The Welsh Government has promised to look into the feasibility of three projects to boost enterprise and jobs in Bridgend.
Following a meeting with the Ford Bridgend Task Force yesterday, Welsh Economy Minister Ken Skates said there are 21 businesses who have expressed an interest in the 1.2M sqft Ford site when production ends at the Bridged plant in September.
He confirmed £100,000 of public money will be invested in the local area and region to encourage enterprise among the 1,200 Ford workers who will lose their jobs but want to remain working, also boosting businesses in Bridgend town centre and assisting Porthcawl Resort to win more visitors.
The money will come equally from Welsh Government and the Cardiff Capital Region funds to enable Bridgend County Borough Council study three projects.
The three projects outlined:
An Enterprise Hub Programme
To deliver enhanced business space and integrated support for start-ups and entrepreneurs with targeted investment in premises linked to key sectors and responding to market failure and local demand.
A Bridgend Town Resilience Programme
To enhance the vibrancy of the town centre and increase footfall, thereby supporting existing businesses and attracting new opportunities through measures like the provision of flexible start-up and incubation space. It will also consider a future location of Bridgend College within the town centre, recognising its potential to act as a magnet and focal point for future investment.
A Porthcawl Resort Investment programme
An opportunity for Porthcawl to become a high quality signature destination within Wales, delivering a wide range of activities and facilities to attract new visitors, both at home and overseas, and provide compelling reasons to visit.
“So instead of relying on one major business we will spread the opportunities over a wider area and type of businesses,” said the Minister.
“The £100,000 investment is for feasibility studies only and we are ready and willing to put in more money where it is needed to help Bridgend and the region recover and develop with a more diverse economy after Ford go later this year.”
He added that since announcing its closure six months ago, Ford had “significantly improved” the level of legacy funding it intended to leave behind for projects and announcements about this will be made in coming weeks.