‘DON’T LET ALL £1.3BN GROWTH DEAL CASH GO TO A55 CORRIDOR’
ASSURANCES have been sought that a proposed £1.3bn investment will benefit North Wales communities that don’t sit along the A55 corridor.
It’s hoped that the North Wales Growth Deal will create thousands of jobs, boost the economy, improve transport and communication links, focus on renewable energy and support tourism.
The bid, made up of the six local authorities, hopes to secure £383m of Welsh and UK government money, with private industry expected to make up the remainder of the £1.3 billion investment.
But assurances have been sought that the benefits of such an investment, creating 5,000 new jobs across the region, will spread wider than the A55 corridor.
During the last cabinet meeting Cllr Nia Jeffreys, who represents Porthmadog East, said: “I support the bid, which is too great an opportunity to lose as we need to attract money and investment here to the west.
“But, in my view, the challenge will be attracting some of the money down to south Gwynedd.
“It’s easy enough to follow that A55 corridor and larger towns are important, but what plans are in place to ensure money trickles down to the rest of Gwynedd?”
In response, growth bid vice-chair and council leader, Cllr Dyfrig Siencyn, said that this was something he’d been mindful of since the start of the process.
“It’s a fair question but it’s easier to have economic growth where you have a boost already in existence”, he said.
“We need more investment and support in areas such as rural Gwynedd but there are pan-regional projects including skills, digital and transport.”
Corporate director, Iwan Trefor Jones, added: “The aim of this growth bid is to spread the benefits far and wide.
“The danger is, if you look at other growth deals, there’s been a tendency to concentrate on two or three large projects but we’d prefer to see pan-regional working to see the benefits spread further.”
The £20m plan identified for Trawsfynydd includes upgrading the infrastructure in and around Trawsfynydd with the hope of attracting a Small Modular Nuclear Reactor Programme to the area.
According to the document, it could lead to 250 direct jobs, more than 2,500 construction jobs, and support more than 600 new long-term jobs across the regional supply chain.
Cllr Dafydd Meurig also welcomed the prospect of investment into Parc Bryn Cegin in Bangor, which is included in the growth deal document.
With scope to generate 250 indirect jobs, up to five large businesses could be accommodated on the site at a cost of £12m.
In all, the Growth Deal proposals would enable investment of £1.3billion in the North Wales economy from £328m capital and £55.4m in revenue, totalling £383.4m – a return of £3.40 for every pound spent.
The funds for the Growth Bid, if given the green light, will be provided jointly by the UK and Welsh Governments.