BARRY has suffered a further funding blow after a Welsh Government scheme chose to leave Wales’ largest town out.
Vale MP Alun Cairns described the decision as a “slap in the face”, but welcomed the inclusion of St Athan as an Assisted Area but stressed how important it was to get Barry part of the zone that enables grants to be offered to attract investment and new job opportunities.
The Assisted Areas map sets out which parts of Wales and the UK that the EU will allow grants to be offered to companies to create jobs and it is the main lever used in attracting investment to designated areas.
Alun said: “This is a slap in the face for Barry. I cannot believe that the area that has the most to gain from investment and has the greatest need, Barry has been left out.
“ I am pleased that St Athan and the Renishaw sites are included but I there is no doubt parts of Barry have the greatest need.
“This significance of this map cannot be over stated. This allows the Welsh Government to market certain locations and to offer grants as an incentive to invest. Being outside of the Assisted Areas zone for the last 10 years has made it very difficult to attract investment to Barry.
“This proposal is part of a consultation and I will do all possible to get Barry part of the Area. This status is more important than any regeneration funding that has been available over the last 10 years.”
Vale cabinet member for regeneration, innovation, planning and transportation, Cllr Lis Burnett said the Vale Council had been one of only four authorities to respond from across Wales and had suggested wards within Barry, Rhoose, St Athan and Peterston Super Ely be included in the scheme.
She said: “This would have included significant employment opportunities adjacent to the airport, within St Athan and at land south of junction 34 of the M4, as well as parts of the town of Barry being designated as Assisted Areas.
“The second round consultation requests feedback on the draft assisted area map for the UK and this map proposes that Rhoose, St Athan and the Peterston super Ely wards are included, whilst wards within Barry are not.”
The Council needs to respond to this draft map by February, 7 2014 and will consider its position in the coming weeks.
She added: “It is pleasing that the major opportunities for economic growth, as proposed in the Council’s LDP have been included, and that the proposed areas also include the Enterprise Zone. If taken forward, this will be excellent news for the prospects of the Enterprise Zone, and given its proximity, the town of Barry.”