Plans to develop derelict Newport supermarket site welcomed
Original article written by Jen Mills for the South Wales Argus published on 14th April 2015.
PLANNED development for the derelict former supermarket site in Shaftesbury is “great news”, local people said.
Multi-million pound proposals for the redevelopment are set to be revealed at a public meeting this weekend.
The Argus reported yesterday how the site, previously home to Sainsbury’s, is at the centre of a £60m scheme which could see the prime river Usk location totally transformed.
And people across the city welcomed the news.
Newsagent Jon Powell said: “I live right next door to it and right now it’s a derelict wasteland. Anything will be better than that.”
He added: “It is great news. I’ll be going to the public consultation.”
Newport mayor Matthew Evans said: “There was understandably a bit of cynicism when Friar’s Walk was announced in 2010, but we knew the scheme would be achievable and it was integrated into the city centre. Clearly the evidence is showing now and it is acting as a catalyst for further regeneration. The old Sainsbury’s site is one example of an investor who has seen the potential of the city.
“I think personally we need quality hotel accommodation in the city centre. Not only will that create further jobs and investment but in the longer term, with the expansion of the Celtic Manor convention centre, there are going to be lots of delegates looking for accommodation and I would have thought the city centre would be a prime location.”
Councillor John Richards, cabinet member for regeneration and development with Newport City Council, said: “An investment on this scale and the jobs that will accompany the redevelopment of the former Sainsbury’s site is to be welcomed.
“It will provide a big boost to the local economy and is a further signal of a growing confidence in Newport as an excellent investment proposition.”
Commenters on the Argus website also backed the plans. A poster calling themselves John Frost Lives said: “Brilliant news. Yes the place and Newport has been left to rot for years, but look around you, over the next 18 months it’s going to be a totally different place. Let’s embrace it and enjoy it.”
And ‘True Socialist’ wrote: “Let’s take our hats off to this businessman for investing his money in Newport and a nice gesture in asking what the people want. I wish him all the success for the future.”
The Bristol-based Fear Group says its scheme will involve ‘massive improvements’ to the eye-sore plot and river bank location.
A public meeting when residents will get the chance to have their say will be held on April 18 at the community centre on Evans Street in Shaftesbury between 10.30am and 3.30pm.