UWTSD secures planning permission for the first phase of the Swansea Waterfront Innovation Quarter
The University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s (UWTSD) ambitious plans to develop a Swansea Waterfront Innovation Quarter in the SA1 region of the city have taken a major step forward today following planning permission approval from the City and County of Swansea.
The ambitious city centre development is set to create a new learning neighbourhood in Swansea, connecting education with business, innovation and enterprise.
During a meeting of Swansea Council’s Planning Committee, planning permission was granted for the first phase of the £300 million project after the consideration of a reserve matters application, covering access, appearance, landscaping, scale and layout.
The first phase of the development will deliver the Library and Faculty of Architecture, Computing and Engineering, with associated central teaching and faculty space.
Councillor Christine Richards, Swansea Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet member for Children and Young People, said: “The University of Wales Trinity Saint David plans approved today are impressive and I look forward to this development getting underway. Together with Swansea University’s Bay Campus and plans for the world’s first tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay, these plans have the potential to help transform the Fabian Way and SA1 area into a knowledge and innovation economy cluster that will complement the city centre’s regeneration, create new jobs and boost Swansea’s profile as a city of academic expertise that’s at the forefront of new research, development and technology.
“Projects of this nature will help raise economic prosperity across the Swansea Bay City Region as a whole and develop spin-off benefits for local residents and visitors including employment opportunities, new facilities and improved infrastructure.”
Professor Medwin Hughes, DL, UWTSD Vice-Chancellor, said: “The Innovation Quarter will not simply be a new campus – it will be a vibrant integrated neighbourhood where we will work with partners to exploit knowledge and expertise to our mutual benefit, develop the skills of current businesses and attract new investment into the region.
“Securing planning permission means that construction can begin later this year to ensure the facilities are ready for the University community at the start of the 2018 academic year.”
Addressing the council meeting, UWTSD SA1 Project Manager Emyr Jones said: “The development of the Swansea Waterfront Innovation Quarter is critical to the success of the University and offers an opportunity to bring employment and prosperity into the area and fulfil the potential of this important site within the heart of the city centre. The state of the art education facilities proposed as part of Phase One is just the start and will act as the catalyst for further development opportunities to evolve. Partnerships with commerce and enterprise along with continuous community involvement will ensure that the project makes a significant positive contribution to the economic and cultural well-being of the Swansea Bay City Region with education playing a central role.”
As a major part of the University’s multi-million pound investment in Swansea, UWTSD has acquired sizable areas of the remaining development land in the SA1 Waterfront area. The master plan includes proposals to develop purpose-built facilities for learning, teaching and applied research as well as social, leisure and wider recreational spaces. The Swansea Waterfront Innovation Quarter is an ambitious city development that will introduce a new innovative, inclusive and inspiring learning environment while connecting education with innovation and enterprise. The Quarter will allow core student services, including student support and a Students’ Union, along with a library, sports and leisure facilities which will sit alongside community and commercial amenities. The University’s vision for this development will create a new beginning for SA1, grounded in the city’s heritage and driven by innovation. It will be made possible through collaboration and partnership with local communities, business and industry, the University’s staff and students, as well as the Welsh Government and the City and County of Swansea.
Earlier this year, the university secured £50 million worth of funding from HSBC, to enable construction of phase one.
Kier Group was awarded a £28million contract in January 2016 to oversee its design and development. Kier was given responsibility for managing the detailed and technical design of the university’s new buildings as well as handling the entire construction process. The Kier team, who are looking for local builders and suppliers to assist with the build, held a Meet the Buyer event in SA1’s Technium 2 last month, with a total of 50 local firms attending.
The long term goal is to create a Swansea Waterfront Innovation Quarter that will be situated in a vibrant, modern waterfront location with easy access to the city centre. Its key aims will be to: • Support and enhance the student experience • Contribute to the viability and ongoing sustainability of the University • Stimulate investment and economic benefits to Swansea, the Swansea Bay City Region and beyond • Provide opportunities for diversifying income streams as the University maximises its engagement with the private sector • Establish a substantial University presence in the SA1 Waterfront area by 2018
Note to Editor
The first phase of construction of the development will include over 12,000 sqm (130,000 sq ft) of purpose-built facilities for learning, teaching and applied research, as well as social, leisure and wider recreational spaces. The University anticipates that this will also facilitate a number of collaborative projects with other organisations who want to be located adjacent to the University’s development and will act as a stimulus to economic regeneration of the SA1 waterfront area.
In the second phase, it is anticipated that up to a further 18,000 sqm will be delivered from 2021 for academic and business uses.
By working in partnership with the Welsh Government and the City and County of Swansea, UWTSD expects the Swansea Waterfront Innovation Quarter will contribute to the ambition of developing a ‘Creative City Region’ strategy and will enhance Swansea’s credentials as a ‘City of Innovation’.