Axe hangs over Newport regeneration firm, Newport Unlimited

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THE future of Newport Unlimited is uncertain with a decision on its funding beyond March yet to be made by the Welsh Government.

A leaked Newport council report that has been seen by senior councillors says the Welsh Government says it is withdrawing its funding for the urban regeneration company from April 1.

The report says some functions of the body, that was created to try to spur regeneration in the city and was the catalyst for regeneration of the city’s riiverside area, will need to be provided by the council.

Officially no decision has been made, but the council has said that if funding ends Newport Unlimited will not be able to continue in its current form.

The report reads that the Welsh Government has indicated it is withdrawing funding for Newport Unlimited from April 1.

A Welsh Government spokeswoman said funding for the organisation, set up in 2003, was only ever due to run until the end of March 2013.

She said the heritage minister Huw Lewis is due to publish his regeneration policy this March, following a consultation last autumn, after which a decision will be made.

Within the Newport council draft budget consultation for 2013/14, officers say if funding is not continued Newport Unlimited will not be able to continue in its present form.

“The regeneration and development of the city is a priority for the council and in this situation a number of functions currently carried out by Newport Unlimited may need to be delivered by the council,” it reads.

It is believed the council would save £187,000 by bringing functions in house.

The Welsh Government contributes around £666,000 a year to the organisation, while Newport council provides £333,000.

A joint statement from Newport council and Newport Unlimited said that, as the Welsh Government review is ongoing, a decision as to how Newport’s regeneration programme will be delivered in future has yet to be taken.

It read: “Supporting the continuing regeneration of the city is a major priority for both the council and Newport Unlimited, and it is essential that any arrangements put in place support the growth of the city.

“Whatever the outcome of the review, key projects such as Friars Walk will continue to be driven forward.”

© 2013 South Wales Argus

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