NEWPORT was described as a "city on the rise" at a debate regarding its ongoing regeneration at the Senedd.

The discussion, led by Newport East AM John Griffiths, explored the ways in which the city has changed and is changing for the better.

Mr Griffiths opened proceedings by describing the obstacles that the city faces as it looks to develop as well as key areas of the local economy.

He said: "Steel of course is still very important as an industry in Newport and the challenge ahead is to maintain and grow out existing strengths such as steel while also developing new jobs and growth that will make the city thrive again in the 21st century as it did in the past.

"The key them is partnership, it is absolutely central with collaboration between Welsh Government and local government, private and public sector are driving this regeneration forward."

Mr Griffiths went on to describe the Friars Walk development as the "cornerstone" of the regeneration process having created jobs and footfall to the city centre.

He also hailed the South Wales Argus as a "champion of Newport" and reinforced his support for our "Backing Newport" campaign.

The prestigious Celtic Manor Resort and the equally prestigious events it has held since 2010 such as the Ryder Cup and NATO summit was also brought forward, along with the prospective £100m convention centre which is "set to dwarf" the hotel itself.

Summing up, Mr Griffiths said: "The optimism is very heartening, it shows that with the right leadership, investment and partnership working that the challenges that we face over the the next few years to provide more jobs, more liveable space and a thriving economy can be met."

Newport West AM Jayne Bryant spoke of her pride at the city in which she was born, was brought up and currently lives.

Ms Bryant referenced iconic landmarks such as the Roman ruins at Caerleon, the city's "rich" maritime history, the "majestic Transporter Bridge" as well as its cultural and sporting heritage.

She added: "We’ve a rich history and we’re a city that must continue to rise."

Mohammad Asghar, AM for South Wales East, highlighted the ongoing battle Newport is undergoing to cope with changes in retail attitudes.

"Like many other towns and cities Newport has suffered due to changes in shopping habits

"The latest local data company reports ranks Newport as one of the worst performing town centres for retail and leisure vacancies with a rate of over 25 percent.

"But it is good to see the work that is going on to regenerate the city."

Concluding the debate, cabinet secretary for communities and children, Carl Sargeant said that Mr Griffiths' passion was "inspiring".

Referencing the events held at the Celtic Manor, Mr Sargeant added: "These events have put Newport and Wales on the map and with the eyes of the world were upon us, Wales delivered - Newport delivered."