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									Tall Buildings Strategy

Tall Buildings Strategy
            October 2008

Tall Buildings Strategy

Contents Page
1.   Introduction
     Policy Background
     The Strategy
     The City Centre

2.   Tall buildings
     What is a Tall Building?
     Role of Tall Buildings

3.   Context
     Land Uses
     Built Form
     Existing Buildings
     Landscape and Seascape
     Key Approaches
     City Centre Framework

4.   Policy
     Policy Overview
     Principle Location of Tall Buildings
     Design of Tall Buildings

5.   Appendices
     Appendix 1: Submitting a Planning Application
     Appendix 2: Policies and Guidance
     Appendix 3: Consultation

                                                  Tall Buildings Strategy

                                                  1. Introduction
Aerial view of Swansea                            The Tall Buildings Strategy is one of a series of interrelated initiatives
                                                  that the City and County of Swansea are developing to improve the
                                                  long-term performance of the city and the quality of the built and
                                                  natural environment for residents, visitors and businesses.

                                                  The other initiatives are:

                                                  •	   City Centre Strategic Framework (Roger Tym &Partners);
                                                  •	   Swansea Bay Strategy (White Young Green);
                                                  •	   Tawe Riverside Corridor (Hyder Consulting); and,
                                                  •	   Swansea Tourism Strategy (Stevens & Associates).

                                                  These studies will provide a framework to guide future development
                                                  and enhancement, and compliment existing regeneration initiatives
                                                  in the City of Swansea.

                                                  Swansea is not a tall city, however opportunities exist for tall
                                                  buildings. Until recent times the tall buildings in Swansea have been
                                                  the church spires, the Guildhall Tower and the cranes in Swansea
                                                  dock.	The	1960s	and	70s	saw	a	changing	skyline	with	the,	office	
                                                  development in the town centre, with the BT Tower raising the
                                                  skyline to 13-storeys, residential development in the marina and
                                                  DVLA	offices	on	the	outskirts	of	Swansea.	The	University	of	Wales	
                                                  Swansea has grown considerably over the years with many new
                                                  buildings and future plans for expansion. Recent planning approvals
                                                  now include Merdian Quay, a 29-storey residential tower with
                                                  restaurant and viewing tower at the top, and Aurora Tower, a 14-
                                                  storey building at Swansea Point.

                                                  Swansea is now undergoing a renaissance of development and
                                                  pressure is growing for greater intensity of development, which has
                                                  prompted the need for a Tall Buildings Strategy to guide the growth
                                                  of the city.

             INTRODUCTION   CONTEXT   BUILDINGS   POLICY                                   APPENDICES                     1
Swansea Context Plans

                                                              Policy background
                                                              This strategy has been produced in response to national planning
                                                              advice, including the Guidance on Tall Buildings document produced
                                                              by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment
                                                              (CABE) and English Heritage. Guidance encourages local
                                                              authorities to identify suitable locations where tall buildings are
                                                              and are not appropriate, in areas where such developments are a

                                                              The growing need for a Swansea Tall Building Strategy has
                                                              arisen from increased developer interest, a growth in tall building
                                                              applications and growing acceptance that a coherent approach to
                                                              future tall building proposals in the city is required.

                                                              Following consultation, the City and County of Swansea adopted the
                                                              strategy in October 2008. The strategy will form a key development
                                                              control tool for appraising tall building applications.

                        Plan showing the relationship of
                        Swansea City Centre to the Bay, the
                        location of landmark buildings and
                        key viewing points.

                                                         Tall Buildings Strategy

                                                         The Strategy
City Centre Facilities Plan                              The Strategy considers the urban context of the city, the role of
                                                         tall	buildings	and	identifies	appropriate	places	where	tall	buildings	
                                                         may be located. The strategy sets out advice on the design of tall
                                                         buildings and the supporting information that is required by the City
                                                         and County of Swansea to be submitted with a planning application.

                                                         The	aim	of	the	Strategy	is	not	to	be	site	specific,	nor	to	establish	
                                                         appropriate building heights, but to identify areas of opportunity.
                                                         It focuses on the responsibility of the applicant to justify their tall
                                                         building application, encouraging high quality design.

                                                         The Strategy recognises that tall buildings can have a positive role in
                                                         the city, but that they must relate to the context of the area, be well
                                                         designed, demonstrate the application of sustainability principles
                                                         and be close to supporting uses and infrastructure.

                                                         City Centre
                                                         The Tall Buildings Strategy is applicable to the whole of the City
                                                         and County of Swansea. The main thrust of the Strategy, however,
                                                         focuses on the city centre where tall buildings are considered more
                                                         physically and economically viable. It also considers other areas
                                                         including the university and SA1 waterfront development.

