Coastal’s Castle Quarter - an outdoor classroom for Swansea students


A group of students from UWTSD were given a lesson in regeneration and demolition when they paid a visit to Coastal Housing Group’s newest development - Castle Quarter. 

Students of UWTSD  School of the Built and Natural Environment

As demolition commenced on site, two groups of students from UWTSD took part in the field trip. Students from the HNC, HND Building Studies and BSc Project and Construction Management programmes were given a real life insight into the £8 million land regeneration scheme to aid them in their studies so that they can apply practical experience to their relevant courses. More than 16 students took part in the field trip, as Coastal seeks to increase its relationship with the University as part of its commitment to improve the communities in which it works.

Coastal Housing Group plans to invest in regenerating the land off Castle Lane, conveniently located in Swansea city centre. This development is set against the dramatic backdrop of Swansea’s historic castle remains, the Castle Quarter development will consist of 26 affordable rented apartments, with a further 4 duplex units overlooking the castle which are available for private sale. The ground floor of the development will consist of a small number of commercial units, including a kiosk located on The Strand.

The Castle Quarter development is a unique project in the city centre. The project consists of the demolition of properties on The Strand level before the construction phase may begin.‌

Locally based demolition contractor L.G Murphy (Swansea) Ltd, have been engaged to carry out the demolition of the buildings. The family run business has over 45 years of experience and has undertaken a variety of complex projects during this period.

Clare Watkins, head of Coastal’s supply chain targeted recruitment and training programme, said: “We are consistently looking to develop our relationships within the education sector and we already have an excellent relationship with UWTSD which we are pleased to be strengthening further. This visit to our Castle Quarter development is just one of the projects we are running in conjunction with local organisations and we are receiving excellent feedback from all concerned.”

One student to have benefitted from the link up is 23 year old, BSc Project and Construction Management student Mairead McGoldrick. She said: “We are obviously learning a great deal of theory through the course but it’s so beneficial to supplement this with real life case studies of schemes being undertaken by large players within the regeneration sector. Everyone really enjoyed the visit and learning about the various mechanics and technology required in such work – it certainly helps us translate theory into practice.”

During the visit, representatives from Coastal’s demolition contractor, LG Murphy, talked of the issues and methods of demolition when working on a complex site such as Castle Quarter, whilst Coastal addressed the importance of community consultation and inclusion.

The development represents a significant investment by Coastal in the local economy.  Subject to planning permission being secured, the project will create jobs and training opportunities during construction, including apprenticeships. In addition, jobs will also be created in the commercial units once they open for business.

Programme Director, Mike Cullis of UWTSD added: “We are reliant on organisations like Coastal Housing Group to support our academic courses - the benefit to students is phenomenal. While Coastal was at the height of its High Street regeneration scheme we carried out numerous site visits, which helped us build a more positive relationship with Coastal Housing. Site visits are vital learning tools and we hope that the link will continue to grow as Coastal increases its development plans across the area.”

The Coastal Housing Group supports people by developing homes and communities across Swansea and Neath Port Talbot. It has one of the largest affordable housing development programmes in Wales, investing over £30m every year. The organisation offers desirable, affordable homes, for rent and sale, to people with different needs, lifestyles and accommodation preferences. It is expert in supporting people who require adapted homes, help in managing their tenancy and provides specialist services for older people.

Coastal Housing is an industrial and provident society, existing only for the benefit of the community.  It is run by a voluntary Board of Management that includes tenant members.