Newport Convention Centre

This month, Cardiff Councillors have been asked to initiate negotiations with prospective developers in regard to plans for an international convention centre in the city in order to ‘Test the Market’. One of the reasons for these consultations is that Bristol has already begun working on a rival development and Wales, once again, has found itself lagging behind its English counterparts.

Coverage of this announcement has been sprawled across Welsh media outlets highlighting all of the proposed sites in Cardiff. Yet, to my knowledge, not a single outlet has mentioned one of the other main contenders in this race.

And that contender is Newport.

Is it any wonder that many people across Wales feel there is a disproportionate bias towards Cardiff when certain publicly-funded media outlets seem to always focus on Cardiff-centric areas of much wider stories?

I have been a long-time supporter of the development of a convention centre between Newport and Chepstow, so I was disappointed to see part of my region side-lined in this way. A project of this scale would help bring thousands of jobs to Newport and aid in increasing the city’s profile on a national and international stage.

In addition, as one of my constituents rightly pointed out on Facebook, the Newport option at the Celtic Manor site would not cost the taxpayer a single penny. Instead, investment would come from a successful entrepreneur who already has a track record of success in this area.

Just a small amount of research into Welsh Labour’s business acumen makes for some very bleak reading… a multitude of schemes that have quickly turned into expensive white elephants, littered with poor management and financial irregularities. Most recently, a Freedom of Information request revealed that the Welsh Labour Government bought Cardiff Airport without even having a business plan to take it forward - but not before spending over £1 million on consultancy fees!

Personally, I would rather see a businessman with proven skills at the helm of this job, not politicians.

I firmly believe that the Welsh Government has a duty to support regional solutions outside of the capital city, instead of consistently defaulting to the ‘easier’ option on the doorstep of the National Assembly. I hope that the Government (and other media outlets) take note of this and provide equal consideration/coverage in the future.