Redevelopment of former Sainsbury’s site in Newport gets outline planning permission

The scheme includes 600 student bedrooms, 142 flats, a hotel and other facilities.

Plans to redevelop a derelict former Sainsbury’s site into a 600-bedroom student accommodation complex has received outline planning permission form Newport Council.

The proposals, by Bristol-based Fear Group, include a 601-bedroom student village, an 84-bedroom hotel, a health plaza, convenience store and 144 residential units including affordable homes which will be delivered in partnership with Newport City Homes.

The site was home to Sainsbury’s until they sold it in 2010 to a Fear Group-associated company, Wye Valley City Projects, and moved a mile away to a bigger store.

Plans include the demolition of the vacant 57,000 sq ft store and the creation of a boardwalk in to the city centre and the new Friar’s Walk shopping centre which opens in November.

The group said it plans to get on site in early 2016 to begin demolition work, which has to be finished before the end of April in order not to interfere with the migration and spawning of fish on the River Usk.

Artists’ impression of development planned for former Newport Sainsbury’s site

There had been some concerns expressed about the plan by some local politicians. In yesterday’s meeting one councillor asked whether Newport really needed 600 new student bedrooms.

However, the application was approved in a four to one vote.

Community support

Chairman and founder Stephen Fear said: “From our point of view the planning committee, councillor, officers and all the people we have met in Newport have been very supportive.

“The community has backed the proposals wholeheartedly. We have had mail bags full of support for the scheme.

“We are working very closely with the University of South Wales to deliver state-of-the-art student accommodation as part of the scheme.”

Artists’ impression of development planned for former Newport Sainsbury’s site

Planning officer Geraint Roberts said the development would do a lot to improve the area. He said the site has “been prone to anti-social behaviour and it isn’t very much used.”

Planning agent Mel Clinton said Fear Group subsidiary Wye Valley City Projects, which made the application, see Newport as a city with great potential.

He added: “As investors they see Newport as a city that is going places not least because of its clear vision, position attitude and assets.”

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