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Present (via Teams)

  • Lesley Griffiths MS (Chair)
  • Rt. Hon. Mark Drakeford MS (part meeting)
  • Mick Antoniw MS
  • Vaughan Gething MS (part meeting)
  • Jane Hutt MS
  • Eluned Morgan MS (part meeting)
  • Hannah Blythyn MS
  • Dawn Bowden MS


  • Lee Waters MS
  • Rebecca Evans MS
  • Jeremy Miles MS
  • Julie Morgan MS
  • Lynne Neagle MS

Leaders of North Wales Local Authorities

  • Cllr Ian Roberts, Flintshire
  • Cllr Mark Pritchard, Wrexham
  • Cllr Charlie McCoubrey, Conwy
  • Cllr Ieuan Williams, Anglesey (Deputising)
  • Cllr Dyfrig Siencyn, Gwynedd
  • Cllr Julian Thompson-Hill, Denbighshire (Deputising)

Other external attendees

  • Peter Parry, Chair of Sport North Wales Partnership Board (item 1)
  • Manon Rees-O’brien, Regional Director Sports North Wales (item 1)
  • Lee Robinson, Development Director Mid, North and Rural Wales, Transport for Wales (item 2)
  • Chris Llewelyn, Chief Executive, WLGA
  • Stephen Jones, WLGA

Welsh Government officials

  • Andrew Goodall, Permanent Secretary
  • Tracey Burke, Director General, EPS
  • Des Clifford, Director General, Office of the First Minister
  • Will Whiteley, Head of Cabinet Division
  • Jane Runeckles, Special Adviser
  • Andrew Johnson, Special Adviser
  • Clare Jenkins, Special Adviser
  • Alex Bevan, Special Adviser
  • Ian Butler, Special Adviser
  • Mitch Theaker, Special Adviser
  • Christopher Morgan, Head of Cabinet Secretariat 
  • Damian Roche, Cabinet Secretariat (minutes)
  • Huw Llewellyn Davies, Cabinet Secretariat (minutes)
  • Bryn Richards, Head of Regional Planning Officer North
  • Heledd Cressey, Senior Regional Planning Officer North
  • Rob Kent-Smith, Deputy Director Transport Strategy and Policy
  • Neil Welch, Head of Sport & Leisure

Item 1: Sport North Wales – establishment of North Wales Regional Sport Partnerships

1.1 The Minister for North Wales introduced the item, which set out the aims of Sport North Wales, a partnership of 13 organisations engaged to respond to the health inequalities and regional challenges faced in North Wales.

1.2 The minister invited Manon Rees-O’brien, Regional Director, Sport North Wales, and the Chair, Peter Parry, to provide an update on progress and the next phase of work.

1.3 It was noted this was the first regional sports partnership to be established in Wales, which would be responsible for sport investment in the region, based on local circumstances and the needs of communities to adopt a healthy lifestyle or regular physical activity.

1.4 Taking advantage of the natural resources evident in North Wales would be part of the plans, including Snowdonia National Park Authority in developing the offering to the public, as walking and being outdoors were linked with greater wellbeing. This had been a positive from the pandemic as more people had explored their local surroundings.

1.5 Providing low cost, inclusive, accessible opportunities for all would be a strong focus of the partnership, bringing together different interventions to create a new narrative around sport, health and wellbeing.

1.6 Broadening access to all would be vital and the current engagement phase would aim to listen to all partners, and support people to come up with novel ways to engage those least likely to participate in physical activity.

1.7 The Sub-Committee noted the investment of £250,000 secured through the Welsh Government’s Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales programme and noted plans to invest this in developing services and facilities that would benefit all users.

1.8 The costs of running clubs and facilities was raised as a barrier to continuing traditional clubs, such as those providing football, rugby and boxing and whilst it was noted those would continue to be supported, the programme would also include wider community involvement.

1.9 The funding agreed by Sport Wales for a 3 year period, in principle, was welcomed, which would provide a degree of security for the staff involved.

1.10 The Sub-Committee welcomed the progress being made in this innovative area of work, and valued its ongoing contribution to a healthier living Wales.

Item 2: Transport for Wales update

2.1 The Minister for North Wales introduced the item and welcomed Lee Robinson from Transport for Wales to the meeting.

2.2 It was noted that Transport for Wales were finalising their corporate strategy and were attempting to restore pre-covid timetables on certain lines following storm damage. They were working to expand train services over the next 2 years.

2.3 Zero emission bus services had launched in Ruthin, and further bus services including Fflecsi Llyn and Sherpa’r Wyddfa would be launching in April. Bus Cymru was due to launch in April/May and the T2 service between Bangor and Aberystwyth was out for tender in October. Data on levels of customer satisfaction with the Fflecsi service would be provided by TfW once available.

2.4 An update was provided on the North Wales Metro programme and active travel, including progress on integrated public transport.

2.5 Issues were raised with progress of electrification of the North Wales main line and rolling stock provision. There were concerns regarding unfavourable comparisons when interchanging from already electrified routes and as to the speed and process for replacing and refurbishing rolling stock. The need for further rolling stock to prevent service reduction due to diversion of rolling stock for events elsewhere was raised.

2.6 It was queried as to how the social value of local travel routes and links with Mid Wales would be factored into future development.

2.7 Progress on active travel was welcomed but it was questioned whether the reasons for higher car use across the region were fully understood. It was noted that TfW were further work with Gwynedd Council in relation to Llanbedr, following the roads review announcement.

Item 3: Key Issues from LA leaders

3.1 The North Wales Minister asked Leaders for any items of particular concern across the region at present.

3.2 There were difficulties with waiting times at Wrexham Maelor, with the ambulance service under particular strain. It was noted the pandemic was far from over, with case rates the highest they had ever been and with potential to increase further. Whilst the excellent work carried out by all partners in delivering the vaccine rollout had lessened the seriousness of illness for many, coupled with the latest strain being less severe, there was still a knock on impact for services in terms of infection control.

3.3 The issues with delayed transfers of care were acknowledged and all partners were urged to work together to rectify the situation. The situation with vascular services and mental health support provided by Betsi Cadwaladr UHB were also being closely monitored. 

3.4 An update was requested on the LDP work in Wrexham and other road projects across North Wales, including the A483 Wrexham Gateway, and this would be provided in writing.

3.5 Wrexham’s shortlisting for City of Culture 2025 was welcomed by the Leaders.

3.6 The Minister for Economy’s announcement in relation to the Space Strategy for Wales was welcomed, particularly the prominence given to Llanbedr airfield. Nevertheless, access to the site remains a concern and a written response to Gwynedd’s report was requested. This would be followed up.

3.7 The work on establishing a Border Control Post in Holyhead was raised and it was noted the Government was currently chasing Defra for a definitive answer on whether full import checks would need to be carried out from 1 July 2022. This timescale was particularly challenging given the complexity of the work required to be ready by this date.

3.8 The Minister for North Wales concluded the meeting by thanking all current serving Local Authority Leaders for their outstanding contributions during the pandemic.

3.9 The next meeting would be scheduled in July.

Cabinet Secretariat
March 2022