Plans in place for a vibrant mix of city centre offices, residential, and retail
Posted on Wednesday 27th June 2018
A report recently released by the think tank Centre for Cities, highlights the amount of empty retail space in Newport.
However the report also acknowledges that Newport has the highest percent of retail space compared to other uses (54 percent) and that this is an issue facing towns and cities across the UK.
The report suggests that too many city centres across England and Wales are over-dependent on retail, and must swap shops for offices, housing and public space to transform their economic prospects.
Councillor Debbie Wilcox, Leader of Newport City Council, said: “As a council we agree with the key messages of this report – in order to have a successful city centre we need to have a broad range of offerings and attract many groups of people, not just shoppers. Our plans and strategies, including the city centre masterplan, absolutely reflect this and the need for a vibrant mix of residential, retail and office space. We are already seeing changes on our high street and there are plans for many more developments.
“With partners and private investors, we are developing several areas of city centre living including the former Kings Hotel, Griffin Island, Upper Dock Street, Olympia House and the former Hornblower public house.
“We are also encouraging more high quality office space into the city centre such as the plans to develop the prominent Chartist Tower into offices and a four-star hotel, and the conversion of the former Royal Mail sorting office into new offices. We’ve already seen the success of Queensway-based Admiral with more than 800 employees now working in the heart of our city.
“The value of public open space is very much recognised in our plans. The redevelopment of St Pauls Walk into a pleasant landscaped pedestrian route was recently completed and that space is also now being used for public events. Planning permission has also been granted to demolish a block of retail units and create public space on Commercial Street at the entrance to the Kingsway Centre.
“The University of South Wales also have a prominent city centre presence and there are proposals by Cardiff University to locate the National Software Academy in Newport City Centre. There are also aspirations to develop a Newport Knowledge Quarter and work in partnership with the University of South Wales and Coleg Gwent.
“The WRU has also revealed plans to improve and regenerate parts of the Rodney Parade site and this is all incredibly positive for Newport.
“It is the delivery of such catalytic projects that will enhance the city centre business environment, increase the number of qualified university and college graduates, increase the number of SMEs, particularly in the digital, creative and hospitality sectors, and significantly increase the number of visitors and our overall footfall.”