BUSINESSES in Newport city centre could be in line for relief on their business rates after the Welsh Government said the impact of redevelopment works will be looked at.

Last Sunday demolition workers used explosives to bring down the Capitol car park, the latest step to prepare the city centre for the £90 million Friars Walk development.

But businesses have been concerned at the impact the works could be having on their businesses in the meantime.

Newport Chamber of Trade president Alan Edwards has lobbied Newport East AM John Griffiths for help to see if traders could be given relief on their business rates.

Now the Valuation Office Agency has agreed to meet Mr Edwards and to assess the impact of the works and would “consider if any adjustments to rates liabilities are required”, according to a letter from economy minister Edwina Hart to Mr Griffiths.

Mr Edwards said the chamber of trade had been pressing the Welsh Government for over 12 months on the issue.

“Now that the demolition work has disrupted the city centre even more and the re-organisation of the buses has affected footfall, they have at last responded,” he said.

“We look forward to organising a meeting of businesses with the valuation office and securing a reduction in non domestic rates for the city centre.”

Mr Griffiths said he was pleased to try to facilitate a meeting between Newport businesses and the valuation office, adding: “I think it’s very useful for that to take place and I hope very much we see a positive outcome from the meeting.”

Demolition works for Friars Walk, backed by £1.5 million of Welsh Government funding, started late last year.

Among the buildings planned to be cleared were the old bus station, the Capitol car park and shops in John Frost Square.

It is hoped the first phase of demolition work will be complete in February with works on Friars Walk beginning in March.

Newport council has agreed to loan £90 million to developers Queensberry to build the project – money the authority will itself borrow.