Swansea’s Labour-led Council is fully in support of a bid for £3.75m from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) which would help transform a key part of the city’s historic Hafod Morfa Copperworks site.
If successful, the grant application would help the Council complete design work on the site’s prominent Powerhouse and undertake building work on the structure’s shell and core.
The work would pave the way for world-famous Welsh whisky brand Penderyn Distillery to expand there as a key tenant.
Council leader Rob Stewart said: “This exciting scheme will create jobs, attract visitors and boost the on-going regeneration of the River Tawe corridor.
“It will further conserve the copperworks site by making use of historically significant buildings in a sensitive and sustainable way.
“We’re determined to work with partners to maximise the river’s potential to develop housing, walks, restaurants, water-based activities, landing stations and boat trips between the city centre and the Liberty Stadium.
“Other wonderful plans for this area include a cable car and other rides on Kilvey Hill, with a visitor centre, restaurant and viewing platform on top of the hill.”
Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, the council’s cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: “We’re proud of our heritage in Swansea, with the celebration of our rich history very much part of our culture that resonates with our status as Wales’ city of culture.
“Supply chain opportunities will be available at the copperworks site, sustainable materials and energy efficiency technology will be used, and targeted recruitment and training opportunities will be included in any construction contracts to benefit the disadvantaged in our communities, if our bid to the HLF is successful.”
Penderyn owner Nigel Short added: “Penderyn wants to be a part of the regeneration of the copperworks and repeat the success we already have with our Welsh single malt whisky and other products.
“The Powerhouse plans are incredibly exciting for us as a business and for Swansea as a forward-thinking community.”
The site dates back to 1808, comprising of 12.5 acres on the west bank of the Tawe and is linked to the city centre by the new 1.7km Morfa Distributor Road.
In its heyday, copper ore from as far afield as North America, Cuba, Australia and South America was smelted at the site, putting Swansea at the centre of a global web of copper trading connections.
The transformation will include: a new-build visitor centre with shop, tasting bar, exhibition space and toilets; the creation of a distillery, offices and VIP bar in the fully refurbished grade two listed powerhouse building; a new barrel store in part of the grade two listed rolling mill; and a new-build covered walkway connecting these buildings.
Other plans include a heritage skills development package during restoration works in areas like lime mortaring, stone masonry and blacksmithing.