Vision for 5,000 jobs
GWYNEDD has become the last North Wales authority to ratify a proposed growth bid which is hoped will create over 5,000 new jobs in the region.
The North Wales Growth Deal 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.
Councillors in Gwynedd rubberstamped the bid which will now be presented to both Governments for funding approval, becoming the last of the region’s authorities to ratify the document.
However, concerns were also raised over aspects of the deal including an over reliance on nuclear and that the plans – covering an area from Flintshire to Anglesey – would result in the bulk of the funds drifting eastwards.
But council leader dismissed such fears, noting that only two of the 16 projects were related to nuclear power.
He added: “This will provide a voice for north Wales at a time when it’s most needed. Economically we’re facing uncertain times and uncertainty on how former European funding will be distributed but this will give us a stronger voice for the region as a whole. The fact that six authories are agreed on one vision, despite being of differing economic, linguistic and political backgrounds, is unusual. Being able to include the private sector and educational sectors within this vision is vital. This is a unique opportunity we must capitalise on.”
Corporate Director, Iwan Trefor Jones, added: “There was a danger at one point that too much attention was being diverted towards the north east, but we’ve worked hard to secure that plans in the north west also play a vital role within the proposal.”
But Llais Gwynedd councillors Owain Williams and Alwyn Gruffydd expressed concern that the deal was designed with north east Wales in mind.
“Merseyside is looking towards the west and see an opportunity for themselves, but I don’t think they worry much about Gwynedd,” said Cllr Williams. “We’re only small in numbers and I’m concerned that we could be blinded by promises and end up in an even weaker position.”
Among the plans proposed for Gwynedd is a £20m plan at Traws- fynydd which includes upgrading the infrastructure in and around the former plant 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 longterm jobs across the regional supply chain.
The prospect of investment into Parc Bryn Cegin in Bangor, which is included in the growth deal document, has a scope to generate 250 indirect jobs by attracting up to five large businesses on the site at a cost of £12m.
Cllr Gareth Thomas said: “It would have been easy for the two most easterly counties to look across the border towards the northern powerhouse, after all Flintshire is closer to Liverpool than Caernarfon. But the miracle here is that the six north Wales authorities are talking with one voice.
“This is significant and is something that hasn’t happened before, and we should realise the significance of this.
“If we reject this opportunity then the rest of the region will look towards the east, so it’s vital that you support this motion.”
A motion to approve the Growth Bid document and to delegate certain powers to the council leader was passed by the majority of members.
Secretary of State Alun Cairns MP and Minister Mims Davies MP are negotiating within the UK Government on behalf of the North Wales Economic Ambition Board’s, leading up to the Budget Statement.
● Among the proposals for Gwynedd is a £20m plan at Trawsfynydd, which includes upgrading the infrastructure in and around the former plant with the hope of attracting a Small Modular Nuclear Reactor Programme