Transforming economic and spatial planning
Plaid Cymru has a transformational vision for Welsh economic development and investment, based on building, connecting and empowering the nation and all of our communities. Our priority is to address the inequalities between the poorer and richer parts of the country.
Wales’ current strategic planning regions are a response to Westminster priorities, including the UK Government’s City and Growth Deals and Shared Prosperity funds. They write off three-quarters of Wales in terms of economic and cultural viability and continue to make our future dependent on the crumbs off somebody else’s table, rather than serving as a vehicle to connect our communities north and south, east and west, and realise the potential of our own country.
Our alternative vision is a plan for the whole of Wales to prosper, focused on:
- Distributing wealth, power, and investment equitably across the whole of Wales by targeting intervention to the areas in most need.
- Improving connectivity from north to south as well as east to west.
- Making Wrexham the financial capital of Wales, building on its role as home for the Development Bank of Wales. We would site the headquarters of Prosperity Wales, our new economic development agency, in Wrexham, as well as seeking to attract other new institutions such as a Community Bank.
- Unlocking the sustainable development potential of the whole of our diverse nation.
These priorities do not mean we will turn our backs on progress that has been made by the individual projects advanced successfully by local authorities with the UK Government’s City and Growth Deals. However, we will align them with the need to spread investment and prosperity more equitably across Wales as a whole.
To facilitate the delivery of our alternative vision, Plaid Cymru believes that Wales’ future governance should continue to involve local, regional and national tiers in decision making and delivery at the correct levels and with clear democratic accountability to the people. To this end, we will replace Labour’s four planning regions and their corresponding undemocratic Corporate Joint Committees with six strategic regions to spread prosperity equitably across the country.
We would create a dedicated Office for Regional Development and Investment located in the First Minister’s Department to lead regional development across government. We would provide funding and dedicated economic organisations for the southern Valleys and the western coast, a region we call Arfor.
We would make the Valleys and the Arfor region the default location for the majority of new public bodies as well as the relocation of existing jobs currently located in the capital. In addition, we would withdraw the flawed National Development Framework and issue a revised national development plan based on our new spatial planning map. In addition to the Arfor and the Cymoedd regions, this has regions for the north-east, central Wales, for Swansea Bay, and for south-east Wales, the Cardiff City Region. Delivery for these regions will be the responsibility of Prosperity Wales and no part of Wales will be left out.