Newport city centre's future could mean fewer shops - first minister, Carwyn Jones

South Wales Argus: HISTORIC: First Minister Carwyn Jones with the first Welsh bill passed under the Assembly’s new powers with Rosemary Butler, Presiding Officer, far right and Claire Clancy, Chief Executive and Clerk to the Assembly HISTORIC: First Minister Carwyn Jones with the first Welsh bill passed under the Assembly’s new powers with Rosemary Butler, Presiding Officer, far right and Claire Clancy, Chief Executive and Clerk to the Assembly

PLANS for the redevelopment of Newport city centre should look at how city centres work in the 21st century – and that might mean fewer shops.

That’s according to the first minister, Carwyn Jones, who said any plan for the city needs to have a greater mix of businesses.

“We want Wales’ cities to prosper,” Mr Jones said.

The head of the Welsh Government spoke to the Argus yesterday ahead of the first Welsh bill to be passed under the National Assembly’s legislative powers gaining Royal Ascent and becoming a law.

Mr Jones said it had been difficult for Newport city centre in the last few years because the bottom fell out of property development.

He said: “I think any plan has to be based on what the city centre has to look like in the 21st century, that means having a greater mix of businesses, accepting there are some shop units that aren’t going to be shops in the future.

“They may turn into offices, cafés or restaurants.”

The first minister said there are many shop units that are too small to be able to prosper with them running as shops.

Mr Jones continued: “One of the things we want to look at here is to find a way of making it easier for local authorities to change the use of premises within a city centre to get a better mix of businesses in.”

Carwyn Jones, who became Welsh Labour leader in 2009 and formed a minority government following the 2011 Assembly elections, said that it was preferable for a business to be using a building rather than leave a building derelict.

“All you need is a couple of buildings boarded up and you get what they call the gap-tooth effect in America. People think that things are falling apart.”

He added that he knew there was a plan for the city centre and said Newport City Council had worked hard to improve the city.

“They have had bad luck in terms of what happened in 2008, 2009,” he said.

“We’ve seen what’s happened along the riverfront, which again helps to improve the city.

“The next change now is to make sure that the right mix of units is in place in the city centre to attract as wide a variety of businesses as possible.”

Rail link will take time – minister

THE money isn’t there to run the Ebbw Valley line to Newport and bringing the passenger link to the city is going to take some time, Mr Jones said.

The first minister said the usage of the Rogerstone railway station to Newport bus link is not high, although he admitted passengers having to change modes of transport can act as a disincentive.

“Times have changed financially in terms of the amount of money we get from the UK government. It does mean that we’re not able to take forward some plans we would have wanted to do in the same timescale,” he said.

Mr Jones said the line, in an ideal world, would have links both to Newport and Cardiff, but added a link to Cardiff was important so that when the Valleys lines are electrified they can become an integrated Metro system.

“That means we would be looking at more frequent trains,” he said. Mr Jones yesterday put the first Welsh seal on the letters patent signed by the Queen to signify the assent she has given to National Assembly for Wales (Official Languages) Bill, allowing it to become an Act.

The law was introduced as the National Assembly wanted to officially recognise both Welsh and English in its proceedings.

Comments (16)

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11:59am Tue 13 Nov 12

Bobevans says...

So the Minister is now pretty much saying the line to Newport is not going to happen. How he can blame costs is incomprehensible the line is already therer and an hourly service could be run through to Newport at very little cost. The simplest way to do it would be to split the existing trains at Rogerstone.
So the Minister is now pretty much saying the line to Newport is not going to happen. How he can blame costs is incomprehensible the line is already therer and an hourly service could be run through to Newport at very little cost. The simplest way to do it would be to split the existing trains at Rogerstone. Bobevans

11:59am Tue 13 Nov 12

Bobevans says...

