‘DON’T LET ALL £1.3BN GROWTH DEAL CASH GO TO A55 COR­RI­DOR’

Caernarfon Herald - - NEWS - Gareth Wynn Wil­liams

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.

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