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Last Updated: Monday, 3 October 2005, 16:14 GMT 17:14 UK
'Ghost town' warning to Swansea
Former David Evans building
The former David Evans site is to be redeveloped
Out-of-town retail parks are turning Swansea's city centre into a 'ghost town', a tourism leader has claimed.

Tourism Swansea chairman Geoff Haden said urgent action was needed to reverse the trend.

Since the David Evans department store closed other national retailers have said they would be pulling out.

But council leader Chris Holley said "exciting things" were happening and a ban on further out-of-town sites would allow the city centre to recover.

In recent years two large retail parks have been developed on the outskirts of Swansea - one at Fforestfach close to the M4 and the other next to the new 27m sports stadium at Landore.

What the city needs now is drastic surgery if it is to survive
Geoff Haden

Tourism Swansea has more than 100 members made up of businesses and individuals connected with the industry in the city.

Writing in the organisation's newsletter Mr Haden said a master plan was needed to tackle all aspects of the health of the city centre including transport and communications.

"Other than Saturday night Swansea is starting to resemble a ghost town," he said.

"Weekly we have reports of retailers in the city centre finally giving up the challenge.

Mothercare confirmed last month it would be shutting its store on the Kingsway later in the year and would concentrate on its Mothercare World outlet at Parc Tawe in the city.

"From mighty Mothercare to little Macaris chip shop, they are all caving-in under the pressure of out-of-town shopping," added Mr Haden

"What the city needs now is drastic surgery if it is to survive."

Plans were announced in June to demolish the old David Evans building after the store closed at the start of the year and replace it with a new development.

'Historic failure'

Mr Holley said it was a deliverable project rather than the 'pie-in-the-sky' Castle Quays scheme aimed at redeveloping a much larger area of the city centre, which was dropped after several false starts.

He said the National Waterfront Museum set to open in two weeks and a revamped leisure centre would attract more people to Swansea.

Artist's impression
A 30m development is to be built on the site of the David Evans store

A new bus system and promenade infrastructure project to provide more facilities on the seafront would also play their part, he said.

"It is all very well to criticise the council for an historic failure to deliver for the city centre and I share Mr Haden's view that too little has been done in the past," said Mr Holley.

"However, he should also now recognise that we are working hard to correct these mistakes."

He said the council was waiting for a report by a firm of urban regeneration specialists that would provide a 'roadmap' to take Swansea forward.

"I hope that all businesses and tourist operators will fully engage in this process and play their part in making this city somewhere we can all be proud of," added councillor Holley.


SEE ALSO:
30m scheme for old store site
09 Jun 05 |  South West Wales
City's oldest store closes
15 Jan 05 |  South West Wales
Backing for 29-storey city tower
30 Nov 04 |  South West Wales
City anger over 'ashtray' jibe
17 May 04 |  South West Wales


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