Parrott record shop and café, said: "I first became interested in opening a business on High Street back in 2018 because I could see how things were changing, but I'd say it's changed again for the better in the last two years.

"There's a vibrant arts and music scene on High Street and a lot of interaction with the community, as well as businesses who collaborate to hold events like the High Street Rising festival."

Safyan Shahid (Bowlz)

Safyan Shahid, the co-owner of Bowlz dessert shop, said: "I think High Street has improved a lot. Having students in the area is really positive because it generates passing trade for businesses based here.

"We're still being discovered too, with people coming in most weeks and saying they didn't know we existed.

"We're trying to add to High Street, and we're glad more businesses are opening. That draws new people to High Street."

Among the new businesses on High Street itself is NerdWare, which sells comic books and cards.

Connor Hale (NerdWare)

Owner Connor Hale said:  "We've been trading for about two years but have now had a shop on High Street for three months. It's been pretty good so far, following on from stores we've had in Swansea Market and the High Street arcade.

"Having a shopfront on High Street itself makes the business far more visible and encourages passing trade."

As well as the Palace Theatre project, Swansea Council is also leading on plans to better link High Street with The Strand as part of the Lower Swansea Valley improvement being part-funded by the UK Government through its levelling-up programme.

Other plans include Coastal Housing looking to bring High Street's former Kings Arms Tavern building back into commercial use.

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