Plans submitted to reduce flood risk at Swansea University’s Bay Campus
Richard Youle, local democracy reporter
Land at Swansea University’s beach-front campus at Crymlyn Burrows could be raised to ensure future development is flood-proof.
Regeneration company St Modwen wants to transfer thousands of tonnes of soil and gravel from its house-building site at Hendrefoilan Student Village, Sketty, to undeveloped land at Bay Campus.
St Modwen acquired the Bay Campus land from the previous owner, BP, and cleaned it up prior to the university’s second campus being built.
A planning statement submitted on behalf of St Modwen to Neath Port Talbot Council, which will determine the application, said the raising of land levels on just over three hectares of undeveloped land was essential for future growth at the site.
“This will enable remaining academic floorspace and student accommodation permitted by the outline planning permission to come forward knowing that the site levels adequately address the flood risk implications of the site, including taking in to account the effect of climate change,” it said.
The 23,000 cubic metres of soil proposed to be transferred will need to be certified before the material is moved from the student village. If given the go-ahead, the soil would be spread in phases on the western and southern part of the site, raising levels by up to 1.2m.
Not currently at risk
A flood consequence prepared on behalf of St Modwen said the site was not currently at risk of tidal flooding and that it would be largely be at no risk from future tidal events for the next 100 years as a result of the proposal. But it said waves could over-top the site and cause shallow flooding during an extreme event assuming 100 years of climate change-related sea level rise.
The £450 million Bay Campus off Fabian Way opened to students and staff in September 2015, transforming what was once a petrochemicals storage area. The university’s college of engineering and school of management are based there, plus research facilities and student accommodation.
The university still owns and maintains a part of the 50-acre Hendrefoilan Student Village, called Woodside. St Modwen is building houses on the rest of the site, although much of it will be kept as woodland.
Swansea Council said it did not object in principle to St Modwen’s soil transfer plans but recommended that haulage routes from the one site to the other be agreed by both parties beforehand.
Neath Port Talbot Council’s planning department is assessing the application.
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