THE Welsh Government has said it does not wish to comment further after branding a campaign to bring millions of pounds back to Barry “ridiculous.”
Last week the Barry and District News reported how Pride In Barry’s campaign to claim back £17.7m of money, derived from land sales in the town, had been dismissed by the Welsh Government saying the proceeds had been distributed elsewhere in Wales.
Pride In Barry chairman, Paul Haley asked the Welsh Government to apologise to the group that had been working with it on regeneration for 20 years.
Paul said: “This money could have been used in areas of Barry with significant social deprivation at no net cost to the taxpayer and clearly is a social injustice to all Barrians. It could have also been used to enable undercover attractions at Barry Island, a pump-primer for a marina, and a water sports centre, which was the original intention of the Barry Regeneration Programme 20 years ago. It is a further injustice when other areas have been able to recycle their land receipts within their area such as Cardiff, Swansea and Newport.
“The Welsh Government choose to highlight the significant private sector investment as yet to be delivered in Barry.
“Private Sector investment in Barry compared to the now net profit of the public sector is unrivalled in Wales. We challenge Welsh Government to identify where the Barry Deficit £17.7million has been allocated and to state whether it produced better returns than it could have in Barry, which would indicate whether due regard to investment appraisals and value for money considerations of public monies were considered and have been monitored.
We note the irony of Welsh Govt identifying £2million "investment" in the Barry Island Road, when in fact this is a repayable loan.
“The very least this should be a non-repayable grant, from the Barry Deficit. The Welsh Government should be ashamed at calling the valid comments of a voluntary community regeneration partner of 20 years "ridiculous" and should apologise.”
Vale MP Alun Cairns said he believed the monies could spark major projects and attract employment.
He said: “Five years ago the Welsh Government received close to £60m for the sale of land on the Waterfront. I am angry that Barry has been taken for granted. Other areas where this type of land sale has happened e.g. Swansea, Newport and Cardiff the money has been spent locally
“I cannot believe the response from the Welsh Government when they said that Barry has had the money in other ways.
“Barry has been short changed with the loss of the regeneration money. The town of Barry hasn’t been designated a priority area for investment and the Welsh Government could have achieved more in Barry.”
A Welsh Government spokesman said: “We do not wish to comment further. We have made our position on this matter clear.”