Only on maps is it known as Wind Street. If you are from Swansea, the most lively and attractive street in the city centre is known as ‘Wine Street’. We think its derived from the original Welsh name for the area fused over time with the history of the area as a location for bars and wine merchants.
The area’s history runs deep, it has the highest concentration of listed building in Swansea, and a reputation for drinking and entertainment that includes the poet Dylan Thomas and notoriety from the Second World for a young GI and future heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano flooring an antagonist.
As one of the very oldest streets in Swansea, it has seen many changes both to its layout and its building. It became a backwater in the second half of the 20th century when the commercial centre of Swansea shifted. However, it has continued to evolve and is now the beating centre of the vibrant evening and night time economy.
Wind Street is now known for its modern pubs, bars, clubs, and restaurants, as well as some of the oldest including the No-Sign Wine Bar. Whilst the areas reputation over the years has been linked with drunkenness and bad behaviour, today it has a very contemporary and relaxed feel to the area matched by its Purple Flag status.
In recent years, the pedestrianisation of Wind Street has been considered as a strategy to support the regeneration of the city centre and to strengthen its day, evening and night- time economy. Previous surveys and discussions have indicated that there is widespread support for this idea from local businesses and residents.
Owen Davies Consulting and Element Urbanism, have recently been appointed by Swansea Council and Swansea BID to take the next step to examine the feasibility of pedestrianisation in greater detail. We have just begun and are expected to be completed by April 2018.
Some of the key aspects of our work include:
- There is an opportunity to create a physical and economic environment that addresses the day, evening and night time economies in equal measure. Wind Street can become more flexible and inspiring as a landmark and destination from the ‘day into night’
- We need to consider a range of factors, some of which are non-physical, such as those relating to the way the street is regulated, managed and maintained.
- The project should help create new economic opportunities through motivating businesses to become more creative, inspiring and ambitious with their day and night time operations
- Design physical improvement that integrates with the rest of the city centre including the city centre regeneration framework, St David’s and the Castle Square redevelopments
- Consider the importance of ‘symbolic capital’ and how to enhance its brand and character as part the city-wide ENTE, and that of a ‘happy, friendly, diverse, culturally rich city by the sea’.