                                                                                      A   Alexander House (tall building)
                                                           A                    I     B   BT Tower (tall building) and Swansea Castle
                                                                                      C   Guildhall Tower (tall building)
                                                                                H     D   County Hall
                                                                                      E   Marina Tower (tall building)
                                                                                G     F   SA1 Waterfront development
                                                                                      G   Swansea Sailbridge
                                                                                      H   Swansea Rail Station
                                                           C      D      E      F
                                                                                      I   Liberty Stadium

              INTRODUCTION    TALL BUILDINGS   CONTEXT   POLICY                                       APPENDICES                        3
Tall Buildings
The impact of a tall building is relative to its height and slender proportion.

The greater the building is         As the height of the building increases in relation to surrounding buildings,                           When the slender proportion decreases, and the height increases, the
above twice the height of           the impact increases. The taller and more slender the building, the greater                             impact of the building increases. The taller and wider the building, the
surrounding buildings, the          the vertical emphasis it will have to its overall mass.                                                 greater the impact of the building.
more impact it will have.

Marina Tower:                                                                 BT Tower:                               Alexander House:                                                    Salubrious place:
Tall building, twice the height of surrounding buildings                      Tall building with high visual impact   Tall, slab building                                                 Focal building, less than twice the height of surrounding buildings

                                                                                                                                                                               Tall Buildings Strategy

                                                                                                                                                                               2: Tall Buildings
What is a tall Building?                                                       Some church spires in Swansea are tall buildings because their                                  functions that:
A tall building in the context of the City and County of Swansea is            height is generally greater than twice the height of the church and
one that is substantially taller than surrounding buildings.                   surrounding area and the spires are very slender. Alexander House                               •	   Create a distinctive skyline that projects a new image for the city;
 In general a building that is more than twice the height of                   is a tall building, 13-storeys to the adjacent 3/4-storey buildings. It is                      •	   Form key landmarks within a legible city;
adjacent buildings will be classed as a tall building.                         however very wide and therefore creates a slab appearance, which                                •	   Contribute to a cluster signalling a key gateway or area;
                                                                               is more dominant. Tall buildings also should not appear monolithic                              •	   Mark important public, civic or institutional uses;
In the city centre existing buildings are generally 3-5 storeys and a          -	a	common	failing	of	many	of	the	first	generation	tall	buildings	in	                           •	   Demonstrate a growing economic position; and
tall building would be any building taller than 6-10 storeys. In more          Swansea.                                                                                        •	   Set a precedent for sustainable development through the
peripheral areas where buildings are 2-3 storeys, a tall buildings                                                                                                                  application of best practice requirements, maximising densities,
could be 4-6 storeys and higher.                                               Role of Tall Buildings                                                                               and proximity to public transport.
                                                                               Tall buildings are playing an ever-increasing role in the future
The proportion of a tall building, that is its width to height ratio, will     development of our cities. Tall buildings can be iconic structures for                          Tall buildings, should, like all new development be a positive
affect the visual dominance of a tall building and consequently the            an individual use, signify areas of regeneration or act as symbols of                           contribution to the life of a city but due to the prominence of tall
aesthetic quality. Buildings that are as wide as their height will not         economic activity and global positioning.                                                       buildings more care is required in the siting and design of the
look as slender as buildings that are higher than their width.                                                                                                                 buildings,	to	ensure	that	they	achieve	the	role	identified	in	the	brief.
                                                                               In the context of Swansea, tall buildings can serve a number of

                                                                                  The Shard London Bridge
Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth                                                       Elegant, slender, 310m ‘glass’ tower, a key   Frankfurt, Germany                                                                       The Turning Torso, Malmo,
Landmark 170m tower with observation deck.                                        addition to the capitals skyline.             Clustering of tall buildings, the commercial heart of the city.                          Sweden

                 INTRODUCTION                                 TALL BUILDINGS                                        CONTEXT                                                   POLICY                                    APPENDICES                        5

                                                       Tall Buildings Strategy

                                                       3: Context
Topography                                             The topography of Swansea is an important factor to be considered
                                                       in determining the appropriate location for tall buildings. The
                                                       escarpment above the Strand forms a prominent topographical
                                                       feature. Mayhill and Kilvey Hill form the upper ridgeline of Swansea’s
                                                       rolling hillside and the distinct edges of the lower Swansea Valley.
                                                       The valley creates a distinct break in the skyline, clearly visible from
                                                       the sea and along the western stretches of Swansea Bay.

                                                       In	Swansea	the	city	centre	sits	at	a	lower,	relatively	flat	level,	rising	
                                                       gradually towards the railway station. Tall buildings set against the
                                                       backdrop of the surrounding landscape can have a lower visual
                                                       impact than buildings that break the skyline. Building on top of the
                                                       surrounding hillsides is visible on the horizon and therefore more
                                                       prominent than building at a lower level.

                                                       The city centre contains the major retail, leisure, cultural, commercial
                                                       and	office	district	for	the	city,	with	the	civic	and	administrative	
                                                       uses generally located towards the city waterfront. Former and
                                                       existing	industrial	areas	exist	along	the	Tawe	River.	Identified	as	
                                                       a development opportunity, the Tawe Riverside Corridor Study
                                                       establishes a vision to “develop a modern attractive and vibrant
                                                       riverside urban area, creating a place where people wish to live, visit
                                                       and work”. SA1 Waterfront regeneration area and dockland area
                                                       form the eastern approach to the city centre.

