Dywedodd pobl leol wrthyf eu bod yn ofni y byddai buddsoddiad drwy’r porthladd rhydd a seilwaith niwclear newydd posibl yn arwain at bobl yn dod i mewn i’r ynys i hawlio’r swyddi hynny ac ni fyddai pobl leol yn elwa.
Rwyf wedi gwrando ac wedi gweithredu.
Byddaf yn sicrhau y bydd rhai sy’n buddsoddi yn ein Porthladd Rhydd ar Ynys Môn neu yn Wylfa yn tanysgrifio i fy ymgyrch ‘Swyddi Lleol i Bobl Leol’
Local people told me they feared that investment through the freeport and a possible new nuclear plant would lead to people coming to the island for the jobs and that local people might not benefit.
I have listened and I have acted.
I will ensure that those who invest in our Anglesey Freeport or at Wylfa will sign up to my ‘Local Jobs for Local People’ campaign.
I agree that the new freeport I helped secure, that our £17 million from the UK Government Levelling Up Fund and my campaign to bring new nuclear to Wylfa will mean much less if islanders, their children and their grandchildren do not receive a share of the jobs they will bring.
Of course, some workers will have to come onto the island but I believe it needs to be at the forefront of companies’ recruitment policies that islanders are given the opportunity to have the high paid jobs that will allow them to stay here on Ynys Môn, raise their families and protect our Welsh language.
I speak and meet so many companies who are interested in investing here as I drive jobs and investment as the island’s MP. Last week I took the nuclear company Newcleo around the Island. I always make the case that they will need to recruit locally but from now on I will be asking them to publicly commit to doing so whenever it is possible.
We have already seen how this can work with Stena Line committing to using local companies in the ground clearance and demolition of the old Anglesey Aluminum site for their Eco Park.
The £17 million Levelling Up money is also starting to transform Holyhead alongside match funding. Island Bakes, Môn Ice, Cuffed-in Coffee and Anglesey Hamper Company will take up residence in the Newry shelters once they are refurbished.
These locally based companies will prioritise employing local people. Something I commend them for.
Back in January the UK Government announced that it had selected Ynys Môn’s bid for “Holyhead: A culture and heritage driven transformation” as one if its Levelling Up projects.
This was a fantastic accolade for the project team that worked on this major town regeneration bid – including Anglesey Council, Holyhead Town Council, Môn CF, the Ucheldre Centre and the Diocese of Bangor on behalf of St Cybi’s Church.
I was delighted to sponsor and support the bid before, during and after the assessment process – raising the importance of this bid by speaking in the House of Commons, inviting Ministers to see Holyhead for themselves and holding meetings with colleagues from the Department for Levelling Up.
The UK Government grant of £17m plus match funding from other sources, means that the overall project will see around £22.5m invested in regenerating the largest and most visited town on Ynys Môn.
As with all large projects, there appears on the surface to have been little change since the announcement in January. However, I can assure you that behind the scenes there has been a flurry of activity across all the elements that make up the project. Buildings have been purchased, plans created, proposals approved and we are now starting to see changes taking place in the town.
Last week, works began on St Cybi’s Church with access through the church grounds blocked for health and safety reasons whilst excavation work takes place. The plans for the Church include turning Holyhead’s first ever school – Eglwys y Bedd – into a social enterprise café. This would build on their Gweldd Fawr Surplus Food initiative by taking surplus food and turning it into healthy meals whilst training local people.
Last week we also received confirmation of the businesses that will take up residence in the Newry shelters once they are refurbished. Following an Expression of Interest process, Island Bakes, Môn Ice, Cuffed-in Coffee and Anglesey Hamper Company have been successful in securing the new retail kiosks.
All of these businesses are locally based – three in Holyhead and one in Bryngwran – and all will continue to prioritise employing local people. The kiosks will be a key part of delivering enhancements to Holyhead. They will provide yet another reason for people to enjoy the harbour area as part of a visit to the town.
