A NEW bus station which was meant to be open before Christmas will now be open two days after Boxing Day after months of delays.

Meanwhile the Welsh business minister has suggested that problems with design had hit the project – disputing claims that confirmation of a grant had held it up.

Newport council said that the new bus terminal, which is expected to cater to between two and three million passenger a year, will open on Saturday, December 28.

Councillor Ken Critchley, Newport City Council cabinet member for infrastructure, said: “It is excellent news that the terminus will open on the weekend.

“I appreciate that the delay to its completion has been trying and I have shared that frustration.”

Cllr Critchley previously stated that a delay to a grant from the Welsh Government for the station held up the project, which was meant to have been finished by last summer, for two months.

He also said that ground condition issues and other “contractural matters” had hit the scheme.

But a letter from business minister Edwina Hart to Gwent Tory AM Mohammad Asghar says the timing of the confirmation of the grant would “not have impacted on the scheme’s progress. She wrote that quarterly progress reports submitted by the South East Wales Transport Alliance to the Welsh Government “indicate there have been problems associated with ground conditions and design.”

Johanna Davies, owner of Joan Davies the Florist on Upper Dock Street, said the delays had been “absolutely disgusting”. She said customers are thin on the ground.

Newport council said formal confirmation of the second phase of funding for the scheme was expected before the start of the 2013/14 financial year, but after the transport portfolio was transferred to Mrs Hart in March she reviewed all 13/14 projects and funding was confirmed in April. Until that was confirmed the authority could not go out to tender for fitting out the station until the start of May or award the contract until June.

“We were in no way blaming the minister or the Welsh Government but trying to explain one of the reasons why the project was delayed,” a spokeswoman said.

A probe into the reasons for the delay is ongoing.

The Welsh Government has funded the project to the tune of £900,000.

Services currently using part of the old bus station will transfer to the new terminus, while other services will continue to use temporary stops around the bus station as demolition work continues. As a result of thethe former bus station’sfull closure of , new temporary taxi ranks for Hackney cabs will also come into operate on at Baneswell Road, from 6pm to 6am, on Queensway from 11pm to 6am, at North Street for 24 hours, at Corn Street from 10am-6am, and Upper Dock Street.