                                                       The main campus for the University of Wales Swansea and the
                                                       Singleton Hospital are grouped along the waterfront, adjacent to
                                                       Singleton	Park,	a	significant	Historic	Park,	Grade	I	listed.	Both	
                                                       uses	have	identified	growth	expansion	plans.	Areas	for	sports	
                                                       and recreational space are dispersed along the foreshore, with
                                                       additional sporting venues including the Liberty Stadium to the north.
                                                       Surrounding land uses are essentially residential based with large
                                                       areas of open space inter-dispersed. Swansea Enterprise Park, a
                                                       large industrial and retail park is located to the north of the city.

             INTRODUCTION   TALL BUILDINGS   CONTEXT   POLICY                                    APPENDICES                         7
Conservation and Listed Buildings

                                          Tall Buildings Strategy

                                          Built Form
                                          Swansea developed to service the industrial development along
                                          the	river	and	maritime	activities.	It	has	a	well-defined	historic	
                                          core. Buildings like the Guildhall tower and churches formed taller
                                          landmarks within the urban form of the city. Heavy bombing during
                                          the Second World War and subsequent post war development has
                                          led	to	breaks	in	the	fine	urban	grain	of	the	city.	Recent	development	
                                          with improved linkages and future aspirations are set to reinforce the
                                          structure of the city centre.

                                          The historic setting of Swansea should be considered within the
                                          context of historic parks and gardens, listed buildings, scheduled
                                          ancient monuments, conservation areas and also the existing tall
                                          buildings.	These	are	identified	on	the	plan	opposite.	The	city	centre	
                                          comprises four conservation areas:

                                          •	   Alexander Road;
                                          •	   Oxford Street / Nelson Street;
                                          •	   Wind Street; and
                                          •	   Maritime Quarter.

                                          Within the centre there exists clusters of listed buildings and
                                          scheduled ancient monuments, including Swansea’s Medieval
                                          Castle, a grade I listed building and scheduled ancient monument,
                                          currently overshadowed by the adjacent BT tower.

                                               A      B      C
                                                                     A   Church spires
                                                                     B   Guildhall tower
                                                                     C   Church spire and Guildhall tower
                                               D     E       F       D   Swansea Castle with BT tower in background
                                                                     E   Elegant Church spire
                                                                     F   Corner focal building

INTRODUCTION   TALL BUILDINGS   CONTEXT   POLICY                                      APPENDICES                      9
 Existing Heights

                    Orchard House   Princess House

                                          Tall Buildings Strategy

                                          Existing Buildings
                                          A collection of tall buildings lies within the city centre. Prominent tall
                                          buildings include post war residential and commercial tower blocks.

                                          The	BT	Tower,	near	Swansea	Castle,	the	slab	office	block	of	
                                          Alexander House and the residential towers at Dyfatty are dominant
                                          features across the north and eastern parts of the city. The
                                          photographs illustrate how the buildings sometimes are seen against
                                          the blue-sky but from other viewpoints their impact is lessened when
                                          seen against the background hills. The larger slab blocks are very
                                          dominant and the height and width combine to create a visually
                                          intrusive element.

                                          The Swansea Sail Bridge forms a key element in the city structure,
                                          reconnecting disparate areas of the city and recent waterfront
                                          buildings include the 29-storey Meridian Gate development, the
                                          14-storey Aurora Tower and the 6 to 10-storey development at St

                                          The Guildhall tower forms a slender civic landmark within the city
                                          structure. Comparatively, Singleton hospital and the university
                                          Campus form a clustering of tall buildings, ranging from 2 to 10
                                          storeys in height. The slab blocks are a noticeable feature along the
                                          sweep of the bay.

                                                                     A Meridian Quay
                                                                     B Excelsior
                                                   A        B        C Alexander House, slab block with high visual
                                                                     D Alexander House, seen against hill side, impact
                                                   C        D
                                                                     E Residential tower, prominent tall building
                                                                     F Residential tower, seen against hillside, impact
                                                                     G BT tower, prominent tall building
                                            E          F        G

INTRODUCTION   TALL BUILDINGS   CONTEXT   POLICY                                      APPENDICES                          11
 Landscape and Seascape

                                                                                               Tall Buildings Strategy

                                                                                               Landscape and Seascape
Swansea Point,
                     Meridian Quay
                                                                                               Swansea has extensive areas of open space within easy access of
Aurora Tower
                                                                                               the city, including Kilvey Hill, Singleton Park and the Clyne Valley.
                                                                                               Along the sweep of the bay, there are several Victorian parks and
                                                                                               other areas of green space dedicated to recreational use. The
                                                                                               high	landscape	quality	of	the	setting	of	the	city	is	reflected	in	the	
                                                                                               designation of Clyne Valley and Gardens as an Area of Outstanding
                                                                                               Natural Beauty. Many of the parks within the city are included in the
                                                                                               Register of Landscape, Parks and Gardens of Historic Interest in
                                                                                               Wales,	reflecting	their	particular	value.	

