Investing in Barry

Barry is the largest town in Wales. The administrative centre of the Vale of Glamorgan, it developed rapidly in the late 19th and early 20th Century.


The port of Barry was a key exporter of up to 11 million tonnes of coal in the early 20th Century with strong rail links to and from the South Wales Valleys. This strong industrial and commercial past became the foundations for the town’s modern existence.


Today Barry is a town of over 47,000 people and has many strengths and opportunities. These include a scenic coastal setting, an extensive dockland area situated between the town centre and its seaside resort and beaches, a railway running through the heart of the town, close proximity to the capital city in the east and Wales' only International Airport to the west.


Residents have easy access to country parks, a selection of beaches (including the award-winning Whitmore Bay on Barry Island) and a choice of shopping centres from the main centre in Holton Road to High Street in the west end of the town. The Vale of Glamorgan Heritage Coast is only a short drive away, as is the rich and diverse rural hinterland of the Vale of Glamorgan.


Barry is fast becoming the town of choice for national film makers. Casualty, Dr Who, The Sarah Jane Adventures, Gavin & Stacey and Being Human have all been filmed in and around Barry.


The recent designation of Barry as a Regeneration Area will give confidence to key partners and provide a focus for the securing of investment to deliver real economic and social benefits to the town.


Facts and Figures

  •  Access

    Barry town is easily accessible for those travelling from Newport, Cardiff and Swansea and further afield by road, rail and air. It is approximately 20 minutes drive from Junction 33 of the M4 (11 miles), and has the added benefit of being located less than five miles from Cardiff Airport (journey time approximately 12 minutes), which may be an important consideration for companies who have offices further afield.


    Barry town is also well served by rail links and bus services for those who wish to use public transport to commute to work. There are excellent rail connections between Barry and Cardiff (four journeys per peak hour). Barry is in an enviable position, boasting four railway stations within the town which means that all areas of the town are easily accessible.

  •  Population and Housing
    The Office for National Statistics reported in 2009 that 124,600 people live in the Vale of Glamorgan. Almost 50,000 of this number are concentrated in Barry town. It is anticipated that the population of the Vale will increase by another circa 9,000 over the next decade. Once the town’s population figure exceeds the 50,000 mark many multiple retailers and key inward investors will become further attracted to the town and consider it as a serious opportunity for further investment. Recent new housing has been focused in Barry, Penarth and Rhoose and further new housing developments are planned within Barry and in adjoining Rhoose. The Waterfront Quays development aims to build a further 2000 new homes within the town. There are also opportunities at other sites for around 70 or so new homes and other developments are being progressed.
  •  Education

    The Vale of Glamorgan has excellent schools. Secondary School Performance Tables produced by the Welsh Assembly Government indicate that in comparison to Wales as a whole, pupils in the Vale of Glamorgan achieve above average results in both GCSE and A-Level / AS equivalent or GNVQ equivalent examinations, as can be seen below:


      Vale of Glamorgan (%) Wales (%)
     At least one GCSE grade A* - G 94 92
     At least five GCSE’s grade A* - G 90 85
     At least five GCSE’s grade A* - C 58 49


    In addition, the Vale of Glamorgan’s Average Wider Point Score at Key Stage 4 was the highest in Wales and as illustrated in the chart overleaf, the school performance and education attainment within the Vale of Glamorgan is in an enviable position when compared with the remainder of Wales. The same level of performance applies at Advanced Level with 65% of pupils in the Vale attaining at least two grades A-C (or equivalent) compared with 61% across Wales.


    An analysis of year 12/13 pupils in 2009 (a cohort of 708) demonstrated that 77.4% remained in full time education with the majority progressing to higher education, an increase on the previous year. 10.6% entered the labour market with the vast majority going into employment rather than training. Retail/sales accounted for over 40% of the employment opportunities taken up. (source: Careers Wales Cardiff & Vale). This trend towards higher levels of academic attainment was also found to carry through to Higher Education, with almost 18,000 residents of the Vale having obtained a first degree or equivalent professional qualification (such as qualified medical doctor, dentist, teacher, etc). 

