Newport gears up for next phase of regeneration (October 2013)

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Newport gears up for next phase of regeneration as the city council takes over from urban regeneration company Newport Unlimited.

Newport Council has submitted a bid for £13.3m to the Welsh Government to help continue regeneration in the city.

The bid follows the end of an 11 year tenure of urban regeneration company Newport Unlimited which has rolled out projects worth £230m and created 1,300 jobs (not including construction jobs).

Newport’s regeneration strategy will now be led directly by an economic regeneration team at Newport Council who will work closely with a business led task force for Newport set up by Welsh Government Economy, Science and Transport Minister Edwina Hart.

Newport Unlimited was originally set up with a 10-year lifespan, to spearhead the regeneration of the city.

Its remit was extended in 2012 for a further year to ensure larger investment projects were well underway.

Since it was set up, it has helped to secure £230mi of private sector investment into the city.

As a result, more than 1,300 new jobs have been created, 72,000 sq.m of commercial and retail floor-space has been delivered and planning applications have been submitted to construct more than 10,000 new homes.

Almost nine hectares of derelict land has been reclaimed and more than 7,000 sq m of public open space has been created.

Councillor Bob Bright, leader of Newport Council, said: “Newport Unlimited has fulfilled much of its original vision despite the very difficult economic climate it has operated in over recent years.

“Projects spearheaded by the urban regeneration company have transformed large parts of the city.

“For instance, it is difficult to remember that Old Town Dock and other areas bordering the river were once derelict and neglected.

“The end of Newport Unlimited will certainly not mean the end of regeneration for the city as we recognise there is still work to do and, together with the Welsh Government, the council will continue to strive to bring improved living, working and leisure opportunities to Newport.

“I would like to thank all those who have been involved in Newport Unlimited over the years as we look to continue their work in a new way.

“We are on the cusp of seeing other large scale projects taking shape including the much-wanted and much-needed Friars Walk.”

Haydn Thomas, director of Newport city centre based Hutchings & Thomas Chartered Surveyors said: “I think over the last 10 years there has been quite a change in city centre with regard to new riverside developments and other major developments within the city centre which Newport Unlimited has assisted and added kudos to.

“Unfortunately the economy over the last five years has not assisted them in getting to the point where they wanted to be with regard to the city centre retail scheme.

“There are definitely tangible improvements and I think Newport Unlimited has added strength to developments and underpinned them to a degree.

“Some people don’t see the Ryder Cup as having helped but it did give a boost to some companies, probably not the amount they had hoped for but the economic times didn’t allow for that anyway.”

Bill Mayne, chair of Newport Unlimited, said: “Since Newport Unlimited was established in 2002, the city has changed beyond recognition – despite the very tough economic environment in which we have been operating for the past six years.

“The waterfront has been completely transformed by new, high-quality housing developments together with a £35m campus for the University of South Wales; new business parks have been created attracting high-profile organisations into the city, while major infrastructure and public realm work, including a Riverside Park, has improved the appearance of the city centre and made the region more attractive to potential investors.

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