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Step Forward For Swansea Heritage Site

Artist's impression of the new visitor centre for Penderyn distillery

Planning permission given for Penderyn distillery

Plans to revitalise a former hotbed of Swansea industry have taken another big step forward.

A scheme that will see Penderyn Distillery expand into part of Swansea’s historic Hafod Morfa Copperworks site has been given listed building consent and planning permission.

Plans for the disused site opposite the Liberty Stadium, 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 powerhouse building;
  • a new barrel store in part of the grade two listed rolling mill now used as the Swansea Museums collections store;
  • a new-build covered walkway connecting the refurbished powerhouse, new-build visitor centre and barrel store;
  • landscaping;
  • 60 parking spaces.

The transformation would be home to the Penderyn Experience whisky tour that would also educate people about the site’s rich history and could attract more than 50,000 visitors a year.

The listed building consent application and planning application, submitted by Swansea Council, have now been approved as part of formal processes.

Construction work is expected to take place from the end of this year and through 2020 and 2021, with Penderyn planning to open there in 2022.

The scheme, designed by GWP Architecture, forms part of a successful council application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for a £3.75m grant for the work.

The council worked with partners - including Penderyn and Swansea University - to create the National Lottery Heritage Fund bid. Success was announced publicly in November.

Council leader Rob Stewart said: “This exciting scheme will create jobs, attract visitors and boost the on-going regeneration of the River Tawe corridor. I thank National Lottery players who are helping make it reality.

“The world-famous Penderyn brand will come to Swansea and one of our most historic sites will be developed in a sensitive and sustainable way.”

Robert Francis-Davies, cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: “We want to maximise the River Tawe’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 a high-speed zip wire ride on Kilvey Hill, with a visitor centre, restaurant and viewing platform on top of the hill. We wish to develop a world class tourist destination there, with Penderyn being the start.

“We’re working hard with the public, private sector partners and others to make the riverside corridor a key to unlocking Swansea’s great future potential.”

Penderyn owner Nigel Short said: “The plans are exciting for us as a business and for Swansea as a community with great plans for its future prosperity.

“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 Penderyn scheme will build on preservation and interpretation work already under way at the Hafod Morfa Copperworks site, thanks to the Cu@Swansea project led by Swansea Council and Swansea University. 

The site dates back to 1808, comprises 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.

Professor John Spurr, head of the College of Arts and Humanities at Swansea University, said: “The planning permission is good news. This is an exciting scheme that shows how Swansea University research is making a positive difference in our city.

“We’re delighted that this ambitious project has taken a major step forward. More people will now be able to learn about Swansea’s great copper heritage and provide a home for our work in heritage research, teaching and public engagement.”

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