THE BIGGEST ever investment for south west Wales has been secured following the approval of the ground-breaking Swansea Bay City Deal.
UK and Welsh Government Ministers will visit Swansea Bay today (Mar 20) to sign the deal together with members of the Swansea Bay City Region Board.
Leaders from Swansea, Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot and Pembrokeshire councils are celebrating having secured the £1.3billion deal that will transform the economic landscape of the area, boost the local economy by £1.8billion, and generate almost 10,000 new jobs over the next 15 years.
Eleven major projects will now get underway, delivering world-class facilities in the fields of energy, smart manufacturing, innovation and life science, with major investment in the region’s digital infrastructure and workforce skills and talent underpinning each.
The total investment package is made up of £241million of UK and Welsh Government funding, £396million of other public sector money and £637million from the private sector.
The Swansea Bay City Region Board – including the four local authorities together with Abertawe Bro Morgannwg and Hywel Dda University Health Boards, Swansea University and the University of Wales Trinity St David’s, and private sector companies – worked under the Chairmanship of Sir Terry Matthews for over a year to develop and submit the City Deal proposal to the Welsh and UK Governments.
It culminated in a pitch to Alun Cairns, Secretary of State for Wales, and other UK Ministers and their advisors, following months of rigorous challenge and negotiation.
There are three specific projects for Carmarthenshire – a Wellness and Life Science Village in Llanelli; a creative industry project at Yr Egin in Carmarthen; and a skills and talent initiative which will support skills development for all 11 projects.
The Wellness Village and Life Science Village at Delta Lakes, is being led by the council, under the ARCH (A Regional Collaboration for Health) programme, which is a partnership between Hywel Dda and Abertawe Bro Morgannwg Health Boards and Swansea University.
The £200million project aims to create 1853 high quality jobs and boost the economy by a staggering £467 million over 15 years.
The proposals include an Institute of Life Science with laboratory and clinic space and an incubation facility for business start-up, research and development; a wellness hub incorporating a new ‘state-of-the-art’ sports and leisure centre, a wellbeing centre, a wellness hotel and an assisted living village all interlinked and set within a ‘green’ eco-park.
Yr Egin involves the construction of a creative and digital hub and the development of a creative industry sector cluster. It will create around 203 jobs and help the local economy, along with boosting the Welsh language.
A skills and talent initiative will provide educational and training pathways to support the next generation workforce delivering specific sector skills required in order to meet the demand of the City Deal themes of Digital, Life Science and Wellbeing, Energy and Smart Manufacturing.
Carmarthenshire County Council Leader Cllr Emlyn Dole said: “This is a unique opportunity for Carmarthenshire and the wider region to increase prosperity and opportunity. The City Deal will help the long-term sustainability of the economy in Carmarthenshire, creating jobs, growth and training opportunities.
“This is a truly exciting time for the region; the level of investment we are talking about is incomparable to anything we have seen before. The City Deal will allow us to deliver what we have worked so hard to achieve and local people and businesses will soon start to reap the benefits.”
Cllr Rob Stewart, lead Leader of the Swansea Bay City Region and Leader of Swansea City Council, said: “This is among the biggest investments Wales has ever seen, so it’s an historic day for the Swansea Bay City Region.
“The City Deal will improve people’s lives in Swansea, Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot and Pembrokeshire by generating up to 10,000 jobs and investing in world class technology that will revolutionise the way sectors like energy, social care, healthcare and entrepreneurship are delivered and supported here.
“This has always been about making sure South West Wales gets its fair share of investment for the benefit of our residents.
“The state-of-the-art projects the investment will deliver will turbo-charge the regional economy and help attract even more investment in future.
“The approved City Deal is also terrific news for our businesses because not only will the introduction of cutting-edge digital infrastructure help embrace and harness innovation, but the construction of new developments will boost the regional supply chain as well.
“Enormous credit should go to everyone involved in the City Deal bid. The ‘Team Swansea Bay’ approach between partners in the public and private sectors will considerably benefit many people in the near future, with our focus now on aggressive spending to ensure residents reap the rewards of the investment as soon as possible.”
