Cardiff has been the big winner of devolution in Wales with the challenge now to spread its prosperity across the wider city region, says Chris Sutton, lead director at JLL Cardiff as the leading property consultancy marks its 125th anniversary in the city.
Chris Sutton says the electrification of the Great Western Mainline and the potential of the Metro links into the Valleys, not forgetting the importance of delivering the M4 ‘Black Route’ – the route to market for two thirds of the Welsh economy – now provide an opportunity to spread prosperity further afield.
Chris Sutton is due to speak at a Wales CBI lunch in Cardiff today (October 8) alongside John Cridland, director-general of the CBI. The visit marks John Cridland’s last official visit to Wales before he stands down from the role at the end of the year.
The lunch at Millennium Centre in the heart of Cardiff Bay is sponsored by JLL Cardiff, which marks its 125th anniversary in the city this year.
John Cridland, CBI Director-General said:
“Cardiff has been transformed in the years that I have been coming here, with JLL a leading light among many employers taking advantage of what the city has to offer, creating jobs and growth.
“The next five years will be about producing better-paid jobs, making firms more productive and taking our recovery global. Already, we’re seeing some encouraging signs in Wales and the wider UK, so we must build on this.
“Devolution can be an opportunity for local solutions that work, but we must also respect the crown jewel of our United Economic Kingdom: our internal market.”
In his speech today, Chris Sutton, who is the chair of CBI Wales, will say: “There has been a monumental shift in Wales as the tools to change our economy – or the operators of those tools – are no longer at a distant capital some 200 miles away.”
He adds: “The big winner of devolution in Wales has, arguably, been Cardiff which has taken the opportunity to grow into a confident and vibrant capital city.
“Cardiff is institutionally acceptable to UK and overseas investors. The announcement last month that Legal & General were to become long term investors in the Central Square development is testament to this.
“The focus upon cities as drivers of economic growth is a global trend and the challenge is to spread their prosperity through better infrastructure and stronger governance, in our case within the city regions of Cardiff and Swansea.”
Chris Sutton will also shine a spotlight on Cardiff Bay, which is one of the areas of the city that has seen the most significant change since Messrs Powell & Powell, which later became JLL Cardiff, set up a firm of surveyors in 1890.
He will chart the highs and the lows of Cardiff Bay over the last 125 years, from its days as the greatest coal exporting port in the world to south Cardiff’s fall to “rock bottom” by the 1980s in the face of the decline of coal, as well as its transformation over the past 25 years.
Chris Sutton says: “The past 25 years has seen a major transformation with investment in infrastructure, the creation of a vibrant inner harbour and an environment that was the natural choice for the modern, forward-looking buildings around us: the Senedd, our seat of government and the Millennium Centre.”