Negotiations to secure the biggest investment for south west Wales in a generation are nearing a conclusion.
Leaders of the Swansea Bay City Region are preparing to pitch their bid for a ground-breaking City Deal worth more than £1.3billion – an investment that will transform the economic landscape of the area with high-spec digital infrastructure and world-class facilities in the fields of energy, smart manufacturing and innovation in life science.
If successful, the City Deal will deliver nearly 10,000 new jobs and increase the value of goods and services produced in the region by £1.8billion.
The Swansea Bay City Region includes the local authority areas of Carmarthenshire, Swansea, Pembrokeshire and Neath Port Talbot, joined by Abertawe Bro Morgannwg and Hywel Dda University Health Boards, Swansea University and the University of Wales Trinity St David’s, and private sector partners.
Partners have worked together for over a year to develop and submit a detailed City Deal proposal to the Welsh and UK Governments, with 11 specific projects spread across the region.
Following an intensive period of challenge and negotiation, the City Deal team will make the final bid to the Secretary of State for Wales, other UK Ministers and their advisors, within the next few weeks.
It is hoped that Whitehall will be in a position to sign the Deal by the end of February, signalling the start of investment and development on an unprecedented scale.
£241m of central government funding, split between the UK and Welsh Government, would be added to £360m of other public sector funding and £673m of private sector contributions to make up the total investment package.
Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Board today (Monday, January 23, 2017) agreed to delegate authority to the Leader, or Chief Executive, to sign a City Deal agreement on behalf of the council.
In doing so, they said, they would be securing a ‘once in a generation opportunity’ to increase prosperity and opportunity within the region.
Cllr Emlyn Dole, Leader of the Council, said: “Our City Deal is unashamedly bold and ambitious – designed to truly transform the fortunes of the region and take it forward as a beacon of enterprise and innovation for future generations. The scale of investment we are hoping to secure has not been seen in the Swansea Bay City Region before.
“We have the vision, the ambition, and the commitment of all partners – all we need now is the backing of the UK government, and we’re hoping the strength of our bid will deliver just that.”
In Carmarthenshire, the City Deal would support three key projects – a Life Science & Wellbeing Village in Llanelli; a creative industry project at Yr Egin in Carmarthen; and a skills and leadership programme.
The Life Science and Wellness Village, planned for Delta Lakes, is being led by the county council, and delivered as part of the ARCH project. Proposals include an Institute of Life Science; laboratory and clinic space; business start-up facilities and commercial office space; a wellness hub which will house leisure and sports provision; a wellness hotel and an assisted living village.
Yr Egin involves the construction of a creative and digital hub and the development of a creative industry sector cluster. It will create around 203 jobs and help the local economy, along with boosting the Welsh language.
A skills and leadership programme will provide educational and training pathways to support the next generation workforce.