Once upon a time it was one of Swansea's busiest city centre streets. Crowds would flock to the shops, hotels and other businesses there and the roads and pavements would be full of pounding feet and rolling wheels. Many towns and cities have a 'high street' - but this was and is Swansea's High Street.

Then things started to go south, or compass west in fact - Oxford Street and adjoining roads and shopping centres sucked all the people away from High Street and the area sunk into a steady decline. WalesOnline and the South Wales Evening Post often wrote about the state of the street.

In 2019 a WalesOnline headline read, 'The ‘welcome to Swansea street’ where police are called into action three times a day'. To be fair, the street had already begun to see improvements, with new businesses including shops, cafes and galleries opening, but business owners still spoke of having to deal with drug addicts and alcoholics on a daily basis, and the crime figures for the area spoke for themselves.

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There have been even more changes since then, despite the impact of the Covid pandemic, with large new student accommodation blocks opening, and more new businesses arriving, plus, further up High Street, beyond the railway station, the historic old Palace Theatre is being restored to former glories with a new future planned.

But there remains a very tatty side to parts of High Street, with some old buildings untouched for decades and looking like you'd expect them to look, given that fact. Now a housing developer has asked for permission to tear down a building there due to safety concerns. Coastal Housing has made an application to Swansea Council for the prior notification of the demolition of 225 High Street in Swansea.

the old Shoulder of Mutton pub in swansea
Many of the old units along High Street have seen better days, including the old Shoulder of Mutton pub
old swansea buildings
A couple of the neglected units which are located just around the corner from the city's main train station

Documents submitted to the council describe the three-storey building, which runs parallel with Kings Lane, as being in a "dilapidated state", adding "it is recognised that the building is in a very poor condition and represents a public health and safety risk."

The former ‘H Phillips Electrical’ store, which has stood empty for more than a decade, is affected by loose and dislodged masonry, cracking to its render, vegetation growth, debris, corroded steel beams and saturation to its timber joists among other problems. For the latest Swansea news, sign up to our newsletter here.

And it's not the first building which has had to be demolished along the same street by Coastal Housing. In March, 2022, we reported how 226 and 226A High Street had to come down, also due to safety worries, with "a risk of masonry collapsing onto the public footway". You can read more about that by clicking here.

The housing association has taken on a great deal of regeneration work in the area over the years, having invested nearly £30 million in the area over the last decade or so. Last year, it acquired the former Kings Arms Tavern and has plans to redevelop this listed building before bringing it back into commercial use. Try WalesOnline Premium for FREE by clicking here for no ads, fun puzzles and brilliant new features.

In April, 2023, we reported how it wanted to create a two-storey shipping container development on the corner of The Strand and Kings Lane. There would be affordable one and two-bed apartments in a six storey-block to the side along with ground floor commercial space. It forms part of Coastal Housing's Urban Village development between The Strand and High Street.

Together with Swansea Bay University Health Board, it also has plans for a new wellness centre opposite the Urban Village between High Street and Orchard Street. You can also read more about that by clicking here.

old Thomas Cook
A sign of what once was
old building
The old Argos building, whilst currently occupied by Christian charity Step by Step (Wales), has seen better days

A spokesman for Coastal Housing said: "Coastal recently acquired 225 High Street after the building had been vacant and derelict for a number of years. Due to concerns over the condition of the property following structural inspections, Coastal is now seeking consent from the local planning authority to demolish it.

"The wider site is subject of ongoing plans by Coastal to regenerate the area, which 225 will now form part of. Coastal’s aim is to turn the area into a vibrant neighbourhood, made up of quality buildings and outdoor spaces that will attract new residents, businesses, community uses and create new jobs."

Those changes can't come soon enough for a street, parts of which seem to be crumbling before our very eyes. In many ways, High Street has come a very long way in quite a short period of time, and there are some exciting prospects for the future, but there remains an enormous amount of work left to do, and the clock is ticking.