£40m cable car plan 'would trash historic hill'

Building a multi-million-pound cable car and zipline attraction in Swansea would "trash" the city's historic hill, according to a campaigner.

A planning application by Skyline Enterprise Ltd and backed by the Welsh government also includes luge runs and a café on Kilvey Hill as part of a £40m project.

The plans have support from local businesses, but opponents fear the project will lead to a loss of wildlife and the loss of a green space in the city.

Swansea council said the plans will be subject to a public consultation and all comments will be considered before a decision is made.


Local opposition group on top of the hill
Local opposition groups gathered on the hill to oppose the plans [BBC]

Skyline Enterprises said the project would cover "approximately 10% of Kilvey Hill and allow free, unhindered access to continue while making the hill more accessible".

An economic report published last year by the company said the project would create 100 jobs and will boost the local economy by £84m over 15 years.

Kilvey Hill is a community woodland managed by the Swansea council, Kilvey Hill Community Woodland Volunteers and Natural Resources Wales.

Local opposition groups say around 300 people gathered on the hill to oppose the plans at the end of March.

Picture of local resident, Heather Mylan
Heather Mylan says that walking the hill is good for her mental health [BBC]

Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society, has called on the council to “treasure the hill, not trash it”.

She said: "Kilvey Hill is immensely valuable as a tranquil green space right on Swansea’s doorstep, a part of the city which is lacking in open spaces.

“Skyline’s development will destroy all this."

Heather Mylan, 65, who lives near the hill, described the situation as “heartbreaking”.

She said: “It’s the one piece of countryside I have access to. I can’t go down the Gower because it’s too far and expensive on the bus, but within five minutes I’m here in the countryside."

Tourism is 'essential'

Picture of Stephen Davies, Distillery Chief Executive
Stephen Davies from Penderyn Distillery welcomes the plans [BBC]

It's estimated the project would cost between £34-£40m, with the Welsh government planning to invest £4m into the scheme subject to conditions being met.

Swansea council has also set aside £8m for the project.

The plans show part of the development would be accessed from Copper Quarter, with the base station for the cable cars located next to the new Penderyn Distillery in Landore.

Chief executive of Penderyn Distillery, Stephen Davies, said he welcomed the plans.

He said: “We’ve been open under a year here in Swansea, and as part of the long-term development of the area I think Skyline’s plans are really important to develop this area for visitors and tourism.

“This is an important historic part of Swansea, and I think it’s important that other businesses have the opportunity to develop here, to make it a vibrant and exciting area."

In a statement, Danny Luke, from Skyline Enterprises, said: “Extensive environmental assessments have been carried out with our South Wales-based partners, the environmental dimension partnership, in collaboration with Natural Resources Wales to ensure the site would be sustainably developed, contributing to greater biodiversity at the site."

Swansea council has yet to determine the planning application and its application to dispose of open space here.

The council said: "All comments received in relation to the public open space notice will be considered by cabinet when it meets to make a decision on the matter.

“Any proposal by Skyline will also be subject to a planning application which will be open for a further round of public consultation before it’s considered by the council’s planning committee.”