Edwina Hart, Minister for Economy, Science and Transport
Today I am announcing a broad range of support by Welsh Government to take forward some of the key actions arising from the Economic Regeneration Plan for Llandrindod Wells, which is part of the wider support being delivered to Powys Local Growth Zones.
You will recall that I agreed to pilot a business-led approach in Llandrindod Wells, as part of my commitment to take forward the work of the original Powys Local Growth Zones Task and Finish Group. I asked Justin Baird-Murray to lead a Business Group to develop an action plan to address the economic sustainability of the town, identifying actions that could help deliver jobs and growth to the town. The action plan has been informed by discussions with a wide range of businesses, individuals and stakeholders within the town.
I am indebted to Justin for his continued enthusiasm and commitment in bringing forward this plan. I am also grateful to other members of the Group and to all who contributed to this work.
I have considered carefully the actions and am pleased to be responding positively today to a number of these. Some of the actions are immediate and will be taken forward in the short term. Other recommendations are for the longer term and will require further detailed development work prior to more formal consideration.
Key to the action plan is the establishment of a Town First Group and appointment of a Town Champion. I am delighted to announce that funding for an initial period will be provided to pilot this appointment.
I am also making available revenue funding to help further scope and develop priority projects, with proposals for capital funding being considered on a case by case basis, alongside other priorities.
Business Wales will be tasked with delivering targeted support for existing businesses and start-ups within the town. In addition, our youth enterprise activities will be given enhanced local promotion.
In response to recommendations relating to developing and promoting the personality and identity of the town as a local and visitor destination, my officials will work closely with the Group to ensure Llandrindod Wells features in work already underway on destination management.
Work is also already in had to address the ICT and mobile actions and Llandrindod Wells has been prioritised for the Superfast Cymru roll out, with work scheduled to start in December 2014. We are also working closely with other key partners to ensure the town and surrounding areas maximises the opportunity provided by the £150 million Mobile Infrastructure Project which aims to deliver voice and basic data services to mobile notspots.
My officials are already reviewing some of the transport projects identified in the plan. I have also asked officials to look at options for business premise improvements.
The implementation of the action plan is dependent on engagement and support not only from Welsh Government but from the Local Authority and other key stakeholders from across the public and private sectors, as well as from within the community itself.
I have written to the Leader of Powys County Council, enclosing the action plan and seeking assurance of their commitment to take forward key actions. I have also asked specifically that they consider the action to introduce of a scheme in targeted parts of the town to restore and enhance shop frontages.
In terms of wider actions from the Powys Local Growth Zone, I recently announced funding to support the Sirolli model of community-based economic development in and around Newtown and the Severn Valley. This will provide us with an opportunity to test the Sirolli model in a rural context in Wales.
In Brecon, I have supported the FYI network local website which provides wide ranging information on local services, enabling local traders to communicate and interact with their customers to help increase trade for local businesses.
The Superfast Cymru website now provides deployment dates for the key settlements within the Powys Local Growth Zones, with work scheduled to start in September 2014. The importance of improved transport infrastructure was also highlighted and I have reaffirmed my commitment to the Newtown bypass and confirmed changes to the preferred route. The scheme contractors are working alongside technical and environmental advisors with a view to publishing an Environmental Statement and draft Orders during the summer.