CELTIC MANOR ROW: Business leaders hit out

BUSINESS leaders and marketing gurus lined up to say the move was a bad decision for the future of Newport's economic prospects.

David Russ, Managing director of the South Wales Chamber of Commerce, who fully supports the Celtic Manor and Terry Matthews' arguments warned: "Newport City Council cannot afford for a decision this small to affect the long term economic prospects of Newport if Terry Matthews, a man of his stature, and a brand as powerful as the Celtic Manor leave Newport."

Neil Underwood, chairman of the City of Newport Business Club, asked what visiting Americans and Europeans will make of "this blot on the landscape" when they arrive at the Celtic Manor.

"Wales and Newport in particular, will simply be regarded as an international laughing stock. Is that what Newport City council wants? I think not," he said.

"This ludicrous decision must be rescinded without delay before any more damage is done to the reputation and the global image of the City of Newport and Wales."

Marketing experts were lining up to voice their concerns this issue will have on the way Newport as is city is perceived on the world stage.

Newport Unlimited chief executive Gareth Beer said he understands Sir Terry's disappointment over the decision and added: "I hope that this will not detrimentally affect the excellent working relationship that we have built up with Sir Terry and his team over time."

He added: "We will aim to ensure that Simon Gibson's resignation from Newport Unlimited does not unduly affect the overall delivery of Newports major regeneration programme."

One marketing consultant said that Sir Terry is a man of great influence and his words carry a lot of weight in the business world.

Another warned that publicity such as this can put of investment and Newport as a reletively new city needs all the help it can get.

"The council should be bending over backwards to get key figures like Sir Terry on side," he said.

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