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New heritage project worth £9.4m a year to Swansea

LED by Swansea Council, the Lower Swansea Valley improvement project is also expected to create 69 new jobs while helping support more than 100 existing jobs.

Aimed at celebrating Swansea’s industrial heritage, the project is being made possible thanks to the council successfully bidding for £20m of levelling-up funding from the UK Government.

The project includes:

  • Restoration of the former laboratory building at the copperworks to create restaurant and food and beverage spaces. Investment in the Musgrave and Vivian engine houses will see a new enclosure built to create a heritage visitor attraction and café. The track and locomotive at the V & S shed will also be reinstated, a marketplace will be created at the former Rolling Mill building, and landscaped public spaces will be introduced on site for visitors.
  • The installation of two pontoons along the River Tawe, and the creation of small retail units for local traders at the Victorian arches on The Strand. An elevator from The Strand to High Street will also be in introduced and work will be carried out to significantly improve the look and feel of The Strand close to its arches and tunnels. Retail pods and better lighting will be put in place in the tunnels.
  • A new-build extension at Swansea Museum – widely celebrated as the oldest museum in Wales – to create more exhibition, learning and gallery spaces and bring parts of the collections stored at the Rolling Mill on the copperworks site to a public venue for display. Outline plans include ideas for new conservation and collection store areas along with education, learning and café spaces which could also create improved links with the open space to the rear of Swansea Museum and the nearby National Waterfront Museum.

Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Investment, Regeneration and Tourism, said: “Swansea has a proud industrial heritage, so the city’s history needs to be conserved and celebrated for the benefit of residents now and generations to come.

“Building on all the great work that’s already taking place, this project will help even better tell the Swansea story in future, while also creating more jobs for local people and more spaces for local businesses to set-up or expand.

“The plans show what can be done to bring historic buildings and structures back into use in a way that not only preserves our past but also creates opportunities for local people and facilities that will further boost Swansea’s economy.”

It’s estimated the overall programme of investment would bring about an additional 8,350 additional overnight visitors and 31,200 daytime visitors each year.

As part of the project, more than 6,000 square metres of public spaces would also be improved.

The copperworks-related aspects of the project would follow-on from existing work to revamp the historic site. This is being carried out by Swansea firm John Weavers contractors on Swansea Council’s behalf, and will include a new Penderyn whisky distillery and visitor centre.

That project, due for completion this year, is being made possible thanks to a £4m grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund in Wales, and £500,000 from the Welsh Government.

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