NEWPORT’S newest major department store is taking shape and building has started on a cinema at the Friars Walk development, pictures show.

Debenhams announced its plans for a store in the city in two years ago – after it said Newport was the largest in the Britain without one. And it reaffirmed its commitment to the city earlier this year.

Steel frames – which make up a fraction of the 6,000 tonnes of framing which will be used for the project – have gone up for the new Cineworld cinema behind the site’s perimeter fence.

Developers Queensberry and contractors Bowmer and Kirkland will also be demolishing part of the former Iceland building.

And in June it was announced a £1.7 million fund will be set aside by the city council for it in case there is any difficult with its plan to loan £90 million to the complex’s developers. The first steel girders started to go up at the development in the same month.

High street restaurants Frankie and Benny’s and Chiquito applied for premises licences as part of the development, which is due to open in November next year.

If passed, they would take their places in Usk Plaza and would be allowed to sell alcohol between 10am and midnight, late-night refreshment between 11am and 12.30am and play recorded music between 8am and 12.30am.

Other stores already signed up include high street names Topshop and Next and restaurants Cosmo and Nandos.

Earlier this summer it was announced that stone work will be used rather than tiles over some of the shops and that ETFE plastic roofing will be used. That is similar to the material used over Newport train station and has also been used at the Eden Project in Cornwall.

Newport has also received a £15 million grant from the Welsh government through the Vibrant and Viable Places programme, designed to drive housing-led regeneration in towns and cities. Another £1.5 million was used to pay for the demolition in John Frost Square.

When complete, Commercial Street will be connected at the top of Pill and other strands include changing a vacant building on Cardiff Road into flats and two new residential developments.