THE leader of the opposition in Swansea has again questioned why a business park on the outskirts of the city doesn’t have more companies based there.
Cllr Chris Holley was speaking about Parc Felindre, near junction 46 of the M4, after hundreds of jobs were announced in succession for two sites in Ebbw Vale.
Delivery firm DPD relocated to Parc Felindre a couple of years ago, but the remaining plots at the 40-acre site are empty despite substantial public sector investment and marketing.
Last week a new glass bottle manufacturing and recycling plant was confirmed for Ebbw Vale. It is expected to create around 600 jobs when fully operational. And bosses of a battery manufacturing plant said last month that 105 jobs would be created in the Blaenau Gwent town, thanks to a Welsh Government grant.
Cllr Holley asked at a council scrutiny meeting why Parc Felindre was missing out, and was told that the site was being marketed.
“Since the (Felindre) steel works was closed and demolished, tens of millions of pounds have been spent on Felindre, to no avail,” said Cllr Holley.
“There is a (DPD) warehouse on the site, which was relocated, but that’s it. We need the type of investment that Ebbw Vale has had.”
The Swansea Liberal Democrat leader called on the area’s MPs and MSs to bring the jobs and investment welcomed by Cardiff and now Ebbw Vale to Parc Felindre.
A Welsh Government spokesman said it and Swansea Council had jointly developed Parc Felindre to attract high-quality employment opportunities.
He said: “Attracting this type of development is challenging, particularly in testing economic circumstances, but following the creation of 12 serviced development plots, we and our partners at Swansea Council are actively marketing the site with the aim of attracting more developers and occupiers.”
Cllr Andrea Lewis, the deputy leader of Swansea Council, said: “The Labour administration has secured over £1 billion of investment for Swansea and much of that is focused on regenerating and re-purposing our city and town centres, which is hugely important as we come out of the pandemic.
“Swansea is leading Wales’s jobs recovery and is due to be one of the fastest growing areas of the UK this year. More announcements on inward investment will be made shortly.”
She claimed that making Swansea fit for the 21st century was something the Lib-Dem’s “dramatically failed to do” during their eight years in office up to 2012.
Cllr Holley has questioned Parc Felindre’s lack of economic activity previously.
At a council meeting last September he said he felt “whatever marketing has been done is incredibly poor”.
Council officers who attended the meeting said a review of the Parc Felindre marketing strategy was taking place, and that the business park was too small for large-scale battery plants.
One officer said: “Whenever we have an inquiry into Wales, Felindre is always part of that discussion.”
In 2018 it emerged that £36 million had been spent preparing Parc Felindre for use.
The previous tinplate works closed there in 1989, and was demolished seven years later.