(Title Image: BBC Wales)
Yesterday, Suzy Davies AM (Con, South Wales West) used her short debate to set out a case for developing a “parkway” railway station for Swansea as part of the Swansea Bay city region deal.
She argued that while the heart of the plans involves improved digital connectivity, people still needed to be able to get around to make the most of it – transport currently being absent from the plans.
Suzy told the chamber that a parkway station located to the north of Swansea (the former Felindre tinplate works was mentioned as a possible site) would improve east-west journey times and provide a convenient public transport hub for people living in the northern areas of the city which currently lack a rail service. Suzy also hoped it would kick-start plans for a business park at Felindre.
“After years of Welsh Government spending money in an attempt to try and attract tenants to the site, we are just now starting to see some interest. The international parcel delivery firm DPD announced their wish to move to the site and bring 130 new jobs to the area. Now, that is welcome….but it is not exactly the beginning of an economic furnace sparked by the city deal. The leader of Swansea Council is now claiming that there is significant interest from business in the site, and I really hope that he is right as then it’s less of a question about which comes first: investment from businesses in new jobs, or the infrastructure to support them.”
– Suzy Davies AM
Mike Hedges AM (Lab, Swansea East) stressed the importance of providing adequate bus-rail interchanges at all major rail stations and while he didn’t mention the Parkway proposal, he cited a number of districts and suburbs along the railways in the area that should see rail stations built as part of a “reverse Beeching”.
In reply, the Economy & Infrastructure Secretary, Ken Skates (Lab, Clwyd South) said talks were ongoing about a station at Felindre:
“I recently met with the Welsh Secretary and also with the leader of Swansea Council to discuss the proposal for a new station at Felindre. Following that meeting, I asked officials to commission a high-level analysis of the economic impacts of building a new rail station in the vicinity, which also included the impact to Swansea city centre. I think it’s an important point to make….that we should not undermine or destabilise the important longer-term plan….to breathe new life into the city centre itself.”
– Economy & Infrastructure Secretary, Ken Skates