                                                                                               Within the city centre there are pockets of open space, creating
                                                                                               a green setting for County Hall, the National Waterfront Maritime
                                 Quay                                          Swansea Point   Museum, Morgans Hotel, and in part, the Castle. In addition, the
                                                                                               Swansea	Bay	Strategy	identifies	the	opportunity	for	reinforcing	the	
                                                                                Aurora Tower

                                                                                               green edge to the bay, establishing a new waterfront park along
                                                                                               the foreshore, from County hall through to Blackpill. The sea has
                                                                                               an	important	influence	on	the	character	of	Swansea	and	forms	
                                                                                               the southern boundary of the urban city. There is an awareness of
                                                                                               the city on the edge of the sea and access to long distance views
                                                                                               towards the North Devon Coast, which is a key feature of Swansea.

                                                                                               Key Views
                                                                                               The impact of tall buildings on the skyline will be most apparent from
                                                                                               the sea and key vantage points along the sweep of the bay. Distant
                                                                                               views across the bay illustrate a current massing of taller and larger
                                                                                               buildings around the university, hospital district and city centre. Key
                                                                                               views will exist from open and elevated areas, such as the Tawe
                                                      Meridian Quay                            Bridges that offer panoramic views through the Swansea Valley and
                                                                                               down to the waterfront.

                                                                                               The photomontage illustrates the presence of the Meridian Quay
                                                                                               development against the skyline. Due to the changing topography
                                                                                               of the city, as the viewpoint moves the impact of the tall building
                                                                                               against the skyline also changes, both exposing and containing the
                                                                                               height of the building.

      INTRODUCTION                   TALL BUILDINGS               CONTEXT                      POLICY                                 APPENDICES                   13
 Key Approaches
 and Gateways





                                                                         Tall Buildings Strategy

                                    2a                    2b             Key Approaches
                                                                         The key approaches into the city essentially follow primary
                                                                         movement corridors.
                                                                              •	 Fabian Way forms the eastern approach into the city
                                                                                 centre. The orientation of the route reveals a succession
                                                                                 of closed and open views.
                                                                              •	 Pentre Guinea Road forms one of the key approaches
                                                                                 to the city from the north and Whiterock and Morfa park
                                                                                 and ride. The approach provides long-range views of the
                                                                                 city centre, stretching down the waterfront. Existing tall
                                                                                 buildings are clearly visible on the horizon.
                                                                              •	 The approach from the northwest, along Carmarthen
                                                                                 Road is relatively closed, providing a view across the
                                    2c                                           Tawe River. The spire of St Johns church is visible in the
                                                                              •	 The approach to the city from the west along Mansel
                                                                                 Street is further limited, edged by the dense form of
                                                                                 the	city	and	confined	by	the	prominent	slab	building	of	
                                                                                 Alexander House.
                                                                              •	 Oystermouth Road forms the approach to the city centre
                                                                                 from the west. Along the foreshore, the Guildhall Tower
                                                                                 frames the approach to the city centre in the distance.
                                                                              •	 A further pedestrian linkage into the city centre is
                                                                                 proposed from the City Waterfront, at County Hall.

                                                                         Views from a street level perspective are important. Tall buildings
                                                                         that have a strong visual impact from a distance have a differing
                                                                         visual impact close up. The BT Tower is an example of a visually
                                                                         dominant building, that can appear hidden up close due to changing
                                                                         topography and building heights, or unsympathetically juxtaposed
                                                                         against the historic castle setting. Similarly slab blocks, like
                                                                         Alexandra House which has poor architectural quality, may stand
                                                                         proud against the skyline, in other locations may sit within the
                                                                         surrounding context, yet at a closer range visually dominate the
Left: sequence of views 1a to 1d
Right: sequence of views 2a to 2c
                                                                         environment. Visual richness is a factor which should apply both to
Far left: City Centre from Bay                                           the distant and close perspectives of tall buildings.

                INTRODUCTION             TALL BUILDINGS        CONTEXT   POLICY                                 APPENDICES                    15
 Tawe bridges: city centre gateway                                                             A The Tawe Bridges form a gateway into the city centre from the
                                                                                                 east. The rising topography, and the presence of larger commercial
                                                                                                 buildings, including the BT Tower and Alexander House, signal the
                                                                                                 entry into Swansea’s commercial centre.

                                                                                               B The railway station forms an arrival gateway into the city centre and
                                                                                                 offers multi-modal transport opportunities.

                                                                                               C A maritime gateway to the city is formed where the Tawe River
                                                                                                 meets the sea. The waterfront land edging both sides of the river
                                                                                                 corridor is allocated for redevelopment. Major area regeneration
                                                                                                 is currently occurring within the SA1 area and Swansea Point.
     Railway station gateway         Gateway into the city from the Bay   Sailbridge gateway     Permission has been given for a grouping of tall buildings, here
                                                                                                 strengthening this city-water gateway.

