THE business plan for implementing the £1.229billion City Deal project has been approved by the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

Councillors voted unanimously last Wednesday (March 28) to sign-off the proposals, which have since gained ratification from all 10 local authorities invested in the project.

The plan will take the City Deal past its first review, scheduled for the end of 2020.

Advocating that the proposals be approved, council leader John Thomas described the business plan as being "high level and visionary" while deliberately being flexible enough to deal with new challenges.

The principles of the City Deal – a joint agreement between south Wales councils designed to spread investment benefits into the areas surrounding Cardiff – were formally accepted by the council in March 2017.

The scheme aims to invest £734million into the development of the long-awaited South Wales Metro, while an additional £495million is also being made available for other projects over the next 25 years.

Seconding the proposals, Labour leader on the council Neil Moore – who was council leader when the Deal was first adopted – said he had "absolutely no doubt that this is important for this council and for the region."

Approval of the business plan was also supported by Llantwit First leader Gwyn John, but Plaid Cymru leader Ian Johnson expressed reservations before giving his backing.

Cllr Johnson reminded the chamber that Plaid councillors had voted against the terms of the original deal last year, saying he had concerns that proposals had gone before the council just a few months before local elections.

And he added that he remained unsure about how significant an impact the City Deal would have, but did agree to back the plan.

"I think it’s important that we perhaps reign in the spin and the rhetoric about what’s actually a relatively small amount of long term money," said Cllr Johnson.

"That’s not to disagree with the concept and the excellent work that is going on, but to suggest that this solves all our problems is, I think, a little bit mistaken.

"We have lots of concerns and lots of questions, but we will be supporting this tonight."

The first project of the City Deal's investment programme has seen around 500 jobs created at a semiconductor cluster in Newport.