Newport’s former Sainsburys building set to be demolished in early new year

Original article written by Jo Barnes for the South Wales Argus on 29th November 2016.

THE former Sainsburys building at Crindau, Newport, is set to be demolished early in the new year, its owner Stephen Fear has told city business leaders.

But Dr Fear, of the Fear Group, which bought the site in 2010, said although his business was committed to demolishing the building on the site, it was not committing to building anything on the site because of the Brexit vote.

The Fear Group has planning permission for a £60m redevelopment of the former supermarket site on the banks of the River Usk, just outside Newport city centre. The plans include a 601-bedroom student housing complex, 142 flats and a hotel.

The 2.67-hectare site on the banks of the River Usk has been vacant since Sainsbury’s moved to Crindau around five years ago.

Dr Fear, who was speaking at Newport City Summit, held at the City Campus of the University of South Wales in Newport city centre, said there had been a lot of vandalism at the site, a fire and that both he and his son had been attacked during site visits.

This had led them to almost pulling out of Newport, a city, he said, he was passionate about.

He said that when it was made public that the Fear Group were thinking of selling the site, which is close to the railway line and is just on the edge of the city centre, 11 offers came in from potential buyers.

He said: “I believe in Newport and always have. This is a great place to be and a great place to invest in. We had a very, very substantial offer to buy the site but we decided not to sell. We didn’t feel that the potential buyers would knock down the existing building but rather sit on the site. We felt something needed to be done on the site.”

He said: “We want to see the building demolished, even if we don’t go ahead with the development. We are not going to commit to the development because of Brexit.”

Dr Fear previously told the Argus: “Rather than having an eyesore and a derelict building, it will be cleaned up completely as a prepared site.” The Fear Group have already spent £300,000 on the application to transform it and Stephen Fear has said it would be a ‘relief’ to bring the building down in a ‘very positive move forward for the city’.

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