Page last updated at 16:18 GMT, Wednesday, 30 September 2009 17:18 UK

City gets 38m regeneration cash

Map of Oystermouth Road, Victoria Road and Quay Parade
Oystermouth Road, Victoria Road and Quay Parade are seen as a divide between the city centre and the waterfront

The biggest investment Swansea has seen for 50 years will see £38m being spent on building better links between the city centre and the waterfront.

The money has come from a European fund to improve regeneration will see a new boulevard being constructed as part of the plans.

The four lane road that divides the two halves of the city will also be reconfigured.

However critics are concerned about overdevelopment of the city centre.

The Deputy Minister for Regeneration Leighton Andrews said the plans would revitalise the city and give it status as the "regional capital of south west Wales".

"It will drive forward a major programme of physical regeneration projects geared to support economic growth and tackle some of the issues affecting communities within the city centre area," said Mr Andrews.

"It will lay the foundations designed to bring long term economic and social benefits to businesses, people and communities in the region."

Chris Holley, Leader of Swansea council said it had long been an ambition of the council's to improve the connections between the quay and the high streets.

Artist's impression of the new boulevard
The new boulevard will be built using some of the 38m grant

"The perception of Oystermouth Road is that it's a barrier stopping people from going to the city centre to the bay, we want to get away from that perception," he said.

"We want to make people aware that there is something on the other side of the road worth going to.

"To do that we need to make it easier to cross, easier to drive and more aesthetically pleasing," he added.

Improvement works have been under way in Swansea for some time with the Quadrant bus station currently under development.

But lobbying groups are worried the city's landscape is in danger of being changed beyond recognition.

Eileen Walton Secretary of the Swansea Civic Society said: "It's becoming overdeveloped and in the process we are losing something of the beauty of the area and its amenities.

"You have to be sensitive to what's there, to build upon the history of the city and develop it in character of what is there," she added.

However, shop owners in the area are pleased the project is going ahead.

Travel agent Jill Burgess said: "If you look at the visitor numbers that attend the waterfront museum and leisure centre, one of the biggest problems we have is getting people to come up and visit the city centre because of this natural barrier."

She added: "I think it would be a wonderful investment for the city centre."

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