NORTH WALES desperately needs more land and buildings to support thousands of jobs that will be created by the region’s Growth Vision.
One of the eight North Wales Growth Bid programmes is Land and Property Development, addressing a huge shortage in suitable sites for housing and commercial use.
The North Wales Economic Ambition Board has identified key locations that would make an initial, and positive, impact on the problem. They are:
- Parc Bryn Cegin, Bangor: a strategic site which has been ready for development for 15 years. By providing buildings the site would deliver space for supply chain business to locate in support of Wylfa Newydd and other projects in north west Wales. Costing £12m it would create up to 2,000 direct or indirect construction jobs.
- Bodelwyddan Strategic Site: Earmarked for 1715 new homes, 9500 m2 of employment floor space, new road links, a care home, retail units and community infrastructure. Costing £22m it has the potential to create 3,000 direct or indirect construction jobs, complementing the existing St Asaph and Kinmel Park employment sites. Aiming for completion in 2021.
- Warren Hall, Broughton: The site is close to the A55 and has proposals for a mixed-use development of up to 400 homes, a business park and scope for up to 4,000 direct or indirect construction jobs to be created, capitalising on the success of the Deeside Industrial Zone and Chester Business Park. The project would be delivered between 2019-2021.
- Wrexham Technology Park: The purpose of this scheme is to bring forward an extension to the current Park. Additional brown field site is available for development, but new road access is required, together with improved junctions on the A483, electricity grid connections and other new primary infrastructure. It would generate up to 1,000 direct jobs and 500 indirect jobs and be delivered between 2022-2025 at a cost of £11m.
Iwan Prys Jones, Programme Manager for the Ambition Board, says there is strong demand for sites and premises, particularly in Wrexham and Flintshire, and now more than ever in north west Wales after £20billion plans for Wylfa nuclear power station advanced in past weeks.
He said: “There is a severe shortage of suitable property in North Wales for businesses to locate. There is serviced land in north west Wales but very few good quality buildings for companies to move into, which if you take into context the supply chain for Wylfa Newydd that poses a problem.
“In north east Wales there is strong demand for buildings but there is a shortage of industrial land ready for development, especially in Wrexham and Deeside, and many of the allocated sites lack primary infrastructure.
“Financing infrastructure for strategic sites has been an issue in recent years, but through the growth bid there is an opportunity to work in partnership across the public sector and for developers to bring forward new sites and property.”
Mr Prys-Jones said a case can be made for all of the sites to be given the green light, geographically and in terms of demand.
“If you were a business looking to move into North Wales and you wanted a good quality modern property of more 20,000 sq ft you’re going to really struggle,” he said.
“There has been sustained economic growth in North Wales over the past decade, especially in north east Wales. If this growth is to be sustained, the shortage of land and property must be addressed.
“I think that’s the core message we are hoping to achieve with this element of the Growth Bid, that there has to be a pipeline of sites and premises available.”
He added: “We are proposing a partnership with the Welsh Government to bring money and expertise together to support the delivery of the pipeline of sites.
“There are some major sites allocated that have not come forward for development and these need to be unlocked for the benefit of the economy. This includes a number of sites allocated for housing use.”
Those words were echoed by Gwynedd council leader Cllr Dyfrig Siencyn, Vice-Chair of the Growth Bid.
Unlocking land in the west of the region is vital, he says, to allow the area to capitalise on its potential and major investments such as Wylfa Newydd.
“What we need and what we have is a strong partnership across the whole of the public sector, including Welsh Government, to work with the private sector to capitalise on investment opportunities,” said Cllr Siencyn.
“Put simply, our economy needs sites and premises to meet the demand for jobs.
“It’s not just about roads, land and buildings, it’s about changing lives by putting the right infrastructure in place. With the Growth Bid and subsequent Growth Deal, as part of the overarching vision for North Wales, that’s what we are aiming to do.”
To back the bid, follow the hashtags #cefnogircais and #backthebid on social media and visit www.northwaleseab.co.uk