So the Minister is now pretty much saying the line to Newport is not going to happen. How he can blame costs is incomprehensible the line is already therer and an hourly service could be run through to Newport at very little cost. The simplest way to do it would be to split the existing trains at Rogerstone.
So the Minister is now pretty much saying the line to Newport is not going to happen. How he can blame costs is incomprehensible the line is already therer and an hourly service could be run through to Newport at very little cost. The simplest way to do it would be to split the existing trains at Rogerstone. Bobevans

12:04pm Tue 13 Nov 12

bobmech1 says...

To me it says the the welsh assembly has written off Newport as a place of importance in Wales and it must concentrate its intent on Cardiff.
Hence it's super region plan
Another nail in Newport's coffin!
To me it says the the welsh assembly has written off Newport as a place of importance in Wales and it must concentrate its intent on Cardiff. Hence it's super region plan Another nail in Newport's coffin! bobmech1

12:11pm Tue 13 Nov 12

james.dyer7@ntlworld.com says...

fewer shops? not many now!
fewer shops? not many now! james.dyer7@ntlworld.com

12:28pm Tue 13 Nov 12

Rugby Warrior Paulo says...

It is with interest that I learnt the other day that the charity shop opposite where I work is being moved when the market is 'regenerated'. I wonder why charity shops "move" when every other shop just closes???? Perhaps the council should look into affordable rents for traders. Then perhaps we'd get some proper shops back.
It is with interest that I learnt the other day that the charity shop opposite where I work is being moved when the market is 'regenerated'. I wonder why charity shops "move" when every other shop just closes???? Perhaps the council should look into affordable rents for traders. Then perhaps we'd get some proper shops back. Rugby Warrior Paulo

2:14pm Tue 13 Nov 12

Owain Vaughan says...

" a link to Cardiff was important so that when the Valleys lines are electrified they can become an integrated Metro system"

WHAT NONSENSE! The plan to link the Monmouthshire Western Valleys to Cardiff was made way before any announcement of Valley Lines electrification, so how can that be a justification for it? The fact of the matter is that the Western Valley line is NOT part of the Valley Lines - it is treated as a spur of the GWML.

As usual important economic decisions are being sidelined while the Assembly fiddles around with YET MORE Welsh-language legislation.
" a link to Cardiff was important so that when the Valleys lines are electrified they can become an integrated Metro system" WHAT NONSENSE! The plan to link the Monmouthshire Western Valleys to Cardiff was made way before any announcement of Valley Lines electrification, so how can that be a justification for it? The fact of the matter is that the Western Valley line is NOT part of the Valley Lines - it is treated as a spur of the GWML. As usual important economic decisions are being sidelined while the Assembly fiddles around with YET MORE Welsh-language legislation. Owain Vaughan

2:22pm Tue 13 Nov 12

Adam Jones says...

Rugby Warrior Paulo wrote:
It is with interest that I learnt the other day that the charity shop opposite where I work is being moved when the market is 'regenerated'. I wonder why charity shops "move" when every other shop just closes???? Perhaps the council should look into affordable rents for traders. Then perhaps we'd get some proper shops back.
Why do you have an unhealthy obsession with charity shops?
[quote][p][bold]Rugby Warrior Paulo[/bold] wrote: It is with interest that I learnt the other day that the charity shop opposite where I work is being moved when the market is 'regenerated'. I wonder why charity shops "move" when every other shop just closes???? Perhaps the council should look into affordable rents for traders. Then perhaps we'd get some proper shops back.[/p][/quote]Why do you have an unhealthy obsession with charity shops? Adam Jones

7:05pm Tue 13 Nov 12

Dave on his Soapbox says...

...with more people shopping on line...and having food shopping delveried...and the out of town retail areas at Spytty etc.....along with the new cinema there needs to be more leisure oriented things to complement the bars and restaurants....
There is very little for youngsters...now they're taking the train away.....and having something that is easy to get to by bus.
...with more people shopping on line...and having food shopping delveried...and the out of town retail areas at Spytty etc.....along with the new cinema there needs to be more leisure oriented things to complement the bars and restaurants.... There is very little for youngsters...now they're taking the train away.....and having something that is easy to get to by bus. Dave on his Soapbox

9:01pm Tue 13 Nov 12

Magor says...

