THERE have been calls for Newport to become "innovative" in the way the city centre is made attractive to potential visitors.

Last week Jayne Bryant MS for Newport West put the point to minister for economy Ken Skates.

“The pandemic has hit our already struggling city centres hard," she said.

"I believe the pandemic will permanently change our relationship with town centres. We have to be innovative in how we support and develop them to attract footfall.

"I have been pleased to see the exciting plans of a knowledge quarter involving the college a brand new leisure centre and the redevelopment of the old market, but a lot more needs to happen."

Ms Bryant asked how the Welsh Government were planning on helping city centres following the pandemic.


Mr Skates mentioned that Newport City Council had been allocated around £7 million in grant and loan funding in support of its Transforming Towns programme.

"These projects include £1.2 million towards a £2.9 million project to improve the city centre's Market Arcade," he said.

He praised Ms Bryant's continued "passion in promoting Newport".

"We'll be working with the Welsh Retail Consortium in developing that strategy, and we'll also be working alongside trade union colleagues in social partnership to ensure that as many people as possible can be retained within the sector, even if it means upskilling or re-skilling in order to take on new opportunities," he said.

"The 'town centre first' approach, which has been so strongly embraced by local authorities, businesses and by business improvement districts across Wales will continue, and additional investment has been announced for the Transforming Towns initiative.

"In the meantime, we've announced an additional £30 million for that sector-specific fund, which will prove so important to businesses in retail, in hospitality, in leisure and tourism, within Newport and across Wales.”