Swansea makes objections clear over 'Cardiff' branding idea
A PROPOSAL to rename Swansea as Cardiff, in order the promote the regions locally, has been firmly rejected by people living in Wales's second city.
The suggestion, from Wales's first billionaire, was broadcast in an interview for the Week In Week Out programme on BBC Wales last night.
Sir Terry Matthews, who admitted his idea would be controversial, said: "If I was king, I would go [from] Swansea to Newport and I'd circle it and include the valleys. I'd say that's Cardiff."
But perhaps predictably, the proposal has met with a muted response in Swansea.
Tony McGetrick, chair of Tourism Swansea Bay, said: "It is an interesting philosophy, and I can see the benefit for Newport, as the area suits the Cardiff model more.
"It still has quite an industrial background there, and it is only 15 miles from Cardiff.
"But I think it would be pushing it for Swansea.
"You have to go through a couple of counties first, and Cardiff is more about the city centre experience, where in Swansea we have leisure.
"Swansea's profile has never been higher either, particularly with the success of the Swans.
"With the possibility of Cardiff reaching the Premier League, I'm not sure how well the idea of a Cardiff Cardiff team and a Cardiff Swansea team would go down!"
Swansea's Business Improvement District, which has worked hard to promote the city centre, was also sceptical about the proposal.
Its chief executive Russell Greenslade said: "'I am sure Sir Terry Matthews is correct in what he says in that his idea would be controversial.
"His comments seem more focused on the Newport/Valleys region coming under Cardiff though, rather than Swansea.
"Interesting as the comments may be, we remain focused on working collaboratively to make Swansea city centre a better place to live, shop, visit, work and do business and look forward to hearing more regarding the Welsh Government regional projects in due course."
A Swansea University graduate, Newport-born Sir Terry claimed South East Wales should promote itself to the world as "Cardiff, the brand".
But Peter Jones, chairman of Swansea futures, said: "He seems to be unaware of what is going on in the region.
"There is a huge amount going on, which I believe can be the catalyst to regeneration, such as the university science innovation in Fabian Way, which will have huge regional benefits.
"There will be significant partnerships as well, with Tata and Rolls Royce, and the potential creation of up to 10,000 jobs."
Meanwhile, the response from readers of the Evening Post website was more robust.
Abertawejack wrote: "Swansea will always be another city in Wales, we have our own identity but alas not the funding or (sometimes) respect from Cardiff Bay AMs, yet we are holding our own here. Investment is indeed, starting to wake up around our city."
AndyJenkins84 added: "I see what he's saying in regards to building on particular strong brands, and this may help Newport, but he's thinking too small if he thinks that pretty much all of South Wales should come under the Cardiff brand. The best way to boost the economy is to develop multiple 'brands' — Cardiff and Swansea as the twin key players in South Wales would be stronger (and make more sense) than a single brand."
And clarysage50 added: "Who on earth is this joker? Is he unwell? "Obviously he is someone who appears uneducated in the region's history!"
The idea comes as the Welsh Government examines how a South East Wales city-region might operate.
Admitting his idea would be controversial, Sir Terry, who was speaking from his corporate headquarters in Ottawa, Canada, said: "If Newport was a region of Cardiff it would do better economically. "Many people won't like these words but I believe this started a long time ago — size matters."