                                                                                               D The strengthening of the urban form and the civic presence of
                                                                                                 County Hall mark a gateway into the city centre from Swansea Bay.
                                                                                                 The iconic presence of the approved 29 storey Meridian Quay will
                                                                                                 further strengthen this approach into the city centre from the west.

                                                                                               E The Sailbridge forms both a key approach and gateway for
                                                                                                 pedestrians and cyclists. The linkage with Wind Street, connects
                                                                                                 the SA1 Swansea Waterfront with the heart of the city centre and
                                                                                                 signals an arrival into these important city districts.
     Tawe maritime gateway

                                                      Tall Buildings Strategy

                                                      City Centre Framework
Strategic Gateway Plan
                                                      The City and County of Swansea is promoting a vibrant retail and
Key                                                   commercial mixed-use heart and a range of complimentary leisure
                                                      and residential uses. It is articulated through the City Centre Core;
                                                      Complementary City Centre Districts and Proposed Waterfront
                                                      Districts with their varying character and uses. These areas are
                                                      shown on the drawing opposite.

                                                      Within the framework a range of major sites in the city centre and
                                                      on	the	waterfront	are	identified	for	development.	Proposals	include	
                                                      the transformation Oystermouth Road into an attractive, wide,
                                                      pedestrian friendly, landscaped European style boulevard.

                                                      The character of the city will change as the traditional 3 storey
                                                      height is redeveloped to a higher level and a more urban scale and
                                                      character is achieved. Within this context there is a role for a critical
                                                      mass of taller buildings at the three strategic gateways into the city.

                                                      The image opposite overlays these gateways with the new districts
                                                      identified	in	the	framework	and	extends	to	include	the	riverside,	
                                                      SA1 waterfront and hospital/university district. Each of the districts
                                                      complement each other and reinforce the future role of the city
                                                      centre and its links to the waterfront.

                                                        The City Centre Strategic Framework
                                                        identifies	 a	 set	 of	 strategic	 objectives	 to	
                                                        shape the vision for Swansea City Centre.
                                                        Within the framework 3 new districts, with
                                                        strong and distinctive characters, and
                                                        different	functions	are	identified.

            INTRODUCTION   TALL BUILDINGS   CONTEXT   POLICY                                                 APPENDICES       17
 Tall Buildings Zone Plan

 Below - Aerial view of the University and Hospital district;
 Far Right - Aerial view of the City Waterfront, Swansea SA1 Waterfront and Tawe
 River Corridor

                                                                                                                                                    Tall Buildings Strategy

                                                                                                                                                    4: Policy
                                                                                                                                                    centre	and	redefine	the	importance	of	the	City	Gateway.

                                                                                                                                                    Major area regeneration is taking place in and around Swansea’s
                                                                                                                                                    SA1 Waterfront. A group of tall buildings in SA1 and around
                                                                                                                                                    Trafalgar Bridge will create a focal area for the area and help
                                                                                                                                                    define	this	strategic	Tawe	Gateway.	
Policy Overview                                                               zones on the Building Zone Plan (page 18);
                                                                                                                                                    The potential exists to introduce well designed and prestigious
The Tall Buildings Strategy is applicable to the whole of the City       •	   Work within the grain of the city, creating a legible and permeable
                                                                                                                                                    buildings at the Waterfront Gateway which marks an important
and County of Swansea. However, the main thrust of the strategy               environment. It is recognised that the character of the city is
                                                                                                                                                    interface between the foreshore and the link to the retail heart
focuses on the central area where tall buildings are considered more          changing with the standard 3 storey height giving way to a more
                                                                                                                                                    of the city centre. These could provide a visual marker to the
likely to be promoted and where infrastructure and services are able          urban scale and character. As part of this process the strategy
                                                                                                                                                    location	of	the	waterfront	and	contribute	significantly	to	the	
to	support	the	development.	The	Tall	Building	Strategy	identifies	the	        recognises that there is a role for strategically placed taller
                                                                                                                                                    innovative and excellent design quality which is expected to mark
areas more likely to support tall buildings, which include:                   buildings;
                                                                                                                                                    the comprehensive redevelopment of this area.
                                                                         •	   Demonstrate sensitivity to historic areas, protecting and
•	 Railway Station District - local and regional connectivity,                enhancing historic settings. The strategy recognises the
                                                                              importance of safeguarding historic parks and gardens, listed         Location of Tall Buildings
   supporting business, major route into the city from the north;
•	 City Waterfront - opportunity for clustering;                              buildings, ancient monuments and conservation areas;                  The	tall	buildings	plan	identifies	zones	where	tall	buildings	will	be	
•	 Swansea SA1 Waterfront - unique opportunity, waterside edge,          •	   Exhibit highest standards of architectural design and public          welcomed and zones where they will be considered.
   heritage, employment and leisure, major regeneration area;                 realm. The strategy places considerable emphasis on the
•	 University and Hospital District;                                          need to comply with key design principles and the preparation         •	 The welcome zones are those areas of the city where well
•	 Tawe River Corridor - the Morfa Road section of the corridor, with         of supporting documentation such as Design and Access                    designed tall buildings can have a positive impact on the
   the	northern	boundary	being	defined	by	the	former	Hasties	site.            Statements and Visual Impact Assessment. The scheme design               character and image of the city, where development is likely to
                                                                              must be comprehensive, with full consideration given to public           be supported by sustainable transport initiatives.
                                                                              realm, the positioning of entrances and pedestrian access;
General Principles                                                                                                                                  •	 The consider zones are those areas of the city where tall
                                                                         •	   Create a memorable skyline. Consideration is to be given to
Proposal for tall buildings must:                                             sightlines and strategic view corridors. The design of the upper         buildings may have a positive impact, subject to the availability
                                                                              sections of buildings is also important if the skyline is to be          of supporting information.
•	 Work with the Topography of the City. The point is made                    enhanced;
   in Section 3, that buildings set against the backdrop of the          •	   Provide sustainable buildings with consideration given to the         The boundary of a zone does not represent a distinct
   surrounding landscape can have a lower impact than buildings               effect on the local microclimate. The requirement to respond fully    geographical boundary. The edges of the zones represent
   that break the skyline. In the city centre therefore account will          to sustainable principles is fully recognised, as is the need to      the limits/extent of where tall buildings will be considered on
   need to be taken of the relationship of proposed buildings to              address climate factors and the impact on the local microclimate.     individual merits and local context as to whether they fall within
   prominent topographical features such as Mayhill/Kilvey Hill and      •	   Demonstrate compatibility with the transport infrastructure.          or	outside	the	zones	of	influence.	Tall	buildings	proposed	outside	
   more locally the escarpment above the Strand;                                                                                                    these zones will need additional supporting documentation to
•	 Define	key	districts,	gateways	and	areas	of	functional	               Clustering of tall buildings will generally be supported. Development      prove the case for tall buildings, and to demonstrate how it meets
   importance. The strategy refers to a number of city centre            potential exists for a group of tall buildings signalling Swansea’s        general development principles as set out on this page and the
   gateways	which	are	influential	in	defining	the	welcome/consider	      commercial heart. This would create a key focal point for the city         design requirements as set out on pages 20 and 21.