Mark James CBE, lead Chief Executive of the Swansea Bay City Region and Chief Executive of Carmarthenshire County Council, said: “This City Deal is a once in a generation opportunity to further consolidate the region’s role in technological innovation.
“The Swansea Bay City Region will now lead innovation in developing and commercialising solutions to some of the most pressing challenges in the fields of life sciences, energy, smart manufacturing and digital networks in both urban and rural areas.
“This is a unique opportunity to increase prosperity and opportunity for the region.”
Appeal for information about burglaries
DYFED-POWYS POLICE is investigating a number of burglaries that occurred during the afternoon and evening of Sunday, October 8, in the Llanelli and Five Roads areas.
Sometime between 1pm and 8:30pm there was a burglary to a cottage on the main road through Five Roads; the intruder searched the property but no items were stolen. Sometime between 5:15pm and 7:30pm a similar incident happened at Trinity Road, Llanelli.
An attempted burglary to a property at Heol Hen, Five Roads, happened between 8:50pm and 9:30pm on the same evening. It appears someone has attempted entry by forcing the window with a tool.
Police are treating the three incidents as linked.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Dyfed-Powys Police by calling 101, or speaking to a local officer by visiting Llanelli Police Station. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number: 07811 311 908. Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.
Storm Ophelia warnings issued
WINDS of up to 80mph are expected to batter Carmarthenshire and cause ‘significant impact’ as Storm Ophelia hits later today (Oct 16).
The Met Office has warned that there could be a danger to life due to flying debris in the high wind.
There could also be disruption to travel as roads could be flooded and fallen trees could cause obstruction.
The Cleddau Bridge may also close high-sided or all vehicles.
Those living by the coast have been told to stay away from the water to avoid risk of being blown or swept into the sea.
1,200 soldiers are on standby across the UK to respond to any significant incidents caused by the storm.
Police support Hate Crime Awareness Week
DYFED-POWYS POLICE will show its support and commitment to the National Hate Crime Awareness Week by raising awareness within communities as to what a hate crime or incident is.
Additionally, they will be encouraging members of the public to ‘Make Hate History’ and to report hate crime as ‘reporting works’.
Chief inspector Rhiannon Ivens said “Hate crimes and incidents have a significant impact on victims and can cause serious distress, confusion and fear. By their very nature they are hostile and prejudice, targeting a person or people merely due to their disability, religion or belief, race or ethnicity, sexual orientation or transgender identity. We have to unite to stop this – together.
“By reporting these crimes and incidents when they occur, our residents and communities are joining us in the fight against crime, supporting us to investigate, identify offenders and bring them to justice and to stop this from happening to someone else.
“I want to encourage anyone who is a victim of hate crime to report it to us at Dyfed-Powys Police so we can investigate and offer as much support as possible. We also need to know where it is happening so we can understand the extent of hate crime in the area and be better equipped to diffuse community tension before it can escalate.
“We all share the responsibility to stop hate crime. Challenging perceptions and attitudes and encouraging others to ‘think for themselves’ is something we must all do consistently to drive out Hate and positively influence our environment.
“Whether you are a victim or a witness to hate crime, adult or child, please report it to us, we want to hear from you and stop this – together.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said “Hate crime can destroy lives, instil fear and can break down the fabric of our communities and neighbourhoods. Hate crime affects all communities and if not tackled can lead to the isolation and victimisation of individuals and vulnerable groups along with the polarisation of communities.
“I would like to see everyone challenging the underlying attitudes and behaviours in society that lead to hate crime being committed.”
During the week, officers will be out and about in the community and speaking to the public to raise awareness of hate crime.
Victims are encouraged not to suffer in silence but to report hate crime by speaking to Neighbourhood Policing teams or via the 101 non-emergency number or 999 during an emergency.
Victims can also report electronically on the True Vision reporting system – www.report-it.org.uk
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