  •  Location
    Its location and close proximity to Cardiff, excellent transport links with easy access to the M4 and Cardiff International Airport, together with good rail links place Barry and its surrounding environs in a prime position in the beautiful and prosperous Vale of Glamorgan. This offers huge potential for growth and investment.


    Ongoing work for the Council’s Local Development Plan identifies Barry as a key settlement of growth and development. This recognition is in line with the designation of Barry as a key settlement in the Wales Spatial Plan. As a consequence, Barry is seen as the focus for growth and development during the plan period (2011 – 2026). 


    The designation of Barry as a Regeneration Area by the Welsh Assembly Government in 2010 has been a significant boost, providing further investment in the town to build on regeneration work undertaken previously in partnership with the Welsh Assembly Government. The designation is bringing significant investment into Barry to deliver key environmental, economic and community based projects. This is seen as a vote of confidence by the Welsh Assembly Government in the importance of regenerating the town, building upon recent progress in the town centre, King Square and surrounding environments. There has already been significant regeneration activity in the town driven by a variety of funding sources and this has been complemented by the development of further strategic proposals. This work will be used as a foundation to develop a broader regeneration action plan for the town incorporating not only physical regeneration, but issues concerning housing, skills, inactivity and health through a balanced approach to people and place.


    There is no doubt that the designation of Barry as a Regeneration Area and the willingness of key players to submit development schemes for strategic proposals, at a time of economic downturn, cannot be understated and represents a confidence that Barry is a location open for business. The town is in a strong position and well placed to become one of the best places to invest in South Wales.

  •  Barry and the Vale's Employment Base 

    Labour Market Profile

    The latest labour market profile for the Vale of Glamorgan compiled by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) (July 2009 – June 2010) indicated that the economic activity rate, which comprises those who are in work or available for work, was 75.8%, some 3% above the average for Wales (72.8%).


    In terms of occupation profile, the ONS indicated that 14.9% of Vale of Glamorgan residents were engaged in Associate Professional and Technical occupations, compared to 12.5% in Wales. The Vale of Glamorgan has a high incidence of personnel in managerial and administrative positions, thus skewing the employment profile of the South East Wales region towards the higher end of the occupational hierarchy. By way of example 18.5% are employed in managerial positions and 11.4% in secretarial and administrative roles.


    Commuter Patterns

    The table below indicates that there is a far greater outflow of working population from the Vale of Glamorgan to its neighbouring areas, namely Bridgend, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Cardiff.


    To From Totals = Inflow / Outflow
    Vale of Glamorgan Bridgend 1879 Greater Outflow
    Bridgend Vale of Glamorgan 2224  
    Vale of Glamorgan Rhonndda Cynon Taff 1377 Greater Outflow
    Rhonndda Cynon Taff Vale of Glamorgan 2627  
    Vale of Glamorgan Cardiff 4821 Greater Outflow
    Cardiff Vale of Glamorgan 16656  


    The data clearly illustrates an opportunity for future employers to capture and retain economically active people living in Barry and the Vale of Glamorgan, to work in the locality rather than commute to neighbouring areas. This is particularly relevant given that Barry is within easy reach of adjoining centres of population and labour supply.


Useful Contacts

The Council is justifiably proud of its track record in regenerating Barry and is extremely confident of being able to build on recent success. Council officers are available to meet with any potential investor to discuss business requirements at any time.

Rob Thomas

Managing Director

Tel: 01446 709202


Marcus Goldsworthy

Head of Regeneration and Planning

Tel: 01446 704630


Phil Chappell

Operational Manager - Regeneration

Tel: 01446 704623



Rebecca Haves 

Team Leader - Neighbourhood and Housing Renewal

Tel: 01446 704757



You can also download a PDF version of the Investing in Barry document