Billions of pounds of investment with the potential to transform Swansea Bay’s future could jump one of its final hurdles this week.
Leading members of the bid to get the Swansea Bay City Deal agreed were in London on Tuesday February 21st to face a government challenge panel which will make the recommendation on the proposals to create an ‘Internet Coast’ stretching from Neath in the east to Pembrokeshire in the west.
The meeting comes after Swansea Council’s Cabinet gave permission to the Leader and Chief Executive to negotiate the deal on the city’s behalf.
The region’s City Deal bid is based on major investment in the region’s digital infrastructure, which would revolutionise the way sectors like energy, technology, health and social care are delivered.
The deal, with a total value of £1.3bn, is bigger than the capital City Deal signed in Cardiff last year. It’s estimated approval would deliver a £3.3bn boost to the regional economy over 15 years, generating over 9,500 new jobs.
Cllr Rob Stewart, Leader of Swansea Council, said he hoped the City Deal bid will be approved by the end of February.
Cllr Stewart said:
“We shouldn’t be in any doubt that approval for the City Deal will be game-changer for Swansea and South West Wales.
“On Tuesday, the leaders of the four local authorities involved in the City Deal will be meeting key ministers in London, along with other members of the pitch team. We’ll face intensive challenge ahead of a hoped-for agreement by around the end of the month.”
“We’re confident of our case. We’ve been working on it for two years and there is great support for it from businesses right across the region.
“Worth £1.3bn to the regional economy, the City Deal has the power to improve people’s lives by opening up thousands of jobs, creating far more opportunities and generating a cutting-edge digital environment that will allow innovation and enterprise to flourish.
“If it’s approved, then our focus will be on aggressive delivery and spending locally to ensure local people and businesses benefit as soon as possible from the world class projects being proposed.”
The City Deal contains a number of projects in Swansea, including a new digital village on Kingsway for the city’s tech businesses.
A digital square and digital indoor arena on the St David’s development site would also be enabled, as well as a ‘box village’ and innovation precinct at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s SA1 waterfront development that would provide incubation and co-working spaces for start-up businesses. A 5G testbed would also be established, making Swansea a global leader in 5G innovation.
Ensuring benefits across the City Region as a whole, major projects are also planned for Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot and Pembrokeshire.