Vi­sion for 5,000 jobs

Caernarfon Herald - - NEWS -

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

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