Old Sainsbury’s site to be knocked down by Christmas after agreement reached ahead of potential £60m redevelopment
Original article from the South Wales Argus published on 17th August 2016.
INVESTORS behind a £60 million redevelopment scheme at the old Sainsbury’s site hope to demolish the derelict building by Christmas after finally reaching an agreement with Natural Resources Wales (NRW).
Just a month ago, Stephen and Leon Fear said they had given up on plans to redevelop the former supermarket site at Wyndham Street. The pair had grown frustrated with delays in signing a legal agreement with NRW after the site was targeted by vandals, thieves and arsonists.
However, following productive talks with the environmental body, the Fear Group have been given the green light to demolish the building after a collaborative agreement was reached by the two parties.
The demolition process, which is due to start in November, will take six weeks and the Fear Group say they will then spend three or four months after Christmas preparing the site.
Stephen Fear said the group were still “open to persuasion” if they would go on to complete their original plans for a 601-bedroom student housing complex, 142 flats and a hotel.
“Rather than having an eyesore and a derelict building, it will be cleaned up completely as a prepared site,” he said.
“We would never have just left the site as it is. We want to demolish the building and prepare the site for development, whether we do it or not.”
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.
The Fear Group have already spent £300,000 on the application to transform it and Stephen Fear said it will be a “relief” to bring the building down in a “very positive move forward for the city”.
“We got fed up with the crime and other issues that surrounded this. It’s not an easy site to secure or manage,” he said.
“There have been times when we’ve thought, ‘Blimey, this isn’t the biggest site or the biggest project we’re dealing with at this moment in time by any means’ but it’s a very important one for both us and the city of Newport.”
He added that they were extremely grateful to Newport City Council, in particular, “for genuinely doing their best” to get the development off the ground.
Tim England, flood risk manager operations south east from NRW, says the collaborative agreement forms part of the environmental body’s £10 million flood scheme, which will improve flood protection for more than 660 homes in the Crindau area.
“Keeping communities safe from flooding is one of our key roles and there is a long history of tidal flooding in Crindau,” he said.
“This major scheme is an important step forward in reducing flood risk for local people and businesses as well as improving the environmental amenity.
“We’re confident that our scheme will really make a difference to people living and working in Crindau who have lived with the threat of flooding for many years.