Back our town
7:20am Thursday 3rd January 2013 in Letters
I’VE been happy to attend as many meetings as possible recently to discuss the current Welsh Government consultation on regeneration, ‘Vibrant and Vital Places’ and what it might mean for Barry. At some of those meetings, misunderstandings have become apparent and so I thought a few words of explanation might be of use.
The current consultation is exploring how Wales should carry out regeneration activities in the future. The reduction in funding is a direct result of UK government cuts and so we have to restructure our regeneration initiatives to make them more effective with less money. Should our funds be spread ever thinner so everyone has a slice, or focus it into a smaller number of areas where it can make the greatest difference? The Welsh Government appears to be leaning towards a focused approach at present.
This could be to Barry’s advantage. We have so many different excellent initiatives happening in Barry at the moment. Apart from the Regeneration Area we have a Housing Renewal area, a massive investment in council housing stock and recently we were one of the first new Communities First Clusters to be announced. These are all good news for Barry but just think what we can achieve for local people if all of these schemes work together. We need to make sure the Welsh Government knows what we can do with their funds and just what a difference we can make if they invest in us.
We have very strong evidence to underpin our case, we know only too well the levels of deprivation and disadvantage in Barry, we know the level of need. But to base any bids or applications purely on such a negative foundation is misguided. Barry has so many good things going for it, the beautiful environment, the wealth of heritage and most importantly, the people. Huw Lewis, the minister for Regeneration, has visited twice in recent months, most recently for a full and frank discussion with the Barry Regeneration Board. We will continue to have those discussions and continue to champion Barry and the rest of the Vale at every opportunity and I know that local Assembly Member Jane Hutt campaigns tirelessly in the Assembly on our behalf. To retain regeneration area status for Barry, it will take more than a couple of meetings of a few willing people. It will take every one of us to play a part in creating the Barry of the future and to persuade the Welsh Government to invest in us. If you or your organisation would like to help, we’d love to hear from you.
You can make your voice heard on the Welsh Government’s consultation before January 14 at: http://wales.gov.uk/consul tations/businessandecono my/vvp/?lang=en The Vale Council’s response to the consultation can be found at: http://www.valeofglamor gan.gov.uk/our_council/council/minutes,_agendas_and_reports/reports/cabinet/2012/12-12-17/vibrant_ and_viable_places.aspx
Cllr Lis Burnett Chair, Barry Regeneration Area Partnership Board Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation, Vale of Glamorgan Council