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'Swansea has been short-changed over £19m marina plans'

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: August 31, 2012

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THE Welsh Government has been accused of "short- changing" Swansea over stalled plans for a major new £19 million marina project.

The 400-berth marina in the Prince of Wales Dock was to be the centrepiece of the SA1 development, and would have almost doubled the number of berths available in the city.

The Welsh Lib Dems claimed people and companies had invested in the area on the understanding that the project would go ahead, and that cash generated by selling land to developers would be ring-fenced and used to build it.

But now a letter from Business Minister and Gower AM Edwina Hart has confirmed that ring-fencing was scrapped in 2008, with cash from land sales at SA1 instead going to Cardiff Bay to be redistributed.

The Lib Dem former leader of Swansea Council, Chris Holley, said the news was a blow to the SA1 development.

"The council was a party to the Welsh Government's plans that saw money from land sales on SA1 ring-fenced for the lock gate development and other works. However, this money has now been taken away from Swansea and has been spent elsewhere in Wales.

"That is very shabby treatment of the city by the Welsh Labour Government.

"It is further evidence that Swansea is being continually short-changed by Labour, who have consistently taken voters here for granted."

Fellow Lib Dem councillor and AM Peter Black — who's questioning of the business minister led to the letter — also expressed his concern.

He said: "I will be pressing the business minister for an assurance that the £19 million needed to install these lock gates and channel is found as soon as possible so as to make the second marina a reality.

"People and business have moved to SA1 fully expecting this development to go ahead. It seems that they have been fooled by a false Government prospectus."

Plans to build a new marina for leisure craft in the Prince of Wales Dock were first announced in 2003.

The marina was to be accessed by new £19 million lock gates and a tidal channel, and the area around the entrance was earmarked for a multiplex cinema, bars and cafés, flats and a hotel.

It was hoped the scheme would help make Swansea a major maritime destination on the Bristol Channel.

Though other development has taken place around the dock, the marina has never materialised.

A Welsh Government spokeswoman said the decision to end the ring-fencing of budgets in SA1 was taken by the previous Labour-Plaid coalition.

She said: "The Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science Department has a clear process in place to allocate funding to projects as they are brought forward and has already provided significant support to Swansea, including £2 million in March of this year to acquire Oldway House to facilitate the city centre regeneration.

"In addition, Welsh Government investment in SA1 over the past four years has been £9.3 million, which exceeded sales income in the same period by almost £6.4 million."

The Welsh Government refused to be drawn on whether it was planning to continue with the marina project.

jason.evans@swwmedia.co.uk

01792 514605

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  • immigrant1  |  September 20 2012, 12:55PM

    jacothenorth - the investors were told the truth. A marina was expected to built, but things changed. In fact, one could still be build in years to come. If you're investing it is up to you to make your own judgement about the risks involved. They have no hope of winning any legal battle, unless they have a contract guaranteeing that a marina will be built by a certain date. They are just like many in this country - they refuse to accept responsibility for their own actions and just want someone else to blame.

  • bennyhill4  |  September 05 2012, 6:12PM

    jacothenorth. so they invested because there was going to be a marina? Have you any proof of that, is there anything in writing we can see, or is this all speculation.There is no guarantee's when starting a business so i cant see they have a leg to stand on if they tried to take legal action

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  • jacothenorth  |  September 05 2012, 2:07PM

    Those who have invested in SA1, on the understanding there was to be a marina, and were never told that it wasn't happening, must have a strong case for taking legal action against those who encouraged them to invest and withheld the truth. Question is, do they take action against the leaders of the Labour-Plaid coalition that was in power in the Assembly or the Lib Dems who were running Swansea? Both?

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  • Stork  |  September 04 2012, 2:33PM

    Gowerview I suppose that Swansea is, so....., far away...., from the happening place, Cardiff. A lot of AMs' probably think that the World ends at Ely, Cardiff.

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  • Gowerview  |  September 04 2012, 2:20PM

    Swansea being treated like second class itizens again. Is it getting the landmark regeneration that a city this size deserves? The city centre and SA1 need major 21st century regeneration. Makes you wonder what these AMs , MP's and regeneration experts are doing. Why are other cities and towns seeing major schemes getting delivered succesfully (theatres and marinas and retail regeneration happening at pace throughout UK) yet nothing but flats,the odd bar and affordable homes here?

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  • Stork  |  August 31 2012, 5:28PM

    Ring fencing scrapped in 2008". Yes, a lot of politicians are about 4 years behind the times. This confirms it.

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  • Siloh  |  August 31 2012, 2:24PM

    Chris Holley is proving as disingenuous and inept in opposition as he was in charge of Swansea Council. This funding change happened in 2008 during his tenure of office. He either avoided telling or deliberately withheld this informtion to try and make politicaal capital by blaming Labour if he was still in office for failing to keep yet another of his promises. Perhaps if the LibDems had attracted inward investment as he claimed he could Swansea Council wouldn't be left with no reserves.

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  • Lezz_T  |  August 31 2012, 11:34AM

    £19m to create yet more berths that will only benefit rich boat owners, most of whom wont even live in Swansea? I can think of better ways to spend £19m in Swansea, and Westcoastswan the Cardiff Bay barrage was built by a Tory government in Westminster long before the Assembly came into being.

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  • Neathboy234  |  August 31 2012, 10:54AM

    westcoastswan work began on the Cardiff barrage way in 1994. Back then we were are the start of the biggest boom the UK had ever known. What was it about 16 years of growth in every quarter. Times have changed, £19 million seems a lot more now than it did back then

    |   -5
  • westcoastswan  |  August 31 2012, 10:38AM

    £220 million for the cardiff bay barrage yet they can't find £19 million for the SA1 marina !!!!!!!!

    |   2

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