SIGNIFICANT progress is being made on ambitious plans for a greener, more prosperous and vibrant 21st century Swansea, a meeting of Swansea Council has heard.
Building on success stories like the Swansea arena, £150m investment in new schools and £6.5m for play areas in every community and the £750m new deal for the city centre, the city transformation is due to accelerate in the coming years.
And after a wonderful Swansea summer packed with major international sports, music and cultural events, the council is taking strides to support residents whose lives are touched by council services every day.
Rob Stewart, Leader of the Council, said progress on projects like the rejuvenation of Mumbles seafront, exciting visitor attractions like the new Penderyn visitor centre in Hafod has already been made.
And he pledged that none of the city’s communities would be left behind thanks to tens of millions of pounds of investment in road improvements, extra street cleaning services and better community facilities alongside support for struggling families and the more help for the homeless.
He said: “Swansea was always city of ambition but now it’s also a city of delivery – based on on our people’s priorities.”
A report to council highlights actions taken over the last year in support of the authority’s policy commitments. They include:
- Upgrade work has started at Cefn Hengoed Comprehensive and a new £7m sports barn for Bonymaen and agreement reached to start consultation on a £43m state-of-the-art special school.
- Expanded free school meal provision and frozen school meal prices where they are charged-for.
- Continuing progress on the new innovation hub at 71/72 Kingsway and the demolition of Ty Dewi Sant as part of the Urban Splash-led regeneration of the city centre
- Planted more than 300 trees in the last 12 months, not including tree whips
- Awarding of 92 grants for town and village communities, worth almost £500,000.
- Completion of the 20-year £500m investment in better quality council housing with work starting on phase two which will see council properties become more energy-efficient.
- Becoming the first Human Rights City in Wales in December, 2022.
- Supporting Ukrainian refugee families to settle in Swansea
Swansea’s local communities have also benefited from:
- Support for eligible households to claim a range of extra Welsh Government cost of living support payments
- Support for more than 120 community projects
- A skate-park strategy which will see £1m investment in the sport.
- New play areas in every community, through the innovative Economic Regeneration Fund.
- Maintaining the council’s ‘always a bed’ commitment to homeless people who want them
- New local Neighbourhood cleansing teams carrying out deep cleans, litter picking and tackling fly-tipping.
- The rollout of more electric vehicle charging points in communities across Swansea
- A start on a next phase of walking and cycling routes around the city.
- A new generation of lighting for Swansea bay prom where work is starting soon
- Introduction of hundreds of new litter bins across Swansea
- Near-completion of bus shelter upgrades across Swansea
Cllr Stewart said that since its launch in June 2022, 71% of policy commitments have been completed, 24% are on track and the remainder are targeted for further action.
He said: “Since the launch of these commitments, we’ve seen the cost of living crisis deepen and our hard-pressed communities turning to us for support.
“It’s why we are continuing to support them with the free bus travel initiative that saw around 230,000 trips made and started work on five more upgrades for outdoor play areas with 10 more to come this year
“We’re continuing to work hard on extending free school meals services to all primary school children, all of which will help families make ends meet at a time when every penny counts.”
“We’ll continue investing in major projects and community priorities like schools, children’s welfare and adult wellbeing. This combined investment enables resilience and promotes wellbeing. It creates and protects jobs and it makes Swansea a better place to live, work and do business.
“And by investing in green energy, growing our green spaces and welcoming new people, new investment and fresh ideas, we can look forward to building a better future.”