               INTRODUCTION                             TALL BUILDINGS                                 CONTEXT                                      POLICY                                  APPENDICES                       19
                                                                                                 Design of Tall Buildings
                                                                                                 Proposals for tall buildings will be assessed against the key design
                                                                                                 principles outlined in national policy guidance and within this
                                                                                                 supplementary planning guidance. Key sources of reference are
                                                                                                 identified	in	Appendix	2.	

                                                                                                 Tall buildings proposals will need to demonstrate that the key design
                                                                                                 principles have been considered and incorporated into the design. A
                                                                                                 full planning application will be required with supporting information
                                                                                                 outlined in Appendix 1.

                                                                                                 The uses with tall buildings should be compatible and respond to
                                                                                                 local need. Where possible tall buildings should provide a mix of
                                                                                                 uses that support a variety of users at different times of the day.
                                                                                                 Proposals will be encouraged to provide public uses at ground level
                                                                                                 that support social interaction and inclusion.

                                                                                                 Scale, Form and Massing
                                                                                                 Tall buildings should be considered in relation to the urban
                                                                                                 morphology of the city. Consideration should be given to key
                                                                                                 townscape principles, the urban block, size of plots, and relationship
                                                                                                 to the street and adjacent buildings. Tall buildings should emphasise
                                                                                                 key	locations,	help	define	the	edges	of	streets	and	open	spaces.	
                                                                                                 Proposals should consider the human scale of the building at ground
                                                                                                 level,	and	clearly	define	the	public	and	private	realm.		

                                                                                                 Conservation Areas
                                                                                                 Tall buildings should not damage or detract from the settings of
                                                                                                 listed buildings, conservation areas, historic parks and gardens and
                                                                                                 scheduled ancient monuments. Tall building proposals should work
                                                                                                 within the townscape of the city, respecting the scale and urban
                                                                                                 fabric of the city.

     Potsdamerplatz, Berlin, where public realm treatment forms an integral part of the design

