Prime minister Theresa May has signed off a deal set to spark £1.3bn of investment in projects to form a digital economy in Swansea and south-west Wales.
The Swansea Bay city deal will see the UK and Welsh governments pledge a total of £241m in funding, with another £396m of public funds and £637m of private sector cash spent over 15 years on projects across four councils.
The deal is expected to create up to 9,000 jobs.
Dubbed ‘the internet coast’, the aim of the city region deal is to spur private investment in the digital economy across the region, which includes Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire and Swansea.
A new £169m ‘digital waterfront’ in Swansea will see 100,000 sq ft of office space on Kingsway focusing on technology businesses, while a 215,000 sq ft box village development will form part of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s under-construction Waterfront Innovation Quarter.
City deal approval will enable the digitalisation of the 5,000-6,000-seat indoor arena planned for the city centre’s St David’s development site, as well as the creation of a ’digital square’.
Camarthenshire will get a £200m wellness and life sciences village, while Pembrokeshire will see the go-ahead of a £76m dock marine in Milford Haven.
Region-wide initiatives include plans to deliver low-carbon homes and retrofit existing housing as well as improvements to digital broadband across the region.
Welsh first minister Carwyn Jones said: “This is a transformative deal that will drive the regional economy in a new direction, supported by high-quality jobs and a digital infrastructure.”
The city deal, however, does not include formal approval for the other major infrastructure project in South Wales, the £1.3bn Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon.
The government is yet to publish it’s response to the Hendry review, which urged the government to back the power scheme. If given the green light, the lagoon could be in operation by 2022.