Newry is a particularly important part of the town’s offering to over 50,000 cruise passengers who visit the port annually as well as the thousands of others who visit Ynys Môn annually. With the Breakwater Park – just a stone’s throw away - receiving an estimated 100,000 visitors annually, there is no doubt that a good retail and food offering on the Newry will go down a treat with locals and visitors alike.
I spoke to the owners of the businesses who will be taking on the kiosks to find out how they feel and what their plans are.
Mike Munro has been trading from his ice cream van along Newry beach for the past three years and he told me:
“I am extremely excited and grateful for the opportunity the shelter transformation will provide for Môn Ice and for the town of Holyhead.
“Being selected for a kiosk will mean that I can expand my business because I can deploy my van at other sites and I will be able to have longer opening hours on Newry. This means that I can create more jobs for local people. I will also continue to use local businesses to equip both the kiosk and the van.
“I already know that the demand on Newry is significant and the kiosk will allow me to expand my product range to meet that demand. I have so many exciting ideas that I cannot wait to introduce to Holyhead – please keep an eye on my Facebook page (Môn Ice) for updates!”
From chilly ice creams to hot coffee, we all know that the weather conditions in Holyhead mean we will need both! Kristian Cuffin – the entrepreneur responsible for Cuffed-In Coffee – said:
“The opportunities coming into Holyhead now are just fantastic for both start-ups and existing entrepreneurs.
“We are delighted to have been successful in securing one of the Newry shelters which are being refurbished under the levelling up scheme.
“This allows us to expand our business operations further, creating two new full-time jobs along with another two part time positions.
“The Newry shelters are an iconic part of Holyhead and we are thrilled to be front and centre of their redevelopment. We look forward to delivering a brand new quality establishment which will meet the needs of both locals and visitors.”
You always need a nice piece of cake to go with your Cuffed-In coffee and Island Bakes will be taking one of the kiosks to provide just that. Owner Vicky Duffy told me just how thrilled she is:
“The project is going to have a huge impact on the area creating more jobs for local people and allowing four small businesses to expand. This in turn will have a knock-on effect across the wider community as we all use as much locally sourced produce as possible.
“I’m really grateful to Virginia, Holyhead Town Council and the county council for the work they have put in to secure the LUF, and I’m ecstatic that Island Bakes will be part of it.
“I’m looking forward to welcoming local people and visitors from around the world, and playing a part in getting the area thriving again.”
Rachel Williams who owns the brilliant Anglesey Hamper Company based at one of the units next to the Iowerth Arms in Bryngwryn added:
"The addition of a kiosk to our business, Anglesey Hamper Company, not only expands our reach and product offerings but also creates local job opportunities. We are committed to supporting our community and are excited about the positive impact this kiosk will have on our business and local employment."
I am truly excited to see already-successful local businesses being selected to take the Newry kiosks and I cannot wait to see them open for business next spring.
This is just the start of Ynys Môn’s economic renaissance. Whilst Holyhead town centre will see yet more development from the Levelling Up Fund in the coming months, Anglesey Freeport continues to develop behind the scenes.
We have already seen our first Freeport success with the arrival of Westinghouse at M-SParc and an array of businesses continue to show interest in setting up on Ynys Môn under the Freeport banner.
Holyhead again will be the first place to really see the impact of Anglesey Freeport but this time it will be something leaving rather than something arriving! Plans have been submitted to Anglesey Council to approve the demolition of the old Anglesey Aluminium chimney.
The chimney has been a major feature of the Ynys Cybi landscape for decades and I know that many of us will have mixed feelings about losing it. However, it is the first truly visible sign of progress on the old Anglesey Aluminium site.
If you would like to know more about our Anglesey Freeport please watch a recording of the Freeport Live event I held last week on my Facebook page /VirginiaCrosbieMP or visit my website virginiacrosbie.co.uk and sign up for my next Freeport Seminar at M-SParc on Friday 24 November.
My next Anglesey Day in Westminster is Wednesday 22 November 2-4pm in the Jubilee Room. All are welcome. Please email me for details and an invitation.