Outlook is outstanding for Newport in 2016
Posted on Monday 25th January 2016
Newport City Council recognises the challenges for the city presented by the Cities Outlook 2016 report, but this city on the rise has moved on rapidly on many counts since this data was collected.
The report shows that nearly a million new jobs have been created in British cities since 2010, and Newport has played its fair share in this positive statistic.
Unemployment across Gwent has fallen from this time last year, figures from the Office for National Statistics have shown. In Newport, the amount of claimants fell by 945 compared with last year, which included 305 fewer young people claiming jobseekers allowance.
At the start of 2016, Newport was named the best city in Wales to start a business in a study that compared all of the UK's 69 cities.
Each city was marked on eight criteria which were seen as essential to a city’s success: commercial property, energy, virtual office services, public transport, broadband service, workforce demographics, access to finance and quality of life. Subcategories, such as broadband download speeds and the current availability of prime office space, were all scored out of 10 in order for them to create an all-encompassing national league table.
In the overall UK table Newport finished 28th and Cardiff 40th.
And official figures released by Newport City Council for the month of November 2015, have revealed a dramatic increase in the number of visitors to the city centre, the highest recorded in seven years.
The statistics reveal that Newport’s average weekly footfall for November 2015 was 202,000. This is an increase of 17% on the same time last year. The last occasion that November’s average weekly footfall was higher, was back in 2008.
These footfall figures confirm that ‘the Friars Walk effect’ is encouraging shoppers to return to the whole of the city centre and is expected to bring Newport into the top 100 shopping destinations in the country, having previously been around the 200 mark.
The publisher of the Outlook 2016 report, Centre for Cities, recommends that cities should ensure that their success isn’t derailed by a lack of affordable homes. With exciting developments such as Loftus Garden Village and the on-going transformation at Glan Llyn, Newport is well placed in this respect.
Leader of Newport City Council, Councillor Bob Bright commented: “Over the last twelve months Newport has been continually in the news, and for all the right reasons. From the hosting of world leaders at the Nato Summit, to welcoming around 350,000 shoppers over the opening weekend of Friars Walk, Newport has had an exciting story to tell.
“There is still work to be done, and we are not taking anything for granted, but we genuinely believe the city has turned a corner. Buildings such as Kings Hotel and the former Odeon cinema are springing back to life. Ambitious plans are in place for the former Sainsbury’s site and the banks of the River Usk continue to be filled with attractive modern housing.
“I would have to say that the outlook for this city on the rise in 2016 is outstanding.”
The city is currently preparing for further letting announcements at Friars Walk; an extension of the scheme housing Admiral on Cambrian Road; and more detailed plans coming forward for the Wales International Convention Centre to be built at the Celtic Manor Resort.