By a County Press reporter

Friday, September 19, 2003



An artist's impression of how the new development planned for Newport Bus Station would look, viewed from the junction of St James's Street and South Street.

By Gavin Foster A NEW £7.5 million pound, three-storey retail development creating more than 100 jobs is being planned for the Newport Bus Station site.

The scheme lodged with planners this week seeks permission for 60,000 square feet of retail space - roughly twice the floor area of the neighbouring Somerfield store - housed in a striking glass-fronted building.

Under the proposals by commercial property company Halladale, a new transport interchange will be behind the development in Orchard Street.

If planning permission is granted, Halladale hopes to start work late in the summer of 2004, finishing about a year later.

The plans show eight retail units on the ground floor, a major retailer on the first floor and a mixture of retail/leisure/offices on the second floor.

The transport interchange will include a new ticket office, a cafe and waiting room, new toilets, upgraded security including a CCTV network, bike storage, Southern Vectis driver and staff facilities and offices and a control centre for the bus company.

The proposals also include the re-cladding of the existing 1960s office/retail development on the corner of South and St James's streets and the removal of the existing buildings from the rear of the site to open up the entrance to the Lord Louis Library.

Bowling Green Lane, the link to the St James's Street Conservation Area, would also be re-paved.

David Lockhart, Halladale chief executive, said the development would improve the town centre and attract new high street retailers to Newport.

He siad there had been interest from a number of retailers but would not confirm whoo these were.

"The development will provide retailers new to the IW with the size and quality of units that modern retailers require," he said.

"It will also be a catalyst for other new developments in the South Street area to further extend Newport's retail attractiveness."

Southern Vectis chief executive Stuart Linn said: "The new transport interchange will provide modern, up-to-date terminal and passenger facilities comparable with other towns in the UK.

"It demonstrates South-ern Vectis's commitment to continuing to invest in the Island's bus network.

"In particular, the new interchange will provide a safe and secure environment with new lighting, signage and waiting facilities together with on-site operational provision for drivers and other Southern Vectis staff," Mr Linn said.

Planners this week confirmed the plans had been lodged and said they hoped to bring the application before the development control committee in November.

A spokesman said the site was within the town centre retail boundary so there should not be any policy objections but the scheme would have to consider the fact it also bordered a conservation area.

Project architects are London-based Bernard Engle, specialists in shopping centre developments.

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