COUNCIL leaders have joined forces to promote “one North Wales” as the region aims to secure a £1.3bn growth deal.
The leaders of all six local authorities – Anglesey, Gwynedd, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham – are united behind the North Wales Growth Bid.
Driven by the North Wales Economic Ambition Board, which consists of all six councils, FE, HE, and the private sector in partnership with the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA), The Wales Office and UK and Welsh Governments, the Bid is chaired by Flintshire leader Cllr Aaron Shotton, supported by vice-chair Cllr Dyfrig Siencyn, leader of Gwynedd council.
Together with Anglesey’s Cllr Llinos Medi (pictured), Cllr Gareth Jones in Conwy, Wrexham leader Cllr Mark Pritchard and Denbighshire’s Hugh Evans they are aiming to bring major investment into key areas with an initial 26 projects centred around digital connectivity, transport, renewable energy, land and property development, business growth and employment, the Welsh language, skills and innovation.
Welcoming the new approach, Cllr Medi said that while every leader is focused on ensuring their county gets the best possible deal, it is crucial that residents and businesses take the long view and see the benefits a successful Growth Bid and the overall Growth Vision will have on North Wales.
“For me it’s about longevity and projects that will add value and benefit generations to come,” said Cllr Medi.
“From an Anglesey perspective, the Morlais marine energy scheme, Menai Science Park and the potential of the port of Holyhead could have a big local impact but also effect the region as a whole.”
“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.”
Her words were echoed by Cllr Jones, who is keen to see communites – particularly in rural areas – at the heart of the Board’s Vision.
“While these projects are going to have a major impact we must not lose sight of that vision,” he said.
“The social aspect is of huge importance and is a priority, alongside the economic side of the Growth Bid.
“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 Bid will bring about significant economic development but must also affect the public and our communities. I see it as an enabler rather than a deliverer, creating an environment that will bring about change for the better.”
The Bid is made up of 26 projects but not all will form the final Growth Deal. Those that are not part of the successful Bid will be funded via alternative routes.
All six leaders share the Ambition Board’s aim of investment in the strategies through capital funding, making land and assets available, and seeking private sector support and engagement.
Cllr Pritchard agrees dissolving county boundaries is the right approach in order to make this a reality.
“We are working together as one North Wales, taking locality and politics out of the equation,” he said.
“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.”
The Ambition Board wants you to support the campaign and be united behind the Bid on social media using the hashtag #backthebid.
For more, visit www.northwaleseab.co.uk