The Swansea Bay City Deal has celebrated success throughout 2023 with key milestones being achieved and delivery accelerating across South West Wales, through its portfolio of nine headline projects and programmes.
Estimated to attract up to £1.3 billion of investment by 2033 the Swansea Bay City Deal is a unique portfolio of projects funded by the Welsh Government and UK Government, the public sector, and the private sector. Through collaborative working across the counties of Neath Port Talbot, Swansea, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire, the City Deal will create over 9,000 well-paid job opportunities and help economic recovery by contributing over £1.8 billion to the regional economy. Along with other complimentary initiatives taking shape across the region, including the Levelling Up Fund and the successful Celtic Freeport bid, it will help transform South West Wales’ urban and rural areas into places where businesses can grow and residents can thrive.
The three regional projects have been gathering pace. The Skills and Talent programme has now approved 17 pilot projects, which see our schools, colleges, universities, local authorities, and private sector companies working together to provide skills/training for young people in sectors such as Digital, Smart Manufacturing and Green Construction. The Homes as Power Stations (HAPS) project which is enabling energy efficient designs and renewable technologies into homes has launched its Financial Incentives Fund and delivered energy efficient technologies into 200 HAPS homes representing a total investment of £42m. The Digital Infrastructure programme continued to improve the digital landscape, exceeding its private sector investment expectations by £14.56m, and commencing the 5G Innovation Fund.
The six location-based projects are also progressing well and positively impacting our region. Yr Egin, the digital and creative sector hub in Carmarthen, celebrated its fifth year of operation with an anniversary event hosted by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. Also in Carmarthenshire, the construction of the multi-million-pound Pentre Awel project is on track, demonstrating the size and scale of Phase one with the groundworks complete and steel structure in place.
Swansea Arena celebrated its first full year of operation with hundreds of thousands of visitors attending major performances, conferences, events and graduation ceremonies. Construction is progressing on the Swansea Council’s 71/72 Kingsway office development and UWTSD Innovation Matrix project at SA1. The Campuses project, also in Swansea, has formed key relationships with companies in the health and wellbeing sector ready for procurements. Led by Swansea University, the project has also utilised funding opportunities available for a Skills and Talent pilot project and been awarded £1.5 million from the Digital Infrastructure programmes 5G Innovation Fund.
The Pembroke Dock Marine project has made significant progress with the refurbishment of the Historic Hangar Annexes, the construction of the slipway and pontoon, and the development of vast laydown space, with elements of all three completed on schedule.
Finally, our Supporting Innovation and Low Carbon Growth programme in Neath Port Talbot has seen the opening of its award-winning energy positive Bay Technology Centre and reviewed applications for its Property Development Fund. It has also appointed a contractor for its SWITCH project and began installation of its new 100kW Hydrogen Electrolyser at the Baglan Hydrogen Centre.
Councillor Rob Stewart, Chairman of the Swansea Bay City Deal’s Joint Committee, said “It has been a privilege to be part of the City Deal’s collaboration and journey during 2023. The progress that’s taken place has been fantastic and testament to our commitment to deliver. Every project throughout the portfolio has taken huge strides in growing our region’s economy and shaping the future for everyone.
“It’s going to be an exciting 2024, with more initiatives being built and delivered, such as the completion of 71/72 Kingsway, The Innovation Matrix, Pentre Awel phase 1 and the completion of the major renovation at Pembroke Port. We will continue to support businesses, helping them locate and grow in our region. This, coupled with other exciting transformational initiatives happening throughout South West Wales will send a clear message to our partners that we are thriving and willing to collaborate for our economy and people”.