LEE Waters, Assembly Member for Llanelli, is set to host a regional summit on the newly proposed Swansea Bay Metro System.
Attended by politicians and businesses from across Neath, Port Talbot, Swansea and Llanelli, the event will focus on the potential economic benefits the scheme could bring. It offers an early opportunity for local employers to feed in their views on the widely-welcomed public transport strategy.
Lee Waters said: “A genuinely joined up public transport offer could be a real boost to local business – bringing in new customers and freeing up our roads for essential commercial traffic. It’ll also mean that new jobs created through schemes like the Swansea Bay City Deal could be within everyone’s reach. But to ensure this potential is met, we need to engage with local employers from the get-go.”
The proposed system is the brainchild of Professor Mark Barry, the man behind the Cardiff and Valleys Metro. His vision is of a public transport network that would see journey times between Swansea and Cardiff cut to just 30 minutes, and would dramatically increase the provision of buses, trains and walking and cycling networks across the region.
David Darkin – President of the Llanelli Chamber of Trade and Commerce – said: “The proposal for local Metro is an ambitious goal that has the potential to be a great boost to our region. Improving connectivity is an excellent opportunity for the business community and I look forward to seeing the further development of the proposals.”
Mr. Barry will be at the event – offering attendees a detailed account of the proposed scheme, before participants are offered the chance to contribute their own ideas. The outcome of discussions held will feature in a formal submission to Welsh Government, who have agreed to look at the potential for the scheme in detail.
Lee Waters added: “I have helped secure a commitment from Welsh Government to fund a study that could turn this idea into reality. I am keen to involve as many people as possible in contributing to this Government blueprint – to ensure we achieve the maximum possible benefit for our community.”
Nia Griffith, Llanelli’s MP, will also be attending the meeting, along with MPs and Assembly Members from across the region. A number of Llanelli councillors, who have already expressed their support for the proposals, will join them.
Nia Griffith said: “Llanelli could certainly benefit from investment in transport in and around the Swansea Bay area, but we need to be in there from the beginning to make sure that we influence decisions and insist on improvements to transport services, not just in Swansea but in Llanelli and right across our area, over to Kidwelly and up to Cross Hands. This is a genuine opportunity for businesses to get involved and have their say on the Swansea Metro scheme. Such a project has the potential to boost the local economy and create jobs, if we make it work for us.”
With the proposed scheme including light rail stops in Bynea and Llangennech, as well as in Llanelli Town, and creating a more regular and reliable service, the impact across the constituency could be significant.
Mr. Waters added: “If we want to encourage people to visit Llanelli regularly and spend money in our shops, we need to do everything we can to make that easier for them. This includes having a well-designed and affordable public transport system.”