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Chester may be linked to North Wales in 'city region'

IDENTIFYING Wrexham, Deeside and Chester as a ‘city region’ would create thousands of jobs and elevate the economy.

On a visit to North East Wales Dr Elizabeth Haywood, chair of the City Regions Task and Finish Group, said the area could be chosen because of it’s ‘critical mass’ of population and businesses.

She added the A55 corridor was another possible target for Business Minister Edwina Hart, but felt the North Wales location with the best chance of becoming a ‘city region’ was around Wrexham.

Mrs Hart set-up the group to discover whether a more regional approach to economic development and planning would be beneficial, considering the key financial development opportunities and benefits. Among the expert panel, which will finish its consultation process on April 18, is Glyndwr University vice chancellor Mike Scott.

Dr Haywood, director of the South East Wales Economic Forum and former director of CBI Wales, spoke ahead of meeting with the North East Wales Economic Forum.

She said: “The reason we are looking at this area of North Wales is because of the critical mass; we are looking at it purely from an economic perspective, searching for evidence of how becoming a city region would benefit the economy.

“It’s not about going out and choosing a region, it’s seeing whether there is a need for them, whether the approach to business should change, and how we can make better use and encourage future economic growth.”

Dr Haywood felt moving to a city model would be a positive step, creating jobs and more inward investment.