AN economic regeneration windfall of more than £2.5 million for Newport has moved one step closer.

The city council’s cabinet yesterday afternoon approved a protocol that will enable it to spend the money in Newport.

It has been generated as a result of projects carried out by urban regeneration company Newport Unlimited, set up by the council and the Welsh Government in 2002 to drive the long term revival of the city’s fortunes.

Several joint ventures were undertaken through Newport Unlimited with the aim of economic regeneration, including the development of Old Town Dock and the renting out of Alacrity House, on the riverfront, as a business incubator hub.

Newport Unlimited was wound up in 2012, but its value in providing a platform for the city’s regeneration is proving longer than its 10-year lifespan.

In all, more than £2.85m has been accrued from the aforementioned two schemes.

A little over £2.6m has come from the Old Town Dock scheme, this having been the sum agreed as capital receipts payment during the life of the project. The final payment to make up that total is due in August 2017.

The Welsh Government has already committed to investing £300,000 of that money - £150,000 for the University of South Wales National Cyber Academy, and £150,000 towards creating a digital hub.

But the agreement yesterday of the protocol for spending the remainder is set to free up £2.3m for the council.

And this will be bolstered by £244,000 in rent from Alacrity House, making around £2.55m.

The council wants to target this at economic regeneration schemes in the city, in addition to what has been completed or is ongoing.

The council is not revealing what sort of schemes it has in mind, but now that a protocol for spending the money has been agreed, it will look at the options.

Council leader Debbie Wilcox welcomed the agreement of the protocol adding that “the money can rightly be spent where it was generated - in Newport.”

A report on the issue, considered by cabinet members yesterday, states that there are “significant benefits” to the council.

It further states: “The use of this fund for

regeneration purposes is in accordance with the council’s well-being powers under Section 2 of the Local Government Act 2000.”

It also highlights the money as “a potential source of funding for the continued economic regeneration of the city centre, in a climate where capital funding availability is limited, eg the current uncertainty over the future of the Vibrant and Viable Places programme.”

The latter programme has seen millions of pounds invested in Newport on schemes to renovate rundown city centre buildings.

The council is also involved in the drawing up of a Local Wellbeing Plan, targeted at improving the economic, social, environmental and cultural wellbeing of the area.

As part of that process, an assessment

of local wellbeing has indicated that city centre regeneration and business growth should remain a high priority.

The cabinet report also highlights other projects that came under the remit of Newport Unlimited which might bring in a profit in future, and which could be included as part of the protocol.

These include land south of the University of South Wales campus on the riverfront, the campus itself, land at Mission Court, and land south of the Southern Distributor Road.