People trapped in car parks for hours after Christmas parade

Swansea’s Christmas Parade took place in the city on Sunday evening and was enjoyed by thousands of people who celebrated the start of the festive season in Wales’ second city - but, for some, getting home might have taken away a tiny bit of that Christmassy magic.

With the parade setting off from Victoria Road at around 5pm and heading through various streets across the city before finishing at The Kingsway, crowds lined up to see Santa in his sleigh as the Christmas[1] lights were officially switched on for 2023. The parade as a whole has ben described as a huge success, and you can see the best pictures from the event here[2].

Swansea Council said disruption was unavoidable when there was such a high volumes of cars and people all trying to leave at the same time, and that people had been encouraged to use park and ride and public transport. But for some who drove into the city centre, what followed turned out to be what one labelled an “absolute shambles” as they claimed motorists were not allowed out of one council-run car park for a considerable time after the parade had finished.

In other car parks it seemed simply a case of everyone trying to leave at once. One woman said she was stuck inside the High Street multi-storey car park next to the Grand Hotel and Swansea railway station for more than 45 minutes, saying it was “gridlocked”. Another driver parked in the same location said she was sat in her car for two hours waiting to get out. You can get the latest WalesOnline newsletters e-mailed to you directly for free by signing up here[4].[3]

DON'T MISS: Fire completely destroys boat at Welsh marina[6]

At the council-run car park in Oxford Street one driver posted on social media on Sunday: “Absolute shambles tonight - Swansea Council refusing to let any cars out of Oxford Street Car Park this evening after the parade - literally no traffic on the road as well. We weren’t allowed to leave until 7.30pm after a protest of people who were beeping their horns.”

Due to the scale of the parade, Swansea Council did warn people in advance that a number of roads would be closed at different points throughout Sunday. East Burrows Road and Somerset Place were closed between approximately 2pm and 8pm, while Bellevue Way was closed from around 12pm to 9pm. Elsewhere, streets including Oystermouth Road, Castle Street, Orchard Street and The Kingsway were subject to rolling road closures up until around 8pm.

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On the whole, the event has been hailed a big success. The leader of Swansea Council, Rob Stewart, said: “Swansea’s biggest ever Christmas parade - now officially the biggest in Wales - was fantastic. A huge thanks to the amazing teams who make this possible every year and everyone else who works amazingly hard to deliver this brilliant event.”

Many who attended agreed with Mr Stewart’s assessment. One person wrote on social media, “Another fabulous show - well done all,” while another attendee said: “Great parade. Really enjoyed it.” One person said: “Swansea’s Christmas parade is one of the best I’ve seen in the world! Fantastic Swansea, and thank you!”. Another said: “The kids faces and eyes alone was rewarding enough thanks to all concerned.”

A spokesperson for Swansea Council said: "This year’s Christmas Parade has once again been a huge success with tens of thousands coming into the city centre to enjoy this free event. The feedback we’ve had has been tremendous, with some saying it was the best ever parade.

"To make sure families were safe during and after the event, a number of road closures were in place so that everyone could leave the city centre safely. These were advertised well in advance of them being implemented and were lifted as soon as it was safe to do so. We are aware of a small number of complaints circulating on social media in relation to delays exiting some car parks. This disruption is unavoidable when we have such high volumes of cars and people all trying to leave at the same time. As always, prior to the event, we urged people to plan ahead and expect delays, encouraging them to use park and ride, for example, among other alternatives.

"This year High Street car park was free and so many chose to use this car park. We also provided free bus travel for families to help encourage more to use public transport and help reduce the number of cars coming into the city. We are delighted with the way the event was organised and the involvement of all the community groups that took part and we look forward to repeating the success of this event next year.

"In the meantime, we encourage everyone to enjoy the city centre’s other Christmas attractions and events such as Waterfront Winterland - that’s already open, the Christmas Market that’s due to open this Friday and the Grand Theatre’s Cinderella panto – together with the city centre’s many opportunities for shopping, eating and drinking."

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