A DIRECTOR of a company linked to a derelict pub says his company is continuing to trade.

A Newport council planning report had said it was understood that the owners of the King Hotel, Somerton Road, stated in 2008 as being Johnsey Developments Limited, had dissolved.

But the firm’s director Phil Johnsey said it was a going concern, and said it was him and not the company that owned the pub.

Earlier in June, planners backed officer advice to refuse planning permission to demolish the site and turn it into 32 flats after a legal agreement which would have seen £466,500 paid to provide affordable housing in Lliswerry was not completed.

But Mr Johnsey said the venture, given planning permission in 2008, was no longer viable after the cash request from Newport council - known in planning terms as a section 106 agreement.

Mr Johnsey said the site is owned by him and has never been owned by Johnsey Developments.

“Johnsey Developments has not been dissolved and is still trading. I do not understand how this company has been linked with the King site,” he said.

He claimed Newport planning department told him when he submitted his application it couldn’t consider any application until flood defences were put in place along the river bank.

He was originally advised it would take 18 months, but 18 months later he was told it would take a further two and a half years.

“All this took so long that by the time I had the go-ahead, I had already spent in excess of £100,000, on surveys, flood assessments, planning, etc,” he said.

He said Newport council then "demanded" the cash for affordable housing. "Basically, this venture was no longer viable," he said.

“I agree the site is an eye-sore and would welcome help from the council,” he said.