A cautionary note has been sounded by the head of the South West and Wales office of global real estate specialist Colliers International about the call at the Severn Growth Summit by the Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns MP for the creation of a ‘Western Powerhouse’.
Tim Davies said: “There will be a huge economic stimulus created on both sides of the Severn Estuary when the Severn Crossing tolls are abolished later this year, and it is essential that the benefits created by this catalyst are maximised.
“However, it does not logically follow that areas of two different countries on either side of the Severn Estuary should be effectively bolted together to create a separate marketing entity encompassing Bristol, Cardiff and Newport and called the Western Powerhouse, with the aim of creating a rival the Northern Powerhouse.
“The Norther Powerhouse covers a cohesive area in geographical and cultural terms. The Western Powerhouse that has been proposed by the Welsh Secretary does not.
“I am very much in favour of regional devolution, but I am unconvinced of the benefits of creating an artificial entity containing parts of two very different countries, with different political systems, languages and cultures.
“It would be far more effective for economic growth on each side of the Severn to be separately supported with devolved regional governments that understand the unique needs of their own areas.”