THE VALE council leader has responded to claims that Barry is a ‘town without a purpose’ by setting out his vision for the future of the town.

Last week, during a discussion on the City Deal, Cardiff councillor Russell Goodway described Barry as a “town without a purpose” which has been in decline since the 1920s.

Cllr Thomas, in setting out his plan for the town, said that Barry is “very much a ‘town with a purpose’ and has a great future”.

He said: “A dramatic coastal location boasting stunning beaches, only 20 minutes from Cardiff with excellent accessibility by road and rail, a rich heritage and it’s proud, enthusiastic residents means that Barry has a very bright future.

“The town has made remarkable strides in recent years – the result of significant regeneration and investment, including the multi-million pound regeneration of the waterfront, the new island link road and rejuvenation of the island as a ‘go to’ visitor destination.

“The council’s regeneration of the eastern promenade along with the innovative and exciting events programme has reinvented the island as an all-year- round destination, leading to a significant rise in visitor numbers reaching approximately 3.9 million last year. Alongside this, former industrial buildings like the Pumphouse have been brought back to use with exciting plans afoot to redevelop other historic sites like the former Hood Road goods shed and the toilet block on Nell’s Point.”

He added that, as has been seen in the Castleland renewal project, the council is committed to improving the living standards of tenants and “significant expenditure has ensured all council owned properties reach Welsh Housing Quality Standards”.

He added: “We have also committed to a new council housing programme and will invest heavily in education, so all Barry secondary schools will benefit from major refurbishment in the coming years.

“We need to maintain and build on the momentum that is apparent in the town. We will continue to explore the potential of maximising existing assets such as Nell’s Point for hotel and leisure uses and seek to grow the ‘stay for more than a day’ visitors as well as developing other potential leisure uses based around the town’s dockside and coastal location.

“For Barry to play its full part in the City Region and to benefit from additional investment, we need to maximise opportunities and linkages to the Enterprise Zone and attract other major companies to follow the decision taken by Aston Martin. Key to this will be to improve connectivity and accessibility – work is already underway on Five Mile Lane improvements and studies are examining the options for improved links to Cardiff and the M4 motorway.

“I firmly believe that Barry has a very strong future and will do everything possible to ensure it plays a central role in the region and that its residents all share the benefits.”