The Leader of Wrexham Council has joined forces with the heads of five local authorities to promote “one North Wales” as the region aims to secure a £1.3bn growth deal.
Wrexham, Anglesey, Gwynedd, Conwy, Denbighshire and Flintshire Councils have united behind and pledged their support to the ‘North Wales Growth Bid’.
The bid is being driven by the ‘North Wales Economic Ambition Board’, which consists of all six councils, Further Education, Higher Education, 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.
Wrexham’s Cllr Mark Pritchard, along with Anglesey’s Cllr Llinos Medi, Cllr Gareth Jones in Conwy and Denbighshire’s Hugh Evans are aiming to bring major investment into 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.
Negotiations on the submission will commence this year and if successful, the proposals would enable investment of £1.3billion in the North Wales economy. The funds for the Growth Bid, if approved, will be provided jointly by the UK and Welsh Governments.
Welcoming the new approach, Cllr Pritchard said that ‘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.”
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.
Her words were echoed by Cllr Jones, who is keen to see communities – 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 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 campaign website says the aim is to complete the full Deal by the end of the year, and ‘the current focus is on gaining as much momentum as possible and getting all of North Wales behind the campaign’.
To that end, the Ambition Board say they want you to ‘support the campaign and be united behind the Bid on social media using the hashtag #backthebid ‘.