The Swansea Bay City Deal commits South West Wales to an ambitious 15 year investment and development programme, featuring the Swansea City and Waterfront Digital District, a project that promises a Digital Business Village, a 2,000 seat arena and a new hotel. It might be the initiative that kickstarts a new era for business and tourism in the city.
On the other hand, it might not.
While the overall City Deal carries a headline investment figure of £1.3bn, half of that amount is a speculative estimate of private funding that may never materialise. The terms of the City Deal call for formal governance arrangements, with a Joint Working Authority established by the four Local Authorities involved. Deadlines for these arrangements have come and gone. We have no
governance, and we’ve seen no business plan and no business case for any of the Deal’s projects.
What we do have is a contractual commitment to The Ambassador Theatre Group, a global venue management company overseeing operations at almost 50 properties in the UK, USA and Australia. As far as we know, Swansea’s is the only contract they hold for a venue that doesn’t exist.
We believe in due diligence. We believe in competent, transparent governance. We like it when numbers add up, particularly when those numbers represent taxpayers’ money.
Swansea and Gower Liberal Democrats will continue to scrutinise the City Deal and we invite people of all parties with an interest in the future of the region to join us in holding the Labour leadership of Swansea Council to account.
We believe the people of Swansea and South West Wales deserve answers to these questions:
What progress has been made on establishing the formal governance arrangements and joint Working Arrangement required as part of the Swansea Bay Region City Deal?
For how many of the 11 projects within the Swansea Bay Region City Deal have business plans been submitted to the UK and Welsh Governments, when are these business cases expected to be submitted and when are they expected to be approved?
What preparatory work has been undertaken for the Swansea City an Waterfront Digital District project to date and what is the estimated cost of this preparatory work?
On behalf of Swansea taxpayers, we’re also making this Freedom of Information Request. As a matter of data transparency and in the general public interest, please may we see an advanced draft of the business case for Swansea City and Waterfront Digital District Project?
If you agree with us that the people of Swansea are entitled to know how their money is being spent, join us and become part of the conversation.
If you’d like to know more about the Swansea Bay City Deal, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send you a copy of the report by Michael O’Carroll and John Pontin outlining the promises and pitfalls of this scheme.