                                                                                                                                                     Tall Buildings Strategy

Visual                                                                     Movement, Legibility, Permeability                                        impacts on the microclimate are mitigated.
Tall buildings should be of slender proportion, and elegant in design.     Tall building proposals will be expected to place great emphasis on
Tall buildings must consider the importance of near, distant and           achieving high standards of inclusive design. Tall buildings should       Adaptable
far views and vistas. Where appropriate, tall buildings should be          promote accessibility and contribute to the legibility and permeability   Tall	Buildings	should	be	adaptable	to	ensure	flexibility	over	time,	
considered in relation to other landmarks, sightlines and strategic        of the city. They should act as landmarks to aid movement,                be	functional	and	fit	for	purpose.	Designs	should	be	responsive	to	
view corridors. It is important that the visual impact is considered       orientation	and	define	important	routes.	Proposals	should	set	to	         changing socio-economic conditions and technological advances.
from all viewpoints and elevations to ensure that the building does        strengthen the urban grain and connections back into the city,            Care should be given to the internal and external access and
not appear slab-like. Tall buildings must sit within a quality public      enabling users to move about easily and safely on foot. Pubic             circulation arrangements.
realm, relating well to adjacent buildings. Consideration should be        spaces should be overlooked, and accessed directly.
given to the design of the top of the building and its contribution                                                                                  Quality
to the skyline. Proposals should avoid roof top plants and where           Access, Parking and Servicing                                             Tall buildings should be designed to be of the highest architectural
feasible include them within the envelope of the building.                 Access	to	tall	buildings	should	be	clearly	defined	and	be	directly	       quality. Design competitions can provide a way of encouraging
                                                                           from the public realm. Where possible, parking, servicing and utility     contemporary architecture. Every proposal should set a precedent
Transport                                                                  functions should be integrated. Where possible, car parking should        for future development. The visual quality of the building at ground
Tall buildings can place great demands on the local infrastructure         be provided underground. Detailed consideration should be given to        level is highly important and should be of an appropriate scale and
network. Proposals should demonstrate the proximity and                    parking and drop off areas, access to car parks, ramps and loading        character. High quality detailing and materials will be expected to
accessibility of the building to sustainable transport modes and the       areas, in particular consideration in relation to safety, visual and      make a positive contribution to the character of the are and sense of
quality of links between transport and the site. The impact on the         noise implications on the location of such functions.                     place. Existing tall buildings in Swansea that are deemed to be poor
surrounding	infrastructure	and	the	potential	generation	of	traffic	must	                                                                             design quality will not be considered a precedent for new buildings.
be assessed. This will include consideration of access in terms of         Public Realm and Open Space
public transport and the extent to which the services can cope with        High quality public realm should form an integral part of the             Sustainability
the increase in demand, car parking provision and demand, and              design of the site, creating a sense of place, contributing to local      Sustainability principles will be used to assess tall building
general servicing arrangements. Where appropriate, tall building           character and identity, and promoting safety and accessibility for all.   applications. Tall building proposals must demonstrate an energy
applicants will be encouraged to consider the introduction of green        Provision may include areas of open space that are accessible to          conscious design that sets to achieve an Excellent BREEAM rating
travel plans.                                                              the general public, or areas of open space restricted to occupants        or equivalent. In order to ensure that the proposed measures are
Tall buildings introduce intensive levels of use and activity to a         of the buildings, comprising internal courtyards, balconies, gardens      delivered, a pre construction analysis which sets out the potential
site and therefore the relationship with transport infrastructure          or roof terraces. Internal amenity space may also be provided, for        rating should be checked against a post completion assessment.
(particularly public transport) and existing activity patterns needs       example within a building atrium. Proposals should encourage              On Council land this could be made a requirement of the land
careful	consideration.	In	particular,	traffic	generation	and	parking	      interaction at the street level, ensuring active frontages and well       sale. Proposals must consider opportunities for renewable energy,
demand requires special evaluation.                                        overlooked spaces. The positioning of the entrance and access to          CHP and hydrogen fuel cell technology. Opportunities should be
Developments will need to be considered within the context of all          the building should form a key consideration. Public ground level         considered to incorporate natural ventilation, waste management,
anticipated proposals which will have a bearing on the transport           access should be promoted, with the opportunity to provide public         and passive solar gain. Designs should be based on whole life
infrastructure to ensure there is no overloading of the system.            access to upper levels. The treatment of the public realm should          costs	and	benefits.	Tall	buildings	should	seek	to	minimise	water	
Any additional infrastructure and facilities which may be required         consider opportunities to introduce landscaping, the detailing of         consumption. Tall buildings will be encourage to incorporate features
together	with	the	means	of	delivery,	will	need	to	be	identified	and	       paving, materials, street furniture and lighting. Consideration should    such as grey water recycling, living roofs and sustainable urban
met by planning obligation.                                                be given to the integration of public art within the development. It      drainage.
                                                                           is essential to the quality of the public realm that environmental

               INTRODUCTION                              TALL BUILDINGS                                 CONTEXT                                      POLICY                                 APPENDICES                      21
Proposals should actively encourage the involvement of local people      Security
and the use of locally sourced recycled or sustainably managed           Tall buildings must consider aspects of safety and security.
materials and other resources. Key management controls should            Proposals	should	encourage	the	clear	definition	of	public	and	private	
be introduced to ensure sustainable on and off-site construction         space, maximising opportunities for overlooking. Consideration
processes and throughout the long term management of the                 should be given to access controls with regard to the main entrance
building.                                                                and car parking areas. Management system should be put in place
                                                                         and where feasible consideration should be given to the introduction
Microclimate                                                             of a concierge scheme.
Tall buildings should comprehensively address the impact on the
local microclimate. Consideration should be given to the effects of      Existing Tall Buildings
wind	and	rain,	sunlight	and	shadowing,	and	reflection	and	glare.	        Applications for the replacement of existing tall building should
Where necessary, adjustments should be made to the positioning           be assessed on current policy and guidance on the design of tall
and/or design of the building to limit the negative effects of wind      buildings. The refurbishment of existing tall buildings, through
tunnelling on the public realm and neighbouring buildings. Tall          addition	of	floors,	removal	of	key	elements,	and	change	of	materials	
buildings can cause shadowing over surrounding buildings and             may provide an opportunity to improve the design quality and
public spaces. Applicants will need to consider the effect of            functioning of existing tall buildings.
shadowing throughout the year.

