A number of potential projects that could transform the Powys and Ceredigion economies have been revealed as part of a growth deal.

At a meeting of the Growing Mid Wales Board, which steers the £110 million Mid Wales Growth Deal, it was stressed that getting private investment will be key to turning dreams into reality.

The board, which is made up of councillors from both Ceredigion and Powys county council cabinets met on Tuesday, September 21 and gave their support to the business case that needs to be submitted to both Welsh and UK governments before the deal can be finally sealed.

It is thought that the deal could see investment of between £280 million and £400million over the next 10-15 years, which could create 1,100 jobs.

Three of the eight projects would be in Powys, with the remaining five in Ceredigion.

  • Around £24.2 million for the Centre of Alternative Technology in Machynlleth to create an “immersive learning experience” to produce skills for workers needed in the renewable energy, “sustainable” construction, food, land use and tourism.
  • An estimated £12.7 million for an Elan Valley Lakes project – there Dŵr Cymru would investing in facilities for leisure, sport, and nature activities, including visitor accommodation.
  • An estimated £24.4 million to restore the Montgomery Canal for tourism and leisure.
  • Innovation Park – Led by Aberystwyth University, estimated investment of £30 million for 10,000 square metres office and research and development spaces space.
  • National Spectrum Centre –  Led by Aberystwyth University estimated investment of £17 million.
  • Food Manufacturing Innovation Centre – Led by Food Centre Wales,  which is part of Ceredigion County Council, this is a £4.4 million project to deliver a state-of-the-art food manufacturing innovation centre at Horeb, Llandysul.
  • Canolfan Tir Glas / University of Gastronomy –  Trinity St David’s University in Carmarthen hopes to establish a centre for rural enterprise that will promote the local food industry, cost estimated to be £8 million.
  • Ceredigion harbours – cost of between £20 million to £30 million is an outline proposal for two major marina/harbour developments in Aberystwyth and Aberaeron.

Other projects include improving digital connectivity which would cost £3.6 million and identifying areas to provide business and industrial units.

Growing Mid Wales advisor, Paul Griffiths said that discussions with government officials were now starting to move towards projects.

Mr Griffiths said: “There’s a real keenness to see the projects now, in terms of how they are going to develop, what are they going to look like, how they are going to impact on our communities.

“I hope what’s happening here is that we’ve done all of the due diligence and the conditions to start to speed up the process over the coming months to realise these ambitions.”

Mid-Wales Growth Deal strategic manager Carwyn Jones-Evans stressed that the board were not deciding on any projects at this meeting.

Mr Jones-Evans said: “In terms of the two programmes we are considering, we have digital and land and property.

“We’ve got initial proposals they are good,  but they need further work and consideration.”

The next phase, expected next month, will see both governments look at the portfolio business case.

Mr Jones-Evans hoped that work on drafting the final deal agreement could start in mid-November, so that the document can be brought before councillors at the next board meeting on December 10 for a decision.

Powys County Council leader Rosemarie Harris said: “It’s been a long journey, but you have come up with a very detailed document here, it’s very pleasing to see.”

Ceredigion County Council leader Ellen ap Gwynn added: “We’ll have to duck and weave and work in the best way we can to draw this funding down as soon as possible and see work happening on the ground.”

In October 2019 the UK Government announced a £55 million injection of funding, that was to be spread over 15 years. The Welsh Government has committed to matching this.

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