A FIRM refused permission to move into a building once used by a bowling alley says its plans would have created 150 full and part-time jobs.

SportsDirect says it is disappointed by the Newport council planning department’s decision, which argued plans for the firm to relocate to Megabowl would harm the city centre.

The firm and Johnsey Estates applied for permission for the retailer to move its Newport Retail Park Spytty store to the vacant site nearby, incorporating a gym and possibly Home Bargains.

It is unclear if the applicants will appeal.

The Argus revealed last month that Friars Walk developer Queensberry Real Estate (QRE) had objected, claiming the applicant’s test of whether different city retail sites could accommodate SportsDirect was inaccurate. A spokeswoman for the retailer said the company was “disappointed to hear of the planning decision”.

She said: “The decision to move to a larger unit adjacent to the park would have resulted in SportsDirect reoccupying a building which has stood vacant for nine years.

“Our intention with this unit would have been to invest around £5 million to create a 35,000 square foot retail unit, together with a 20,000 square foot gym – a proposition which would have created 150 full and part-time jobs”.

She said it would have been one of the largest units used by the firm, and added they hope to find a solution which will “help build this vision”.

Refusing the application, officers said the proposals “will cause significant harm to interests of acknowledged importance, namely the vitality and viability of the sequentially preferable city centre, by reason of a significant increase in open A1 retail floorspace in a less sequentially preferable retail location.”