New £450m Swansea University Bay Campus aims to be one of the greenest …

When it opens this Autumn, Swansea University’s £450m Bay Campus will be one of the few university sites in the world with its own beach.

And now plans are under way to ensure it is one of the greenest with 3,000 trees and 3,800 shrubs having been planted on the impressive, virtually completed seafront site at Fabian Way on the Neath Port Talbot side of the border with Swansea.

And a wide variety of trees and shrubs have been included in the mix to ensure an all-year green look with the vegetation being chosen to reflect the local environment and robust enough to withstand high winds, sea spray, heavy rain and drought.

Aerial picture of Swansea University’s Bay Campus

Variety of plants have been used

The widening of Fabian Way, the main eastern approach to Swansea, required the removal of existing trees and shrubs but the new planting is designed to restore natural cover along the Fabian Way boundary.

A university spokeswoman said “The Bay Campus is also enhanced by the design and public squares, open spaces and landscaped courts, utilising as many local and a variety of species as possible to ensure foliage throughout the year.”

Across the development newly planted trees include alder, birch, poplar, pine, rowan, and hawthorn with shrubs including hazel, hawthorn, holly, alder buckthorn, blackthorn and field rose.

The Bay Campus is close to the Crymlyn Burrows Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), an area that provides examples of habitat transitions between sand dune and saltmarsh, and Swansea University says a planted boundary to the east of the Bay Campus is aimed at protecting the SSSI while at the same time providing limited access to the site for campus users.

Student residences block at the Swansea University Bay Campus

‘A positive and lasting attribute to the community’

Professor Iwan Davies, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, who is leading delivery of the Bay Campus for the university, said: “The selection of species planted at the Bay Campus has been considered to respond to the challenging environment of this coastal location, to withstand strong winds, high levels of rainfall, periods of drought and salt spray.

“Consultation was undertaken with the ecologist from Neath Port Talbot Local Authority to ensure that the appropriate plant species were of local origin and would not cross-pollinate with the adjoining SSSI site.

“Consideration has also been given to seasonal change, where deciduous trees lose their leaves during winter periods and screening is not as effective. Evergreen species that retain leaves throughout the year have been included, such as pines and holly, to still offer canopy cover during the winter.

“The newly planted area to Fabian Way and those throughout the Bay Campus development will be subject to an ongoing management and maintenance programme to ensure the successful establishment of all the soft landscape areas.

“This will ensure that the external areas of the Bay Campus provide a positive and lasting attribute to the community and the locality.”

Around 12,000 permanent jobs by 2020

Swansea University’s vice-chancellor Professor Richard B Davies says the 65-acre former BP site will create around 12,000 permanent jobs by 2020.

He said of the project, which will focus on science and innovation and involves partnerships with the likes of Rolls Royce and Tata Steel :”It will transform this region from the heavy industry economy of yesterday to the hi-tech, knowledge economy of tomorrow”.

The campus overlooks Mumbles and the coasts of Neath, Port Talbot and Porthcawl with Devon and Cornwall in the distance.

A lecture theatre in the new Swansea University Bay Campus

It will house 900 student rooms and will feature an “innovation hub”, a manufacturing centre, a materials research laboratory, a great hall and library, shops, cafes and bars.

Article source: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/new-450m-swansea-university-bay-9553664