A SCHEME which would have nurtured high-tech business start ups in Newport city centre may be the first victim of the row between Sir Terry Matthews and the city's planning committee.

The chief executive of investment company Wesley Clover, Simon Gibson, says as a result of the row, the project is now on hold.

Mr Gibson, who resigned from the board of Newport Unlimited in the wake of the planning committee's decision said: “I cannot just continue to work with people that have an attitude like some of these councillors.”

“I feel very sorry for a lot of the city officials,” he said, adding “I think the best thing for everyone to do is cool off.”

The project which would have been based in a prominent city centre location would give graduates all the skills to prepare for starting a high-technology business, but Mr Gibson was keen to stress that his decision is not a reflection on Newport University.

In working with large multinational firms such as Vodafone and Fujitsu the graduates would be helped in finding a product that would have a market for it from the start.

In one Canadian province Mr Gibson said they have created four new companies a year. The Newport scheme would have lasted for at least five years.

“This is 20 new companies that we could have brought to Newport. Does Newport need that in the city centre or what?”he added.

Although the project was still going to happen in Britain, Mr Gibson said: “The location is on hold.”

Newport University vice-chancellor Dr Peter Noyes said they were in discussions with Simon Gibson about the project, adding: "The continued support of our most successful entrepreneurs is crucial for the economy of Newport and the prosperity of its people."