A zip wire attraction 30 miles from Swansea isn’t a threat to the proposed luge and zip wire development on the city’s Kilvey Hill, council leader Rob Stewart has said.
The Zip World site near Hirwaun, Rhondda Cynon Taf, will feature three zip wire runs and is due to open this spring.
In Swansea, New Zealand-based Skyline Enterprises has proposed a thrill-seeking development featuring luge runs and zip wires, costing tens of millions of pounds.
Gondolas and a chairlift would take people up the 630ft hill, where a new restaurant could be built. Mountain biking is also being considered.
Speaking at a council scrutiny meeting, former council leader Cllr Chris Holley said “there must be a real concern” about the effect of the Zip World project near Hirwaun, adding that adverts about it said Swansea was “only 20 minutes away”.
But Cllr Stewart said this wasn’t the case, as Skyline Enterprises was keen to see a cluster of leisure attractions in the region to entice visitors.
He added: “This (Skyline Enterprises) is not just a zip line facility – the majority of the attraction in Swansea will be luges, which is Skyline’s core business.”
The Swansea Labour leader said discussions between Skyline Enterprises and the Welsh Government regarding a possible investment from the latter were continuing.
He said: “One of the things the Welsh Government and Skyline have been very keen to see is a clustering of attractions.”
He added: “One of the things Skyline has pushed us on is, ‘Okay if we bring our attraction to Swansea, what else is in the area that people can choose to do when they visit?’
“So it’s part of that wider strategy.”
Cllr Stewart said the tourism economy in Swansea was worth around £400 million per year, and that a wider leisure offer would help it compete with other UK regions for home-grown and foreign tourism.
Skyline Enterprises first outlined its Kilvey Hill project in 2017, but it’s still relatively early days and no planning application has been submitted.
It has, however, signed a heads of terms agreement with the council about how the two organisations would work together to realise the project, although the authority would not provide funding.
The gondolas would ferry customers up the hill from land near the old Hafod-Morfa Copperworks – itself the subject of a major upgrade.
The Labour administration is also leading and financing the development of Swansea’s new indoor arena, which is now watertight and due to open later this year.
Also present at the scrutiny meeting was the council’s property development manager, Huw Mowbray, who said: “Skyline are very aware of what’s going on around them.
“They don’t see Zip World, which is different, as a competitor. They see it as a positive.”
Last November Cardiff Council approved plans for a zip wire at the capital’s Principality Stadium.
Cllr Holley also asked at the scrutiny meeting about progress on the long-awaited transformation of Castle Square, in the city centre.
In 2017, cabinet paved the way for a Castle Square development brief to be taken forward, and in May 2019 a private sector team was appointed to do just that. Cllr Stewart said detailed designs were being drawn up, and that cabinet would be asked to consider an investment.
The Swansea Labour leader said he thought people would be really impressed with the designs. “It is a re-imagining, bringing back some of the charm of the old Castle Gardens but together with a more modern, welcoming space for people to enjoy,” he said.