ARGUS reporter Andy Rutherford joined crowds of Newport folk who had gathered to watch this morning's demolition of Newport's Capitol car park.

AMONG the hardy souls braving the early morning chill on the eastern bank of the River Usk, the impending demise of Newport's Capitol car park seemed a cause for expectation rather than excitement.

And while it would be pushing it to say that the big bang when it came was greeted with a whimper, neither was it an occasion for mass cheering and clapping.

Quite simply, people in Newport needed this to happen, but as merely a staging post on the road to regeneration - a means to an end rather than the end itself - the atmosphere was laced more with satisfaction than celebration.

As this multi-storey monument to dereliction disappeared in a very large puff of smoke, there was a collective gasp from a crowd of more than 1,500 gathered on the eastern bank's riverside walk.

Scores of people came armed with mobile phones or rather more sophisticated camera and film equipment, to record the moment. Others were just keen to witness the spectacular removal of a very large blot on the landscape.

Derek Jones, from Cwmbran, made the early morning journey into the city to witness the demolition of a building he worked on.

He was in his 20s when he was among the workforce that built the Capitol car park as part of a late 1960s/early 1970s regeneration of central Newport.

"I was determined to be here today. This is long overdue," he said.

"The car park was an eyesore from the moment it was finished. I was born in Newport and it's high time the city moved on."

Others had come from further afield. including Moira Williams, 53, Newport-born, currently living in Bristol, but thinking of moving back to her roots.

"All of that was being built when I was growing up and Newport was very different then. It was busy, lots of shops," she said.

"I still have family here and come over regularly, and it's changed a lot but not for the better.

"There's been a lot of talk about a new shopping centre but people have stopped believing in it. Hopefully this coming down will be the start of it."