Council leaders to unite in bid for £1.3bn growth deal

Leaders of all six councils in the North of Wales have come together to bid for a £1.3bn boost in funding for the region.

Anglesey, Gwynedd, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham councils have formed the North Wales Growth Board (NWGB) to promote the need for resources in the area, centred around 26 areas of investment including connectivity, transport, renewable energy, the Welsh language, skills and innovation.

In an unprecedented partnership between the authorities, the North Wales Growth Deal will boost the economy, support tourism, improve transport and communication links, and increase resources for increasing renewable energy in the region.

The board is chaired by leader of Flintshire Council Aaron Shotton, with vice-chair Cllr Dyfrig Siencyn, leader of Gwynedd Council.

Cllr Gareth Jones in Conwy said the bid will bring about change for the better, but said the move is an “enabler rather than a deliverer,” arguing communities in the rural area were one of the priorities of the board’s goals.

“The bid will bring about significant economic development but must also affect the public and our communities,” he said. “These are fabulous projects but we have to reach out to communities, which is where the colleges and universities play a big part, leading on skills and supporting careers and development for the future.”

The move is driven by the North Wales Economic Ambition Board, consisting of all six local authorities, Further Education, Higher Education, the Welsh Government, the Wales Office, and the Welsh LGA.

Cllr Llinos Medi, leader of Anglesey council, said: “For me it’s about longevity and projects that will add value and benefit generations to come. We have to be prepared as an island – and across North Wales – for advances that are being made, which means the skills element is vital.

“There is a lot the six councils can learn from each other, and the strides we are all making together will only benefit each county and the wider region going forward.”

Medi added that it is crucial residents and businesses take the long view and see the benefits of a successful growth bid.

Leader of Wrexham County Borough Council Mark Pritchard claimed the partnership will take “locality and politics out of the equation.”

“We can achieve so much working in true partnership and have already made a lot of headway by showing our commitment and focusing on the bigger picture, which is vital if the bid is to be successful,” he added.

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 Image credit: kodachrome25, iStock Images



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