City region name should include Cardiff, says board
THE city region for South Wales East should include Cardiff in its name.
That’s according to the South East Wales City Region board, with its chairman Roger Lewis saying Cardiff Capital Region would be more easily recognisable to people around the world.
But scepticism has been expressed in Newport with some concerned it could draw the focus to the capital away from the rest of the region.
One board member – Newport Labour council leader Bob Bright – said the name wasn’t set in stone despite being agreed by the board.
It is hoped that the Welsh Government backed initiative will boost economic co-operation over a region that stretches across South East Wales – helping it compete with other city regions across Europe.
Mr Lewis said the city region’s board chose Cardiff “because it clearly identifies the part of Wales in which it is located and is recognisable to an international audience”.
He said: “Capital differentiates us from other city regions that do not have the advantage of including a capital city, and region emphasises wider regional participation and inclusivity of surrounding urban and rural areas.”
But Bob Bright, a member of the city region board and Newport council leader, said the “suggested name is not set in stone".
“We will wait to see what the public make of it. However, it was felt using Cardiff as the marker in the name would give the region visibility and identity as well as give an indication of its size,” he added.
Conservative councillor Matthew Evans, former Newport council leader and leader of the opposition, said that although he understood the regional concept, he wasn’t particularly impressed with the name.
He said: “Newport has got its own unique identity. We should be fiercely proud to talk about the city. A subdivision of Cardiff is not my preferred choice.”
Labour city councillor Paul Hannon, who is chairman of the authority’s planning committee, he feared the word Cardiff would emphasise the capital as the region’s focus.
“The whole point of having a region is that the sum of the parts is greater than the whole,” he said.
Chris Evans, Newport councillor for Rogerstone, said the name“does indicate Newport could, if we’re not careful, get swallowed up by Cardiff”.
Robin Hall, managing director of Newport independent financial advisors Kymin, said it was a positive move and would make the region more identifiable.
But he warned: “Will this benefit the rest of the South East Wales region or is it all just going to be swallowed up by Cardiff?
Meanwhile Hadyn Thomas, director of city chartered surveyors Hutchings & Thomas, said only time will tell if the theory behind the name change is successful.
He said “To those outside the capital , this renaming may lead you to believe that the spotlight will again be narrowed to focus only on the City of Cardiff itself.”
The board, chaired by WRU chief executive Roger Lewis and established by the Welsh Government in November, includes Gwent council leaders Bob Bright, Bob Wellington, from Torfaen, and Peter Fox, from Monmouthshire.
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