Marches and Mid Wales partnerships to build closer relationship
Transport links, cross-border supply chains and the skills gap were among some of the key issues debated at a meeting aimed at building closer working relationships between the Marches and Mid Wales.
The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership and Growing Mid Wales Partnership, both public and private sector organisations aiming to build their regional economies, met for talks at Ludlow Racecourse.
Around 50 delegates, including representatives from councils including Powys, Ceredigion, Shropshire, Herefordshire and Telford & Wrekin as well as private sector business leaders, university, and UK and Welsh Government representatives, heard about the current economic challenges facing each region.
Chairman of the Marches LEP Graham Wynn OBE said: “We were delighted to invite Growing Mid Wales to discuss not only the barriers to economic growth both regions face, but also the national changes which will shape the economic landscape in the coming years, including Brexit.
“What we wanted to do is explore where we have challenges, and opportunities in common – to see where we may be able to collaborate for the benefit of the whole area. Our discussions were wide-ranging, looking at transport, manufacturing, where we have key strengths in business sectors in common, such as food and drink manufacturing and agri-tech.”
Councillor Barry Thomas, Chair of Growing Mid Wales and Leader of Powys County Council, said: “We’d like to thank the Marches LEP for organising what was an extremely positive meeting and a chance to learn more about our neighbouring region.
“We are a fairly young partnership with real ambition to grow productivity, innovation and job creation across Mid Wales.
“Our discussions identified areas where we can develop a closer working relationship, and some important work on transport routes between our regions is already under way. “
The Growing Mid Wales Partnership was supported at the event by the Mid Wales Regional Engagement Team, which are part-funded by European Structural and Investment Funds through the Welsh Government.
The meeting also heard from Dr David Llewellyn, Vice Chancellor, Harper Adams University with an overview of the Marches agritech sector and from Chris Thomas, Pro Vice Chancellor (Research), Aberystwyth University on the region’s bio-agritech sector.