THE company aiming to regenerate Newport wants to bring two empty former hotels back into use.

Newport Unlimited is to undertake a feasibility review with Newport Council to see what can be done with the Kings Hotel and the Westgate Hotel.

Gareth Beer, chief executive of Newport Unlimited, said the firm is to consult with the owners and other parties that might have interest in the buildings. The reviewis set to start shortly and will begin in the summer.

Mr Beer said: “The former Kings and Westgate Hotels are important and historic Newport buildings, both in key city centre locations.

“Werecognise that finding a solution, particularly in the short term, might prove difficult, but will be consulting with the owners and other parties that have an interest in the buildings.”

He added they will aim to find practical solutions.

The Argus reported in January that the Kings Hotel on High Street ceased trading with immediate effect.

The grade-II listed Westgate Hotel on Commercial Street has been empty for several years and was reported in 2011 to be on the council’s register of buildings at risk.

Last year the council agreed a £7,000 survey of the building, which still bears scars of the Chartist uprising in 1839, to establish the cost of restoring it.

Mike Turner, butcher at AD Turner and Sons, in Newport Market, who said: “Something has got to be done. You can’t let it become an eyesore.”

Trudi Duffield, owner of Ferris’ Revived fish and chip shop near the bus station, said: “The Kings Hotel is very important. It was the only proper hotel in Newport.”

Newport Chamber of Trade, president Ken Ellis said: “It would be wonderful to bring these historical buildings back into use as hotels.”

Ed Townsend, sitting Lib Dem councillor for St Julians and regeneration cabinet member for Newport council, said he had been working to try to bring an organisation, who he couldn’t name, to come into at least part of the Westgate Hotel for nearly a year, saying: “It’s important that as part of that gateway area that the Kings Hotel has every chance of coming back into use.”

EDITORIAL COMMENT: Save hotels from ruin

WE fully support the calls for two prominent hotels to be brought back into use and breath new life into Newport city centre.

Newport Unlimited is looking at what it can do to ensure the Kings Hotel and Westgate Hotel are not left to go to ruin.

Along with Newport Council, it is in talks with the owners and other parties to see what can be done.

Of course, there is no magic wand and in the current financial climate we can see the difficulty in attracting anyone to these sites.

However, they are key buildings and any firm that has the foresight to see that the financial crisis will not go on forever will see huge potential in either of the sites.

These two buildings, with their historic importance, play a vital role in the city and should be central to regeneration plans.

It would be a crying shame to see them decay but the hope now is that this won’t happen.

Clearly, they would make great hotels for the right company, but if that is not viable we imagine they could also make great offices.

We’re just pleased to see they are not being forgotten.

Newport has seen some difficult times recently with big names pulling out of the city centre. Anything that can be done to preserve the city and make it an attractive and vibrant place to visit and shop will always be welcome.