Economy Minister Ken Skates has announced that the Welsh Government will soon be able to release an £18 million funding boost to Swansea Bay City Deal partners to begin funding a number of transformational projects in South West Wales.
The funding, which is subject to final terms and conditions being met, would be provided towards a long term programme of investment that currently includes major projects across Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot, Swansea and Pembrokeshire.
The £18 million funding provides an opportunity to deliver against the whole of the city deal programme. A further £18 million may also potentially be available this year for other projects within the deal, subject to the region meeting clear terms and conditions.
Initial funding for the first of these schemes, which are all being led by the individual local authorities responsible, is based on the approval of business cases for the Yr Egin creative and digital cluster and Swansea City and Waterfront Digital District projects.
Economy Minister Ken Skates said:
“I am determined to ensure that the Swansea City Deal delivers genuine economic growth and change for the communities of south-west Wales, and I am delighted that Welsh Government will shortly be releasing funding to drive forward this ambitious programme.
“The Swansea Bay City Deal will signal the start of a culture shift for the region, building confidence in the area, creating thousands of high quality jobs and providing a huge financial boost for many years to come.
The Swansea City and Waterfront Digital District project features a state-of-the-art, 3,500-capacity digital indoor arena. Benefitting from world class digital connectivity, the arena is expected to open in early 2021. A digital plaza will also be constructed outside the arena, complete with digital artworks and other digital features.
Other aspects include a 28,000 square foot box village and 64,000 square foot innovation precinct for start-up businesses at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David campus in SA1. A 100,000 square foot digital village development will also be constructed on Kingsway, providing cutting-edge working spaces for tech and digitally focussed companies.
Yr Egin is based in Carmarthen, at the town’s University of Wales of Trinity Saint David campus. A second phase of work is now planned, following on from a successful first phase that’s already home to S4C’s new headquarters and many other creative sector businesses.
Cllr Rob Stewart, Chairman of the Swansea Bay City Deal’s Joint Committee, said:
“While the release of this funding is extremely welcome, councils and City Deal partners have continued to move forward with delivery of the two City Deal projects approved today. This demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the projects and the City Deal as a whole.
“The Swansea and Yr Egin projects will give people in South West Wales a world class entertainment venue, while providing our creative, tech and entrepreneurial business talent with the spaces and facilities they need to thrive. But it’s also our intention to soon bring forward the other City Deal projects to ensure more money is released as quickly as possible.
“We hope both Governments will continue to work closely with us to facilitate the necessary approvals for the benefit of residents and businesses in Swansea, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Neath Port Talbot.
“The City Deal developments will also act as a catalyst for further investment and economic growth, opening up thousands of well-paid jobs for local people.
The Swansea Bay City Deal is being led by Carmarthenshire Council, Swansea Council, Neath Port Talbot Council and Pembrokeshire Council, in partnership with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Swansea University, Swansea Bay University Health Board, and Hywel Dda University Health Board. The investment programme is being funded by the UK Government, the Welsh Government, the public sector and the private sector.
In the next 15 years, the Swansea Bay City Deal is projected to boost the regional economy by £1.8 billion and create over 9,000 high-quality jobs.