PLANS for a £12million redevelopment of Newport Market, seen as a key part of regenerating the city centre, have moved a step closer.

Newport City Council's cabinet has agreed to grant a proposed development lease and loan funding for the project, which includes a tech hub and apartments, while retaining market units and a food court.

Loft Co, the company behind the project, has said all current market traders will be offered a unit within the new development, although they might be relocated within the building due to the current number being reduced.

Legal and financial diligence work on the project has now been completed, Wednesday's cabinet meeting heard.

Cllr Jane Mudd, cabinet member for regeneration, said the project would play a vital role in continuing to transform the city centre towards having more residential accommodation

"If you look at other cities across the UK that is what people want," said Cllr Mudd.

"I can't emphasise enough the impact this will have on how people perceive the city centre.

"It will increase the areas that people are coming and going from, creating a natural surveillance and helping to make people feel more safe and secure in the city centre."

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The plans include 64 mixed tenure one and two-bedroom residential units as well as 16 services apartments.

A high quality indoor market will be reduced in size by around 40 per cent but it will still be able to support existing tenants and new tenancies.

A tech hub will provide a collaborative business space, with the aim of attracting digital and technology companies.

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An image showing how the development could look

Council leader, Cllr Debbie Wilcox, said the development will act as a "key economic anchor" for the city centre.

Newport Norse, which provides property management services, said in its appraisal that the project is viable based on the development proposals.

Councillors agreed to grant a 250-year lease to the developers, based on the council receiving a 15 per cent share of rental income.

A loan for up to £8.9million at a commercial rate of interest was also agreed.

A group of traders have expressed concerns about parts of the scheme, saying it "will not deliver the modern market that the city requires."

But at Wednesday's meeting, Cllr Mark Whitcutt said the development would help regenerate the city centre.

"This is about improving the city centre and about acting for the public good," he added.

And Cllr Paul Cockeram added that although the old days of a vibrant market which he remembered were gone, the proposals could help secure a viable future.

"I do not think that we can go on putting money in the market when no one is going there," he added.

"We have got to make it viable."