THE WELSH Government is planning to fill in a water channel at Swansea docks and build a road across it.
The road across the channel at Prince of Wales Dock, SA1, would provide a link from Kings Road, where the University of Wales Trinity Saint David campus is, along the south of the dock and from there up to Langdon Road, which connects to Fabian Way.
There is currently a swing bridge with a road across the channel, but it’s only for the use of dock owners Associated British Ports (ABP).
The plan submitted to Swansea Council is for this private ABP road to remain, with the new road running parallel to it. There would also be a pedestrian footbridge, meaning people could finally walk all the way around the dock.
A planning statement submitted on behalf of the Welsh Government said: “The development will enhance the network of convenient and direct routes at SA1 and is anticipated to be well used.”
Under the plans a new culvert would be installed to maintain water flow between Prince of Wales Dock and Kings Dock, although a different culvert option might be considered.
Discussions about the proposal began four years ago with council officers – and Natural Resources Wales would need to approve a marine licence before any work got under way.
The planning statement said marine habitats and species within Swansea docks were considered “commonly occurring” and not designated as nationally rare or protected. It added: “The overall potential changes in water quality during operation are considered to be insignificant.”
An environmental appraisal has been carried out as part of the application, assessing marine ecology and water quality among other things. It said: “No significant environmental impacts, either as a result of the project alone or in-combination with other plans, projects or activities, are anticipated during construction or operation.”
There are separate plans for a housing development and car park on the south side of Prince of Wales Dock, which hosts watersports activity such as the swimming leg of triathlons. And there are wider ambitions for new businesses and up to 525 new homes along what is known as the Fabian Way corridor leading towards Swansea University’s Bay Campus.
A commercial marina within the Prince of Wales Dock had been a Welsh Government aspiration, but it said in 2019 that it would cost £25 million and was not a priority at that time. Ministers took control of the dock from APB last year, and navigation rights ceased.
Cllr Sam Bennett, who represents the Waterfront ward, said he backed the new road and channel in-fill application. “It’s the missing link that would open the docks up,” he said. SA1 residents, he added, had wanted to be able to walk around Prince of Wales Dock for a long time.