TWO independent traders have told the Argus they are planning to opening shops in Cwmbran shopping centre because of the state of Newport city centre.

Skate shop owner Darran Ward and jeweller Colin Jeffries said their city shops will remain open, but both said they could close in future.

Mr Ward, who owns Freestyle in Newport Arcade, said his Cwmbran town centre store, which is due to open in September, would bring his business to customers based around Torfaen.

He said: “If we stay here and don’t expand, more and more of those customers will go to Cardiff.

“We’re worried about everything shutting down here.

“There’s no real shopping experience.

“Even the more run-ofthe- mill shops have gone.”

He said the lease on his Newport store, which is due to run out in two to three years’ time, may not be renewed if the situation doesn’t improve. He said: “We will need some serious incentive to renew that lease.” Mr Jeffries said CL Jeffries, which currently has a store in Skinner Street, is planning to open a store in Cwmbran Shopping Centre in October but has yet to sign the lease.

He said, if the Cwmbran shop is successful, he will probably close the Newport store some time next year.

He said the two nails in the coffin of Newport city centre were Marks & Spencer’s planned closure and the decision to move the Newport Passport Office out of the city centre.

Mr Jeffries also cited the fact that the new city centre development will not be open for business before 2015.

“People tell us they come to town for us – they come specifically to visit us.

“Wedon’t get newpassersby, the ones that do are here for the passport office,” he said.