Eyesore Oldway House in Swansea is slowly disappearing
AN eyesore building in the middle of Swansea is slowly disappearing from the city skyline.
A 42-metre-high specialist long-reach excavator has arrived on site at Oldway House in the city centre.
Its arrival means work is forging ahead on demolishing the empty building, and it is expected to be finished by the end of next month.
Swansea Council and the Welsh Government bought the site and large parts of the former St David's Shopping Centre last year.
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A temporary 160-space car park is now available at the former St David's site and, subject to planning permission, an additional 140 temporary spaces will follow on the Oldway House site.
Swansea Council has made the application for the car park on the site, and if it is granted, work could be finished by the end of the summer.
Nick Bradley, Swansea Council's cabinet member for regeneration, said: "Our long-term plan is for a major, retail-led regeneration project in the city centre but, until economic conditions improve, it makes sense to get rid of eyesore sites and introduce more car parking spaces temporarily in the short term by working closely with our partners at the Welsh Government.
"This responds to the needs of shoppers and city centre traders.
"The reaction to the introduction of the first phase of new car parking at the former St David's site was very encouraging from both motorists using the car park and traders nearby.
"What 140 additional spaces at the Oldway House site will do is attract even more shoppers into the city centre at a time when many traders there face stiff competition from internet shopping and out-of-town retail parks."
The Welsh Government contributed grants towards the purchase and demolition of the St David's and Oldway House sites through its regeneration area programme and the business, enterprise, technology and science department.
The demolition and car park works are one part of Swansea Council's city centre action plan aimed at improving the city centre.
Other plans have included the introduction of a city centre loyalty card scheme and more events and entertainment.
When the first part of the car park was opened in December it was hailed by local businesses.
Lee Jones, manager of Cranes music shop, said at the time: "It has got our thumbs up. I know it is not a free car park but it means we will do a lot more business off the back of it."