Plans to place river at heart of Swansea life

A THRIVING River Tawe that links a bustling Swansea city centre with a regenerated Hafod Morfa Copperworks site is envisaged in future.

Hafod Morfa Copperworks (Conceptual)

A vision document that’s now been released for the former copperworks site on the riverside includes the potential for a series of pontoons and landing stations along the river that would help accommodate boat trips for residents and visitors from the Maritime Quarter to the area of the Liberty Stadium.

Other developments include on-going Morfa Distributor Road works between the stadium and New Cut Road in a bid to boost nearby businesses, relieve traffic congestion in the Hafod area and open up riverside sites for regeneration.

Swansea Council and Swansea University are behind the regeneration of the Hafod Morfa Copperworks site. The vision document for the site’s future also includes proposals for a restaurant, an urban square, a living history laboratory and the restoration of historic features.

It’s thought the introduction of pontoons and landing stations along the river could help accommodate a local community rowing club as well.

The council is also researching potential uses for a plot of land close to the Maritime Quarter’s Sailbridge as it looks to market the site to developers in future.

Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said: “We’ve already kick-started the regeneration of the city centre and waterfront with the marketing of the St David’s and Civic Centre sites, but we also recognise the importance of the River Tawe. The river has played a key role in Swansea’s development over the centuries but there’s a real opportunity to make it a focal point of Swansea life once again in years to come. We’re committed to preserving and celebrating as much of Swansea’s heritage as possible, which is why consultation we carried out on the city centre’s future earlier this year also included a focus on how we go about making best use of the river.

“Our recent 15-year agreement to work alongside experts at Swansea University to further regenerate the Hafod Morfa Copperworks site shows how seriously we’re taking our commitment. Our vision for the site isn’t just about conserving buildings of historic value – it’s also about making the most of the riverside by potentially introducing facilities like pontoons, landing stations, boat trips, housing, water-based activities and a restaurant. We’re looking to accelerate works on the Morfa Distributor Road to help bring about this riverside regeneration, tackle congestion in Hafod and benefit businesses in the area.

“These on-going works and plans will build on the success of Swansea Marina, the development of the University of Wales Trinity St David’s SA1 campus and the popularity of ventures like the Swansea Community Boat to re-enforce the river corridor as a key resource for transport, living, recreation and leisure. More railings could also be introduced along the river corridor in future if experts consider the scale of regeneration, activity and visitor numbers warrants it.”

New railings, trees, seating, bins, and public lighting have already been recently installed on the pedestrian and cycle path between the Tawe river bridges and Swansea Yacht Club.

Swansea Marina also again won prestigious blue flag status last month in recognition of its water quality, management and safety. Nearly all original railings at the marina have now been replaced with inwardly curving, stainless steel railings at quayside locations where people change direction or where there’s a high pedestrian footfall.

Subject to funding, other new facilities being proposed for the Hafod Morfa Copperworks site include a pedestrian bridge that links to the White Rock site, a new visitor centre, conference facilities and incubation units for start-up businesses.

With the support of Welsh Government, Cadw and European funds, progress on site has already included clearing vegetation, stabilising buildings at risk, improving access for visitors, community archaeology fieldwork, new pathways, an audio visual trail and new information panels.

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