Thursday, January 08, 2009

Pride in Barry Petition

During the Autumn, the National Assembly's Enterprise and Learning Committee held two evidence sessions about the Pride in Barry petition to provide fair investment into the Barry Waterfront project.

Barry is in a difficult position, overshadowed economically by Cardiff on the one hand (the Vale of Glamorgan has the highest number of commuters of any local authority in Wales), yet not in the Convergence Fund areas that receive additional European funding (the Valleys and West Wales) to promote economic development.

Pride in Barry are concerned that the economic situation does not bode well for the completion of the Waterfront area, formerly an industrial Docks area, which has been revived in the past decade, and have been calling for the announcement of a consistent stream of funding to ensure that Barry gets its fair share of investment over a period of time, allowing for long-term planning of the development rather than short-term fixes.

I was therefore happy to read before Christmas that the Committee report accepted that Pride in Barry were making a cogent argument about the need for funding to prevent the failure of the Waterfront area, but, crucially, recommended that Barry "meets the criteria outlined in the Deputy Minister's statement on strategic regeneration and that...the town merits serious consideration of further support."

In as much as a committee can tie a Deputy Minister's hands behind his back on making a decision (Leighton Andrews in this case), I think that that one sentence confirming that Barry should be one of the areas for strategic regeneration is as good as you can get.

Well done to Paul Haley and everyone else involved in Pride, and I look forward to the One Wales Government announcing further funding for development in Barry in the Spring.

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