- Lawrence Bailey
Negative impressions aren’t helping
Like a lot of people I was a bit taken aback by a Daily Mail story claiming that Swansea had the worst High Street in Britain.
Of course, this was hyped national tabloid treatment of an item that had earlier appeared in the Evening Post – and while the closure of a pub due to anti-social goings-on is always bad news that doesn’t make our city something akin to Gomorrah.
We have problems and it would be pointless not to recognise that. Yet I can tell you that there a parts of central Cardiff and Bristol which are best avoided.
Nonetheless, it’s understandable that people feel angry about social decline. The impressive level of investment that has gone into upgrading key sites like the Grand Hotel and Urban Village has to be balanced with a recognition that communities are about people.
Public safety must be top of the agenda and I expect the council, police and housing associations will want to be part of the fightback.
The most damaging aspect of the tabloid headlines is that it gives a negative impression just at a time when inward investment is actually on the rise.
This week we read that parcel delivery company DPD is to open a high-profile new facility at Parc Felindre, just off junction 46 of the M4.
The construction press is picking up on national news that contractors Buckingham are to start transformation of the city centre, which includes the new digital arena.
And just to prove that they’re not messing around, a joint Swansea delegation recently showcased regeneration plans at Marché International des Professionnels d'Immobilier (MIPIM for short) – a four-day real estate event attended by around 24,000 international property professionals.
You will probably hear more about this at the City Centre conference next Tuesday, which is being held at the LC, and will look at regeneration in a wider context.
Later the same week, SA1 Waterfront Business Club will be highlighting innovation in design and manufacturing at UWTSD auto-sports centre. (www.sa1wbc.com for details).
Also, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we soon hear something exciting about a resurgent tidal lagoon project.
Selling Swansea Bay to investors is a serious business. It’s a pity that doesn’t seem to matter in London newsrooms.
Wheeling and dealing over Brexit
Last week I wrote that we should expect yet another extension to Brexit. Clever me, although somehow I missed the offer of cross-party talks that accompanied this development.
What I find particularly interesting is how Mrs May no longer feels obliged to put her party’s interests before that of the nation. That said, Labour will be understandably cautious about accepting an olive branch that could yet be used to beat them over the head.
Striving to reach cross-party consensus on a Brexit package that severs EU political ties but keeps trade benefits intact is a big call. It may prove a deal too far for both sides.
But something not often mentioned among the top-level talk about ‘honouring manifesto commitments’ is that neither major party actually achieved a working majority in favour of their election promises.
So, whatever deal is eventually struck (if any), it might still need public validation through the ballot box. Cheers.