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City council slams focus on Newport.

Byline: MATT DISCOMBE Local Democracy Reporter mathew.discombe@reachplc.com

PROPOSALS by the Welsh Government to make Newport the "focus" for economic growth have been slammed by Cardiff council.

The Welsh Government says it wants to make Newport "the focus for regional growth and investment" and says Cardiff "cannot continue to expand indefinitely".

But Cardiff council has criticised the idea, revealed in the Welsh Government's proposed new national development strategy for the next 20 years, saying it could take jobs and investment out of Wales.

In the proposed strategy the Welsh Government says it "supports Newport as the focus for regional growth and investment and wants to see the city play an increased strategic role in the region".

The Welsh Government says development plans drawn up by councils across the region "should recognise Newport as a focus for strategic housing and economic growth, essential services and facilities, transport and digital infrastructure, and consider how they can support and benefit from Newport's increased strategic regional role".

The proposed strategy says the Welsh Government will work with councils

in south east Wales and England "to promote Newport's strategic role and ensure key investment decisions in Wales and England support Newport and the wider region".

Cardiff is expected to be one of the fastest-growing cities in the UK with a 26% growth in its population over the next 20 years.

But the Welsh Government's proposed strategy says Cardiff "cannot continue to expand indefinitely without major consequences for the environment". The Welsh Government's proposed plan says Newport's public transport system will be improved by the Metro and the city "benefits from established road and rail links with Cardiff, Bristol and London".

It says the Welsh Government is "determined to see development and growth in Newport, allowing the city to fulfil its potential as a second focal point for the region" and that Newport has "significant brownfield development opportunities" and "emerging highly-skilled employment opportunities in the transport and digital communications sectors".

But Cardiff council has said the strategy could undermine the capital's role "as the economic driver of the Welsh economy".

The council's ruling body agreed this month to tell the Welsh Government that it supports the growth of Newport but that it's "very concerned that rather than promoting and supporting economic and population growth in Cardiff and Newport the framework is instead proposing a dispersal of growth from Cardiff to Newport".

The Vale of Glamorgan council has also criticised the proposed strategy, saying it ignores how the growth of Cardiff is affecting the county, and a potential need for a greenbelt along the west of the capital.

A Welsh Government spokesman said: "The council's comments will be considered alongside all other comments We will issue a report on the consultation outlining any changes we propose to make in due course."

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Author:MATT DISCOMBE Local Democracy Reporter mathew.discombe@reachplc.com
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 1, 2019
Words:466
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