A £1.3bn investment programme in 11 major projects across South West Wales has taken a major step forward.

Pembrokeshire Council and Swansea Council have now approved the Swansea Bay City Deal’s Joint Committee Agreement (JCA), following in the footsteps of the UK Government, the Welsh Government, Carmarthenshire Council and Neath Port Talbot Council.

The approval of the JCA, which outlines principles of City Deal working, means the City Deal’s governance structure can be formally established. This will include a Joint Committee overseeing all aspects of the City Deal, as well as an Economic Strategy Board with representation from the private sector.

The Swansea Bay City Deal is being funded, subject to the approval of businesses cases, by the UK Government, the Welsh Government, the public sector and the private sector. It’s being led by the four regional local authorities, together with the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg and Hywel Dda University Health Boards, Swansea University, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, and private sector partners.

Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader and Lead Leader for the Swansea Bay City Deal, said: “This is a landmark moment because it means we’re now in a position to start delivering the Swansea Bay City Deal for the benefit of residents throughout South West Wales.

“The JCA is a vital foundation that has to be in place for the Swansea Bay City Deal to move forward, so its approval by all partners augurs well for a very exciting future.  A formal governance structure for the City Deal will shortly be introduced for the very first time, which will lead, subject to the approval of businesses cases, to the securing of funding for all 11 transformational projects. 

“Over the next 15 years, these projects will combine to give the City Region a £1.8bn boost, helping close the economic gap between South West Wales and far more affluent parts of the UK. The City Deal will also create close to 10,000 new, well-paid jobs in key sectors like life sciences, smart manufacturing, energy and the creative industries.”

Mark James, Carmarthenshire Council Chief Executive and Lead Chief Executive for the Swansea Bay City Deal, said: “The JCA’s approval by all four regional local authorities, the UK Government and the Welsh Government reflects a huge amount of work that’s been taking place behind the scenes for some time to reach this stage.

“This is an example of regional working at its best, with the public and private sectors in Swansea Bay coming together in pursuit of a common goal to improve local people’s lives in Carmarthenshire, Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Pembrokeshire.

“We can now focus our energy on delivering 11 innovative projects that will raise the City Region’s profile, while also acting as a catalyst for further investment.”

Projects due to be part-funded by the City Deal, subject to the approval of business cases, include the Swansea City and Waterfront Digital District, which will feature a digital indoor arena, a digital square, a digital village for tech businesses and a ‘box village’ development for start-up companies at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s SA1 campus. A £200m Wellness and Life Science Village is planned for Llanelli, with the first phase of a creative digital cluster called ‘Yr Egin’ due to open at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s Carmarthen campus this autumn.

In Pembrokeshire, a project to boost marine energy is planned, which is set to include a testing area for innovative tidal energy devices.

A Homes as Power Stations project is planned across the region, enabling houses and other buildings to generate, store and release their own energy.

Other projects include a Life Science and Well-being Campuses network, a Factory of the Future initiative to help future-proof the regional manufacturing industry; and a Steel Science Centre to address the current and future challenges of sustaining steelmaking capacity in the region and across the UK.

A Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Digital Services is also planned to bridge the gap between research and innovation, and help launch, develop and grow new commercial opportunities.

Each project, subject to the approval of business cases, will be supported by cutting-edge digital infrastructure, as well as a Skills and Talent initiative that will give local people a pathway to access the jobs being created.