CALLS have been made to have a future boss of the Mid Wales Growth deal appointed from the private sector.

A strategic officer will need to be appointed to drive the £165 million growth deal plans by the end of August, and will be somebody who already works at either Ceredigion or Powys Council, a meeting of the Growing Mid Wales Board heard on Thursday, July 23.

Managing director of the Green Man Festival, Fiona Stewart, who is chairman of the strategic economic group that feeds in the view of business to the board, believed a contract to complete certain stages would be better than having someone appointed permanently.

Powys County Council cabinet member for economic development, Councillor James Evans, agreed.

Cllr Evans, said:  “There’s going to be a lot of engagement with private businesses, and sometimes I don’t think local authority officers are good at that.

“I feel they tend to like someone from their own background.

“This person is going to be the front of the growth deal, they are going to need some public relations background.

“I know how local government works, you employ someone and they are there forever and a day until they decide to leave.”

Ceredigion Council leader, Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn said: “In the interim we need to be steady as you go and get us through the heads of terms process as quickly as possible.”

Cllr ap Gwynn added that she didn’t want to be sidetracked by the appointing process if it affected closing the £110 million deal.

Cllr ap Gwynn, added: “We’re coming up against a Welsh Government election which could change things completely and blow us right off course.”

She warned that a future government is not bound by decisions made by previous administrations.

Powys Council’s Paul Griffiths added: “The intention is to appoint on a short term basis, so that we get to the next phase, through the heads of terms to the full deal agreement.”

He explained that continuity was needed as there would be more discussions with both UK and Welsh Government to work out the nitty gritty of the deal.

The growth deal programme management office will be funded jointly with both Ceredigion and Powys County Council chipping in £50,000 each and the Welsh Government matching giving £95,000.

Potentially worth £165 million, the deal is supposed to help drive the Mid-Wales economy forward.

In June, the Strategic Economic Plan and Growth Deal Road Map”, document was jointly presented by Ceredigion and Powys County Council’s to both the Wales and UK Governments.