Planners approve amendment which means demolition of former Sainsbury’s site can now take place

The original article was featured in the South Wales Argus on 19th February 2018.

Newport City Council has approved an amendment to a planning application to demolish the former Sainsbury’s building as part of a £60m redevelopment scheme in Newport city centre, meaning work can now start in March.

The Bristol-based Fear Group bought the site about six years ago, obtained planning permission for mixed use including student accommodation, a hotel and residential, and then were hit with a number of delays including the most recent after a bat was seen flying into the derelict building about a year ago.

Leon Fear, of the Fear Group, said the delays had been ‘frustrating’.

He said they now had a short window of opportunity to get the building demolished before the bat licence ran out at the end of March.

Newport City Council planners last week approved an application by the Fear Group for a ‘partial discharge of condition five’ of the original planning application, which was amended to protect conservation interests of bats which were discovered in the building after the original planning permission was granted.

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 spent more than £300,000 on the application to transform it.

Mr Fear said: “The situation has been delayed for a ridiculous amount of time now. The site is an eye sore and we want to get it down and demolished as soon as we can.

“This has gone on for so long. We recognise that to people who don’t understand the ins and outs of planning permissions and these other concerns it looks like we are not interested in doing anything with the site and are leaving it to just sit there. We are still committed to Newport and committed to this site.”

In 2016 The Fear Group, which is run by Dr Stephen Fear and his son Leon said it had given up on plans to redevelop the former supermarket site at Wyndham Street after delays in signing a legal agreement with Natural Resources Wales and after the site was targeted by vandals, thieves and arsonists.

But they decided to carry on with the scheme and just before they managed to get on site at the beginning of last year, they were held up again after a bat was spotted flying into the building.

The original article was featured in the South Wales Argus on 19th February 2018.

 

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