Tall buildings must be illuminated at night. Proposals should
consider imaginative and distinctive lighting techniques to positively
contribute to the creation of a unique city nightscape and Swansea
identity. Sensitivity must be given to the impact of lighting on
surrounding developments and habitats.

                                                                                                                                                     Tall Buildings Strategy

Appendix 1                                                                Pre-application discussions are recognised as having an importance
                                                                          role in the planning process. A basic level of information is required
                                                                                                                                                     •	   A Tourism Strategy for Swansea: 2006-2010 - Adopted
                                                                                                                                                          November 2006
                                                                          (to be agreed with the planning department) if such discussions are        •	   Tawe Riverside Corridor Study: Development and Transport
Submitting a Planning Application                                         to be meaningful.                                                               Assessment - Adopted June 2006
In addition to standard documentation required by the City and            The Design Commission for Wales offers a Design Review Service             •	   City Centre Strategic Framework - Adpoted January 2007
County of Swansea as part of a full planning application, the             and given the sensitivity of Tall Buildings they will be asked for their   •	   Swansea Bay Strategy - Adopted February 2008
following information should be provided:                                 views at the earliest appropriate stage.

•	   Design and Access Statement, clearly demonstrating the design
     rationale for the tall building proposal, including full character
     appraisal. By Design provides good guidance on preparing                                                                                        Appendix 3
     statements.                                                          Appendix 2
•	   Sustainability	Appraisal,	to	include	a	preconstruction	BREEAM	                                                                                  Consultation
     assessment                                                           Policies and guidance                                                      •	   Council Departments
•	   Visual	Impact	Assessment	to	include	360	degree	view	
                                                                          •	   People, Places, Future – The Wales Spatial Plan, November             •	   Statutory Consultees
     analysis and consideration of near, distant and far views using
                                                                               2004                                                                  •	   Design Commission for Wales
     photomontages and three dimensional visualisations. The 360
                                                                          •	   Technical Advice Note (TAN) 12: Design                                •	   Voluntary Organisations
     degree visual impact analysis must include a stated methodology
                                                                          •	   Learning to Live Differently, NAW (2000)                              •	   Local Civic Amenity Societies
     and	be	verified	through	recognised	methods,	such	as	weather	
                                                                          •	   Creating Sustainable Places, WDA                                      •	   Local views
     balloon	flying	on	a	still	day.	
                                                                          •	   English Heritage & CABE, (March 2003) Guidance on Tall                •	   Service infrastructure providers
•	   Relative	height	studies	to	demonstrate	the	contextual	
     appearance and impact of the buildings at varying heights.
                                                                          •	   CABE/EH Guidance on tall buildings - July 2007
•	   Micro-climate	assessment	including	sun	path	studies,	wind	
                                                                          •	   CABE / DETR, 2000. By Design – Urban Design in the Planning
     tunnel studies, and demonstration of how negative effects will be
                                                                               System: Towards better practice
                                                                          •	   Manual for Streets - 2007/11/28
•	   Details	of	the	proposed	lighting	scheme	and	visual	impact	of	the	
                                                                          •	   Urban Task Force, 1999. Towards and Urban Renaissance
     development at night.
                                                                          •	   Landscape Institute / Institute of Environmental Assessment,
•	   Analysis	of	the	effect	of	tall	buildings	on	the	local	transport	
                                                                               2002. Guidelines for Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment
     infrastructure and public transport network.
                                                                          •	   English Partnership / The Housing Corporation. Urban Design
•	   Proposals	for	significant	tall	buildings	may	require	a	full	
     Environmental Impact Assessment, Landscape Visual Impact
                                                                          •	   CABE/English Heritage, 2002 – Building in context – New
     Analysis	and	Traffic	Impact	Assessment.
                                                                               development in historic areas
                                                                          •	   CABE 2003. Creating Excellent Buildings – A guide for clients
When planning permission is to be granted, the detailed design,
                                                                          •	   CABE, 2004. Creating Successful Masterplans: A guide for
materials	and	finishes	and	treatment	of	the	public	realm	should	be	
secured through the appropriate use of planning conditions and
                                                                          •	   	Unitary Development Plan - Adopted November 2008
obligations, including Section 106 Agreements where appropriate.

                INTRODUCTION                             TALL BUILDINGS                                CONTEXT                                       POLICY                                  APPENDICES              23

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