WAG just another name for Cardiff City Council.
WAG just another name for Cardiff City Council. Magor

7:40am Wed 14 Nov 12

Severn40 says...

Cardiff + Vale = 3 marginal parliamentary seats that Labour needs to win. Newport = 2 safe Labour seats. Carwyn has told us the facts - that they don't have to worry about Newport because we continue to vote them in regardless of what they do or not do.
Cardiff + Vale = 3 marginal parliamentary seats that Labour needs to win. Newport = 2 safe Labour seats. Carwyn has told us the facts - that they don't have to worry about Newport because we continue to vote them in regardless of what they do or not do. Severn40

8:40am Wed 14 Nov 12

gadget says...

Rugby Warrior Paulo wrote:
It is with interest that I learnt the other day that the charity shop opposite where I work is being moved when the market is 'regenerated'. I wonder why charity shops "move" when every other shop just closes???? Perhaps the council should look into affordable rents for traders. Then perhaps we'd get some proper shops back.
couldnt agree more , but i would go one further and issue a bussiness rates amnesty for 5 years for anyone who take on a hight street shop as long as they employ at least 3 local people.
[quote][p][bold]Rugby Warrior Paulo[/bold] wrote: It is with interest that I learnt the other day that the charity shop opposite where I work is being moved when the market is 'regenerated'. I wonder why charity shops "move" when every other shop just closes???? Perhaps the council should look into affordable rents for traders. Then perhaps we'd get some proper shops back.[/p][/quote]couldnt agree more , but i would go one further and issue a bussiness rates amnesty for 5 years for anyone who take on a hight street shop as long as they employ at least 3 local people. gadget

12:02pm Wed 14 Nov 12

RachaelP says...

Once again the Welsh Assembly prove to be totally useless. It’s often bandied about that people WANT out of town shopping centres but they don’t. People want local. Local town, local shops, local businesses - but local people can’t afford to locate to the town centre because the rates and rents are so ridiculous.

All that’s going to be anywhere soon is just chain bars, chain restaurants, chain shops. Ridiculous.
Once again the Welsh Assembly prove to be totally useless. It’s often bandied about that people WANT out of town shopping centres but they don’t. People want local. Local town, local shops, local businesses - but local people can’t afford to locate to the town centre because the rates and rents are so ridiculous. All that’s going to be anywhere soon is just chain bars, chain restaurants, chain shops. Ridiculous. RachaelP

3:38pm Wed 14 Nov 12

SizzlerTrainers says...

While this is great news for Wales, the language and the people, how about giving some support to one of the biggest conurbations in Wales and stop funnelling all the money and resources into making Cardiff the bloated monster it has become. The place I refer to is Newport, a City with a lot to offer, but which has been systematically starved of investment and support in order to ensure that AM's have somewhere nice to stroll about at lunch time whilst bimbling about at the Senedd. The conscious dismantling of the City and it's surrounding environs is bordering on the criminal, and sadly, the electorate of Newport keep voting in successive Labour councils who will generally take it from the man, and thank him on the way out. Socialism in Wales is dead and buried, Cardiff is King, and the rest can go hang, which is something the elected AM's should do with their heads, as they have ripped the heart and soul out of Gwent and Newport in particular, but as long as Cardiff and the Vale are happy, who cares? Well, a lot of people actually, but Carwyn Jones has a plan for us, what is it you ask? "less shops", genius, I'll sleep better at night knowing Carwyn is looking out for us.
While this is great news for Wales, the language and the people, how about giving some support to one of the biggest conurbations in Wales and stop funnelling all the money and resources into making Cardiff the bloated monster it has become. The place I refer to is Newport, a City with a lot to offer, but which has been systematically starved of investment and support in order to ensure that AM's have somewhere nice to stroll about at lunch time whilst bimbling about at the Senedd. The conscious dismantling of the City and it's surrounding environs is bordering on the criminal, and sadly, the electorate of Newport keep voting in successive Labour councils who will generally take it from the man, and thank him on the way out. Socialism in Wales is dead and buried, Cardiff is King, and the rest can go hang, which is something the elected AM's should do with their heads, as they have ripped the heart and soul out of Gwent and Newport in particular, but as long as Cardiff and the Vale are happy, who cares? Well, a lot of people actually, but Carwyn Jones has a plan for us, what is it you ask? "less shops", genius, I'll sleep better at night knowing Carwyn is looking out for us. SizzlerTrainers

