PROGRESS on the Growth Vision for North Wales and major investment in the region will be the focus of a virtual conference.
Organised by North Wales Mersey Dee Business Council, in partnership with North Wales Economic Ambition Board (NWEAB), the online event takes place on Wednesday November 4.
Presented by Business Council chair and North Wales Tourism CEO Jim Jones, the event will feature updates from the NWEAB Programme Office on transformative projects set to begin in 2021.
Among the speakers are Programme Director Alwen Williams, Digital Programme Manager Stuart Whitfield, Energy Programme Manager Henry Aron, Land and Property Manager David Matthews and Operations Manager Hedd Vaughan-Evans. There will also be a question and answer session.
Programmes to be discussed include Digital Connectivity, Regional Transport Decarbonisation, Regional Land and Property – including commercial property and housing schemes – and the Smart Local Energy Network, encouraging more local renewable energy generation.
The Holyhead Gateway project is also on the agenda, targeting infrastructure improvements and investment that will create jobs and enhance transport links between Wales and Ireland.
Ashley Rogers, Commercial Director of the Business Council, said this is an opportunity to gain further information on where things stand in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic and following the £240m commitment towards the North Wales Growth Deal from the Welsh and UK Governments last year.
Heads of Terms on the Deal were signed last autumn, and strides have been made over the last 12 months, in the face of Covid-19 and economic pressures.
“This is the right time to come together with businesses in the region to showcase what has been going on behind the scenes, what is to come, and how the Growth Vision will impact upon North Wales,” said Ashley.
“This has been a year of unprecedented challenges, but the Programme Office has been working closely with stakeholders in education and the private and public sectors.
“We have already had a great response to the session and hope to see a wide range of companies join us on the day, to feed back their thoughts and ensure they are fully aware of progress made and how they can benefit and contribute to our economic recovery – that collaboration and communication is going to be vital.”
In past months, the Programme Office – based at Conwy Business Centre in Llandudno Junction – has been busy shaping business cases, engaging with stakeholders and exploring private sector investment opportunities, while holding virtual meetings and conferences in lockdown.
“Together with the Welsh and UK Governments and our partners in this region we have been driving the programmes forward,” said Alwen.
“It has, of course, been a challenge laying these foundations while unable to hold meetings face to face or with the ease of travel and access to different areas that was there before the pandemic took hold in the UK.
“But we have met those challenges head-on and look forward to sharing with those who join the conference the advances we have made.”
She added: “The Growth Vision for North Wales is a long-term masterplan to create jobs and grow our economy, and we realise that is more important than ever in the light of past months.
“By working together with businesses, we can respond to these pressures and start to build positive momentum, so we are ready to deliver from 2021 onwards.”
As well as creating thousands of new jobs, the Growth Vision is targeting a £10bn increase in the value of the North Wales economy by 2035.