A £110 million economic transformation programme for Powys has hit a new phase.

One councillor said "now the exciting stuff comes into play" as Powys Council's cabinet gave its blessing to the Mid Wales Growth Deal portfolio business case, which is the key to unlocking a deal that could transform the region’s economy.

The final deal agreement for the £110 million funding injection could be signed off by Christmas, after Powys Council signed off the portfolio business case.

Finance portfolio holder, Cllr Aled Davies said: “We’ve established a strong base camp and now the really exciting stuff comes in to play, when we’re looking at opportunities that present themselves.

“I see it as a catalyst for growing the economy in Mid-Wales, there’s exciting times ahead.”

The documentation includes a number of possible projects in both Powys and Ceredigion that could be invested in, including a £24.2 million "immersive learning experience" for the Centre of Alternative Technology an estimated £12.7 million for an Elan Valley Lakes project, and £24.4 million to restore the Montgomery Canal for tourism and leisure.

But it was stressed at the meeting that it was still possible for other ideas to be proposed and make their way into the deal.

County Times: Kayakers enjoying the Montgomery Canal Triathlon on September 4, 2021. Picture by Anwen Parry/County Times

Director of environment and economy, Nigel Brinn said: “Agreeing the portfolio business case today does not guarantee funding for these initial set of programmes/projects.

“It signifies that these options are to be developed further at the cost and risk of the proposers – and that the GMW Board will review the detail of the proposals as part of their business case development.

“Other projects can be added to the portfolio at a later date.”

Mr Brinn explained that projects would come under the broad themes of:  applied research and innovation, agriculture, food and drink, strengthening  tourism, digital, and supporting enterprise.

During the last year there have been calls for councillors outside the cabinets of both authorities to be involved with the deal.

The Welsh and UK Government believe the growth deal has an “important part” to play in the recovery phase of the economy, after Covid-19.

In October 2019 the UK Government announced a £55 million injection of funding, that was to be spread over 15 years. In March this timescale was shortened to 10 years.

The Welsh Government will match the £55million.

It is thought that the deal could see investment of between £280 million and £400million over the next 10-15 years, which could create 1,100 jobs.