5:25pm Wed 14 Nov 12

Bobevans says...

The spin on this grows day by day. When it was first proposed to be opened the line was going to go to Newport with a lter extension to Cardiff. Once approval toopen the line was obtained mysteriously the priority was switched.
The spin on this grows day by day. When it was first proposed to be opened the line was going to go to Newport with a lter extension to Cardiff. Once approval toopen the line was obtained mysteriously the priority was switched. Bobevans

10:37pm Wed 14 Nov 12

maindeegirl says...

Sizzlertrainers is spot on. I cannot believe that the area I live in voted in as councilors a 19 year old student & a so called pop star rapper from Cardiff, just because they are Labour, they really couldn't do a worse job if they tried. WAG should be abolished ASAP
Sizzlertrainers is spot on. I cannot believe that the area I live in voted in as councilors a 19 year old student & a so called pop star rapper from Cardiff, just because they are Labour, they really couldn't do a worse job if they tried. WAG should be abolished ASAP maindeegirl

3:07pm Thu 15 Nov 12

james jackson says...

Well said Severn40. That's about the gist of it. There is no backlash against the ruling Labour incompetents, just blind obeisance and forelock-tugging from the Newport populace!
We're "ever-so-'umble" in Newport and know our place, which is down at the bottom of the pile.
We let our good old Labour masters rule over us and they tell us what to do.
And because we're pretty stupid, with no discernment and precious little political education, we believe these people are our saviours.
They're not. The present lot in Newport are in thrall to their Assembly "county councillors". There's hardly a well-educated man or woman between them! Definitely of the second eleven.
Not at all inspiring, in my opinion.
What exactly do Newport's two AMs do, apart from pick up very fat salaries? They don't fight for Newport people, but they do "fight" to stay in office.
The erstwhile barrister who is the First Minister should be ashamed of himself, telling Newport to think small and get used to the idea of fewer shops.
Maybe Mr Jones could tell us what's happening to the city centre regeneration? Is it ever likely to happen?
If it doesn't Labour will have prevailed over two failed shopping centres. Will they be held to account?
Don't be silly, this is South Wales!
Well said Severn40. That's about the gist of it. There is no backlash against the ruling Labour incompetents, just blind obeisance and forelock-tugging from the Newport populace! We're "ever-so-'umble" in Newport and know our place, which is down at the bottom of the pile. We let our good old Labour masters rule over us and they tell us what to do. And because we're pretty stupid, with no discernment and precious little political education, we believe these people are our saviours. They're not. The present lot in Newport are in thrall to their Assembly "county councillors". There's hardly a well-educated man or woman between them! Definitely of the second eleven. Not at all inspiring, in my opinion. What exactly do Newport's two AMs do, apart from pick up very fat salaries? They don't fight for Newport people, but they do "fight" to stay in office. The erstwhile barrister who is the First Minister should be ashamed of himself, telling Newport to think small and get used to the idea of fewer shops. Maybe Mr Jones could tell us what's happening to the city centre regeneration? Is it ever likely to happen? If it doesn't Labour will have prevailed over two failed shopping centres. Will they be held to account? Don't be silly, this is South Wales! james jackson

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