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Work on scaffolding-clad building in Swansea city centre set to resume

Scaffolding around this Princess Way building will finally come down after work on external wall tiles has taken place (Pic: Richard Youle)

WORK on a scaffolding-clad building in Swansea city centre is finally due to start, more than five years after the scaffolding was erected.

Businesses on Princess Way whose shopfronts have been partially obscured since November 2018 were told about the planned repairs at a meeting attended by representatives of the building’s owners, Quantum Swansea LLP.

The company had previously said legal matters needed resolving – and this has now happened.

A Quantum Swansea LLP spokesman said: “Contractors are engaged and design and pre-commencement activities have started to facilitate the proposed commencement date of January 8, 2024, for the works.”

Tom Clarke, the manager of menswear shop Slater, on Princess Way, said signs of activity had picked up and that what looked like an inspection of the building took place on December 6.

“It is a relief,” Mr Clarke said of the January start date. “We can’t wait.”

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The scaffolding and blue netting had originally been put up for safety reasons as external concrete wall tiles were in danger of falling off.

Various inspections have been undertaken, and legal issues are understood to have complicated matters.

In early 2019, it was reported that 3,000 tiles were going to be removed so that experts could assess the frame behind. Following that exercise, it was said the building would be given a complete facelift.

The owners said in 2021 that they were working hard to rectify the problems and returning the building to its “original glory” was their “absolute priority”.

Then, in November last year, Quantum Swansea LLP said it was in discussions with the original developer, that a lot of work had been done to understand the nature and extent of the issues, and the intention was to start the next stage of work shortly – subject to legal documents being signed off. Whatever has been holding up progress now seems to have been overcome.

Mr Clarke, of Slater, which used to be around the corner facing Castle Square, said he hoped business would pick up once the work was completed.

“The reason we moved was more window space, but we got less with the scaffolding,” he said.

He also said water ingress on the ground floor remained a problem after rain, and the scaffolding had to be taken down in order for this to be addressed.

Sara Morgan – a member of The Gym, Princess Way – said it would be nice to see out of the building once again.

She said: “We’re upstairs and it’s always in the back of your mind, how safe is the building?”

She added that she really sympathised with the ground-floor cafes and shops over the last five years.

An employee of one of the ground-floor units, who asked not to be named, said the building’s owners seemed to be quite motivated at the recent meeting.

“I think it will definitely make a difference,” she said at the prospect of no more scaffolding. “A lot of customers ask about it – they’ve been waiting just as long as us.”

People who spoke to the Local Democracy Reporting Service indicated that somewhere around 22 to 24 weeks had been set aside for the work and it involved checking the wall tiles and replacing them where necessary, but Quantum Swansea LLP has not commented on this.

Meanwhile, Swansea Council is converting the former BHS and Miss Selfridge stores opposite into a new hub – Y Storfa – featuring a relocated central library, archives and other services.

The authority is also behind preliminary work at the adjacent Castle Square ahead of a major revamp of the space.

The plan is to make the square more appealing, with two new small-scale retail or food units, more greenery than currently, a new water feature, and new seating.

The council said it was happy work on the Princess Way building was due to start shortly.

A spokesman said: “We continue to work with the owner of this privately-owned building to facilitate the removal of the scaffolding.”

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