When you stand on Bracelet Bay Beach in Mumbles and gaze out to sea you are sure to be struck by some of the best views across Swansea Bay.
This scenic stretch of sandy beach can get busy with families in the summer, but you can also feel like you’re a world away from the hustle and bustle of life in Swansea and the Mumbles Mile.
Walk to the highest point of the promontory and the view gets even better. And this is also where you will find the former operational base of the Maritime Agency and the Coast Guard. This is where officers scanned the horizon for boats in trouble and coordinated incident responses, not only there but also elsewhere along the Welsh coast. You can read more stories about Swansea here.
Read more:A new pub opens on the old Mumbles Mile
Controversially, and despite a campaign and petitions to save it, the building ceased to function as a coastguard station in 2014 when the service was redeveloped and was used as offices by the MCA in 2019.
At the time, the MCA said it was exploring the possibility of a new use for the historic building – and asked Swansea Council to consider an ‘exploratory’ application and whether it would be possible to transform the building into a glamorous hotel, high-end accommodation or offices.
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Since then nothing has happened and just two weeks ago it was targeted by thieves who stripped the building of its lead. The abandoned structure is now calling for a bit of TLC – so we asked local residents, business owners and councilors what they would like to see happen here.
Here is what they said:
“The building needs a new purpose – but it must be sympathetic to its environment”
Newton County Councilor for Swansea Council and Mumbles Community Council Will Thomas would like to see the building given a new purpose – but notes it should be ‘sympathetic’ to its location in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty of Gower. (AONB).
The Conservative adviser said: “‘A new purpose for this building is needed quickly now that the structure has been compromised. Whatever the future of the building, it must be low-key and sympathetic to the incredible location. “
Mumbles Community Advisor Carrie Townsend Jones echoed Cllr Thomas’ thoughts and said any development on the site should be “very sensitive” to its surroundings in the AONB.
She said she and other advisers on the environment committee would be keen to ensure that any planned development at the site would have a positive environmental impact.
“It should be turned into a viewing platform, a museum or an aquarium”
Many Gower residents have said that the old coastguard building should be refurbished and turned into something that celebrates the fantastic maritime history of Gower and/or Swansea.
Local resident Fiona Robson said: “Turn it into a viewpoint with lots of benches for locals to enjoy. Maybe places for pop-up coffee vans or the like. It shouldn’t be sold for housing, it should become something the whole community can enjoy!”
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Another local resident, Yasmin Shipperley, said: “A coastal education center would be great. down !”
“A center of education, certainly [a good idea]“, added another resident. “Maybe a theater”
“An aquarium tourist center,” another suggested.
Another local resident added: “It could be turned into a lifeboat and coastguard museum and attraction to celebrate Swansea’s lifeboat and coastguard history, which has been one major trading ports throughout the world throughout its history!
“It should be free to the public with telescope viewing booths. It could also incorporate a (non-alcoholic) tea room to take in the incredible views and remind people of when the bay could be full of beautiful boats in the middle of sailing, returning from all over the world.”
“It should become a place where you can buy a drink and a sandwich”
Many locals would like to see the building renovated into a restaurant with a view.
“I think it could be turned into a place people can visit, have drinks, sandwiches, etc., and watch the ocean with their kids, or just on their own and have a place to store their bikes,” said a resident. said.
“[A] a cafe seems more realistic than a hotel or restaurant,” added another. “Or something for the community.”
Another resident suggested a picnic area with a view overlooking the bay. Listing her ideas for what the site should become, she said: “Picnic area, garden, small takeaway coffee kiosk, vantage point [with] a few seats. PARKING FORBIDDEN! Certainly not a home for anyone!”
Interestingly, another resident disagreed. “Why not sell it to refurbish? It would make a fantastic home for someone with money? they said.
“Take it off and leave it to nature”
Some local residents have said they would like the structure removed – but not replaced with anything.
Commenting on photos of the old coastguard station, one resident said: ‘It’s an eyesore, take it down and re-land, then leave it to nature to reclaim!’
“There should be no development in this area, leave it alone,” he added.
Another resident said: “Redevelop the area, as well as the old lifeboat house on [Mumbles] Pier”, while another simply said: ” [I want to see it brought] back to nature.”
Interestingly, the Mumbles Pier lifeboat base is set to reopen as a restaurant – you can read our previous coverage about it here.
However, at the moment there are no established plans for the former coastguard station at Bracelet Bay.
What does the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) say?
Swansea Council owns full ownership of the building, but it is subject to a long-term lease to HM Coastguard and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
The building is currently under the control of the MCA, but the agency declined to say whether there are any solid plans for the building’s future.
It is understood that the building is used on occasion to assist local coastguard rescue teams, but there are other bases available which are arguably in better condition.
What would you like to see happen to the former Bracelet Bay Coastguard Building? Do you agree with any of the local residents we quoted in our article? Let us know in thecomments sectionunderneath