A BARRY group has launched a campaign to get back millions of pounds it calculates is owed to the town from land sales.
Pride in Barry chairman Paul Haley said this year marked the 20th anniversary of Barry regeneration and lots of good things had been done like making Barry Waterfront more accessible, but he said he had calculated Barry was owed £17.7million by the Welsh Government as a result of land sale revenue secured by the former Welsh Development Agency.
But the Welsh Government has poured scorn on the Barry Deficit Campaign while Paul urged residents to lobby politicians to ensure money came back to the town for regeneration purposes.
He said: “Barrians should ask the question ‘When can we have our £17.7million back?’ leaving us a nil effect for regeneration but allowing us to actually create a marina, undercover attractions for Barry Island, a new Cardiff & Vale campus, maybe a watersports centre on The Waterfront which will be part of an economic stimulus, private sector investment, jobs, growth, visitors, spend in the town. It’s a small price to pay – that £17.7m which is the Barry deficit.
“We have got to have investment in the right place and Barry is often overlooked. It suffers from the same historical legacy as the former coal mining areas. It’s seen to be in the dark shadow of Cardiff and the supposedly affluent Vale of Glamorgan yet it has the same problems that the Valleys have.”
He added: “I would like the Welsh Government to make that £17.7million available to a new constituted Barry Regeneration Community board that will need to be established from April 1 to take over from the Welsh Government-led board which will be defunct from March 2014.
A Welsh Government spokesman said: “These claims are ridiculous. The sale of land to a housing consortium at Barry Waterfront directly resulted in an investment of £230 million in Barry. Over a ten-year period, this massive investment will create 1,700 new homes including 400 affordable homes, 30,000 sq mtrs of retail development, a link road to Barry Island, a new primary school and a new foodstore.
“In addition, the Welsh Government created the Barry Regeneration Area in 2010. As a result, nearly £10million has been invested in 40 regeneration projects in Barry. The Welsh Government is also investing over £2million to bring forward the completion of the Barry Island link road by seven years.
“This substantial investment has taken place during one of the worst recessions in history and clearly demonstrates our commitment to supporting the town and its people."