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Councillors fear dry docks plan will hit future

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: November 24, 2012

By RICHARD YOULE

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EASTSIDE councillors fear ship-dismantling expansion plans could deter investors at nearby SA1.

Clive Lloyd and Joe Hale are objecting to Swansea Drydocks Ltd's bid to add a wet berth at their base at the city's docks.

If granted, the extension will allow the firm to temporarily store vessels and start stripping non-hazardous fixtures. The ships will then be fully dismantled in the dry dock.

The St Thomas councillors said they accepted Swansea Drydocks was creating some jobs, but felt that leisure, retail and housing developers might be less inclined to invest close by if the permit variation was approved by Environment Agency Wales (EAW).

"It just flies in the face of what we are trying to portray as the future of SA1," said Mr Lloyd, adding: "The people of Eastside have had a guts' full of heavy industry." Under-construction developments in SA1 include a £7million health centre, while Mr Lloyd said a new care home was also in the pipeline.

The planning designation of the dry dock site is "ship repairs".

Mr Hale, who like his Labour colleague became a councillor after Swansea Drydocks began operating, said he didn't think a "breakers' yard" fitted in with the aim of SA1 and Swansea becoming a centre for tourism and business.

He added: "When the original licence (for Swansea Drydocks) was agreed we where told we would see an increase in economic activity and employment in Swansea dry dock, but we have seen little evidence that this has been of significant benefit to the local community."

The Maritime Quarter Residents' Association, which covers Swansea Marina, has written a letter to the EAW about what it felt were the risks posed by Swansea Drydocks' application. It also urged the agency to be as vigilant as possible in its monitoring of the company.

A member of staff at Swansea Drydocks said its workforce of 20-plus came from the local area, and that ship repairs comprised the majority of its work.

An EAW spokeswoman said it was considering comments received as part of a public consultation into the plans.

"We will only allow a change to the permit if we are satisfied that the proposed operations will not harm local people's health or the environment," she said.

Swansea Council said it has asked that "appropriate conditions are imposed to ensure existing communities, planned communities and regeneration objectives aren't prejudiced if the EAW is minded to grant consent for the amended permit."

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  • StephenG11  |  December 09 2012, 5:17PM

    Gowerview Ambitious Schemes are all very well but where is the money goiung to come from, whereas this is a real business employing real people right now. We need more of the same, not just grand public sector schemes which will produce nothing for a decade at least. Plus, if we are talking public sector, rather than relying on tourism or retail, I would rather put my money on the new Swansea University Campus on Fabian Way, with industrial spinoffs. Long term too but better than more retail sheds selling imported plastic.

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  • abertawejack  |  December 05 2012, 8:30PM

    Swansea Jobs must not be lost just for over priced private housing, whereby I suspect most of these dwellers commute back and fro to Cardiff. Swansea requires quality work bases established within or around our City, catchment areas. There is indeed a large contingent of unemployed (increasing weekly) here, never mind the bull by certain parties stating the opposite, our City centre gives voice to this by ,inadequate shopping low cost facilities, Swansea City is crying out for a large shopping mall, not as like we see today, closure of our City centre stores with more expensive car parks, of which I noticed the overly and high pricing at the SA1 Marina, east side of the Tawe. How do they get away with this!?

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  • Gowerview  |  December 05 2012, 3:49PM

    I agree with the Swansea Eastside councillors. They are showing concern about the SA1 and marina. It's a concern which many people have and in particular the business owners based at SA1.People want to see ambitious, exciting commercial schemes that give real economic/tourist regeneration. Is a dry dock here going to help the area grow in the manner it should. They need a major regeneration impetus that included SA1 and the city centre. They need more footfall and promises of central commercial and leisure hub on SA1 look firmly in the long grass. Hopefully AM's and regeneration leaders can kickstart real private sector investment in SA1 and the city centre. The city has a unique location next to the ever popular Mumbles and Gower, the city is walking distance from the marina. And the National Waterfront museum ,Swansea museum, Dylan Thomas theatre and LC2 are great facilities which Swansea has – tourism and regeneration schemes can grow around these great places in a great location. A concert venue & indoor ice rink would fit perfectly at SA1. The Swans are courting some respectful and admiring stories from across the globe. It's time the marina, SA1 and Swansea city centre now show that ambitious growth. Hopefully the city & waterside SA1 can embrace landmark regeneration and gain the investment that helps it grow in keeping with the ambitious guidelines set out in the planning strategic framework

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  • Gowerview  |  December 05 2012, 11:58AM

    I think the Eastside councillors are right. Let's think ambitiously for this unique area of Swansea , it's time to see the private sector show confidence in the marina & SA1 . Lets give tourism and existing business a chance. The regeneration movers and shakers need a taskforce on this urgently ! What became of the desire to encourage footfall and to give the SA1 a true commercial hub and focus to area? The infrastructure is there, the marina is walkable from the city centre ....surely a huge drive should now take place to give the city centre and waterside the landmark regeneration set out and promised in the Planning strategic framework. Ship dismantling doesn't create the number of jobs required for the city. And this area needs a landmark regeneration (concert venue ) based around tourism and commercial development

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  • StephenG11  |  December 03 2012, 11:51PM

    Mark Morris 123 And your point is? This is all part of the tapestry of life, in an urban docklands setting?

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  • markmorris123  |  December 03 2012, 7:39PM

    thats right glass recycling right in front of sa1 and wind turbines delivered regular massisve machinery cranes oversize hgvs police escorts daily for the last year or so right in front of new builds on sa1

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  • StephenG11  |  November 25 2012, 4:00PM

    These Councillors defy belief. Perhaps they would like the Council to seek to destroy any other businesses remaining in Eastside? We can not survive by "leisure, retail and housing alone".

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  • westcoastswan  |  November 24 2012, 2:16PM

    If these labour councillors are so concerned about the SA1 development then why aren't they finding out from their labour colleagues in the welsh assembly to why the lock gates for the prince of wales dock to create the new marina for SA1 haven't been built yet and where the money is going to come from !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! After all the marina in the prince of wales dock is the centrepiece of the SA1development. Harbour View and The Haven housing developments are going ahead so the drydocks haven't had any effect there !!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Neathboy234  |  November 24 2012, 2:03PM

    rivergirl i wouldn't worry too much, i'm sure the drivers will be speeding past your so called gateway. With or without gypsies

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  • SAswan  |  November 24 2012, 1:50PM

    Glass recycling takes place in swansea docks right next to SA1 !!! Didn't the saga crusie ship getting stripped out there and dismantled before it was refurbished.

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