Newport council move ahead with city centre demolition plan
WORK to prepare for Friars Walk could start soon with Newport council on the look out for a contractor that can get it done by the end of January.
Sheila Davies, strategic director responsible for regeneration at Newport council, told a meeting of the authority's cabinet on Monday that the council is set to start work to find a contractor for demolition work in and around John Frost Square this week.
She said the contract will specify completion by the end of January.
Ms Davies said: “This week we will be pressing the button to go out to tender.”
The work, which is costing £1.5 million and is funded by the Welsh Government, will cover the first phase of demolition needed for the city centre redevelopment project Friars Walk.
This will see shops in John Frost Square and the former Capitol car park being demolished The initial work will not involve the demolition of the walkway containing the Chartist Mural, which the 20th Century Society has applied to Cadw for listing.
Ms Davies told the meeting that the money from the Welsh Government had to be spent by March 2014.
The senior officer also told the cabinet meeting that progress was being made on funding for the Frairs Walk scheme with a report due to be put in front of cabinet on the matter.
Friars Walk is expected to attract £88m of private sector investment and more than 390,000 square feet of retail and leisure space. A 360-space car park and new bus station will be built as part of the scheme. Developers expect to create up to 1,000 retail jobs and up to 300 jobs associated with the construction phase.
Councillor Matthew Evans, Tory group leader at the council, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that we’ve reached a stage to commence demolition.
"I have no doubt that it will introduce a feel good factor for businesses and residents in Newport, who have been let down over decades.”
Alan Edwards, president of Newport Chamber of Trade, said it was “nothing more than we expected”.
“As soon as it happens it will look as though something is growing in the town,” he said.
“A lot of traders will say here we go the town will be building site over Christmas but we are going to have to accept all this while we are waiting for Frairs Walk to be completed.”
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