THE leader of Newport Council has dismissed speculation that Friars Walk shopping centre is under new ownership.

Jane Mudd confirmed there had been “no change in owner” of the city centre retail destination “since 2019”.

She was responding to a question from council opposition leader Matthew Evans, who questioned why no details of a rumoured change had been publicised.

I understand that Friars Walk has new owners and the council has refused to provide details about them,” Cllr Evans said in his written question to the leader. “Can you please tell me why there appears to be so much secrecy about it?

“Do you think council taxpayers deserve openness and transparency in this matter, and will you now provide details of the owners?”

But Cllr Mudd said there was “no secrecy in relation to the ownership of Friars Walk” and dismissed speculation about a new owner.

“There has been no change in the ownership of Friars Walk since 2019”, she said, adding the “position remains” that Newport City Council owns the freehold to the site.

“The headlease is owned by Friars Walk LH Limited,” Cllr Mudd added. “The Sub-lease is held jointly by ANW TDS (Nominee 1) Limited and ANW TDS (Nominee 2) Limited and has been since it was assigned in April 2019.”

Friars Walk opened in November 2015 on the site of the city’s former bus station, boasting a combination of shopping, dining and entertainment venues.