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Monday, July 28, 2014

Looking back I see that I've been blogging for over 5 years. At times very prolific but often nothing for months. So it's time to start again in earnest. Maybe twice a week every week and more when there is something particularly interesting I'd like to say. Well. Interesting to me - and I hope to you too.

So this is going to be a mixture of the things I've written across all my blogs.

So lets start off with the for ever on-going Boulevard (lets make this a waterfront city) project. Now almost through year two and Phase One not completed on time so merged with Phase Two, which I guess means the contractors aren't penalised for not finishing the Phase on time. And the Local Authority don't lose face.

The brochure says "Imagine how it would feel to live in a place where a vibrant City Centre lies within close and accessible reach of an award-winning coastline."

In February 2010,  Ann Shields  “On the waterfront” in these cities means vibrant markets, spontaneous performances, and happening social scenes". But little appears to be happening on the Swansea waterfront except in SA1 with the J Sheds and adjacent buildings. There are the small hotels on Oystermouth Road which, in todays leisure look climate should be knocked down and new attractive buildings that would be shops, upper accommodation, cafes, bars and attractions built. But would that take Swansea into the 22nd Century? I guess the planners want to leave us in a time warp of the 1950s. Ok. So they've gone ahead with the Tower, the Marina looks reasonable, the LC and Waterfront Museum, the 360 Watersport Centre, and a few buildings around Salubrious Way. But that seems to be it.

They say there will be new trees and works of art along the Boulevard. When? What cost? Who will see them? Will this be a visitor attraction? The millions that this has cost came from European Funding so I'm told it's not important to the city budget. How much European Funding has created long lasting full time jobs? How much European Funding has brought long lasting employment to the area? How much European Funding is being used for the real good of the community?

The key themes of this so called regeneration programme are:
  • Creating a dynamic mixed-use City Centre
  • Transforming Oystermouth Road and Quay Parade into a Boulevard. This will focus on environmental enhancements and improved links between the city centre and the waterfront while maintaining traffic flows. It will also provide a high quality, accessible location for private sector investment
  • Enhance the character of complimentary areas such as Lower Oxford Street and other City Centre sites.
So far as I can see they have restricted turnings into some side roads and made it very difficult and frustratingly lengthy for pedestrians to cross. Why didn't they build an underpass and pedestrianise the area? You may be pleased the underpath has gone because it was dirty and sometimes dangerous but wasn't that the Council responsibility to keep clean and safe? 

I can't see where this dynamic mixed city will be. The Waterfront Museum and LC are as if an island. The city centre is Oxford Street and quite a walk from the Boulevard as is the Marina. A bit of a mishmash I'd say.

Enhance the character of complimentary areas? How much was spent on Oxford Street compared to the quiet street outside Morgans hotel? And Lower Oxford Street?

And looking at recent Waterfront projects I was disappointed to see that the new flats around the Marina are beginning to look work already. Some metalwork is rusting and the paintwork is looking worn. There is no real excuse apart from cheap products and workmanship. The salt atmosphere cannot be blamed. With new products on the market the elements should be tameable. And you'll see older buildings elsewhere in far better shape.