Money available for studies on ReNewport regeneration schemes, Welsh Government confirms
6:27pm Tuesday 4th February 2014 in News
PACKED FULL The Newport City Centre Summit, which was held at the Newport City Centre campus, University of South Wales. Simon Gibson, Chairman of reNewport Task Force, Driving Business Growth for the City (3799061)
WELSH Government funding has been confirmed for feasibility work on projects in the ReNewport report, it was confirmed today.
Simon Gibson, chairman of the ReNewport taskforce, broke the news at the Newport City Summit where 150 delegates at the University of South Wales city Campus were told of the opportunities posed for the city of Newport in 2014.
It is currently not clear how much money is available for the taskforce's projects, mooted when its members reported back last year.
ReNewport is now moving into its next phase, focusing on how to put into practice any short term measures and putting foundations in place for the long term.
Mr Gibson told the Argus that the Welsh Government had committed to money to fund evaluations of projects such as a software university, an “incubator” for small to medium sized firms and an innovation company.
He imagined funding would be a "few million" for the work.
“This is about giving us the cash we need to get to the level where they are fully scoped out and budgeted programmes,” he told the Argus.
The Welsh Government said officials are working with the taskforce on plans to establish a City Innovation Company focused on the development of intellectual property, acting as a hub for attracting funds and investors while helping small firms grow.
Economy minister Edwina Hart said funds will be made available to undertake feasibility work needed to progress other recommendations in the report, such as assessing the viability of a town centre investment management programme.
The minister added that not all of the ReNewport recommendations were for government, but each will be worked through with officials.
Officials are also exploring a recommendation for a pilot business rate relief scheme focused on the digital and ICT sectors.
During the summit Mr Gibson warned that if the report’s ideas could just go elsewhere if they aren’t put in place in Newport.
“To make this worth everyone has got to work together,” he said.
As well as Mr Gibson, the city summit heard from speakers in academia, the Celtic Manor, sport and from Newport council, which organised the summit with ReNewport.
Council leader Councillor Bob Bright, opened the summit, saying that with key projects under way "the face of Newport is really changing".
He said the recent demolition in the city centre was a "massive bang" signalling the start of its regeneration.
Meanwhile Ian Edwards, chief operating officer of the Celtic Manor Resort, said NATO in 2014 was a "once in a lifetime summit".
He urged Newport city council and the Welsh Government to work together to establish outreach programmes for the thousands of delegates and journalists set to come to South Wales.
"It's ours for the losing if we don't make the most of this," he said.
Will Godfrey, chief executive of Newport council, said: “Across the spectrum, from the NATO summit to sport, culture, everything, there’s fantastic opportunity."
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