These first few weeks of a new year are often a time for review, reflection and re-evaluation of what is important to us.

Although probably on a larger and more complex scale, this is certainly a process that the administration of Newport City Council has been going through recently.

Following the local elections in May, it was an opportunity to look carefully at what has been achieved in Newport and more importantly, how we want to build on that over the next few years.

We have carefully reviewed our priorities, focussing both on what services are most important to our residents, but also how we can best use the limited funds available to us for the maximum benefit.

From this, and always considering the promises made in our election manifesto, we developed and launched a new corporate plan which will help guide our decisions over the next five years.

It sets out how the council aims to ‘Build on Success’ and ‘Build a Better Newport’, focusing on jobs and the economy, education and skills, fairness and equality, community safety and cohesion, the environment, transport, culture and social well-being.

Later this month we will be holding the fifth Newport City Summit.

This event is proving to be an important fixture in the calendar of city leaders, businesses and people interested in Newport's progress.

It is a very exciting time for the city and there's a lot of interest from potential investors as our profile and reputation as a great place to do business grows.

The event will hear about several major projects that are in the pipeline.

For example, just before Christmas we very pleased to have signed-off an agreement that will support the redevelopment of the former Royal Mail sorting office, a prominent eyesore building, into offices and a hotel.

Garrison Barclay Estates, the company behind the scheme has also worked with the council to acquire Chartist Tower and the surrounding retail units, including the former BhS department store. Regeneration of this property, which fronts on to Commercial Street, will help deliver continued growth in the city centre.

As a council, we want to do everything we can to see the city thrive and grow and that means being bold and innovative to ensure those opportunities do not slip through our fingers but become a reality as soon as possible.

I have high hopes for the coming year and wish you all a positive 2018.

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda