By Richard Wright
THE BIGGEST transformation of Newport's centre for years, which will give the town a new bus station and a retail centre with a floor area of 50,000 sq ft, was approved by councillors this week.
They approved in principle the multi-million pound scheme, which is predicted to attract new High Street names to the Island, and agreed to fine tune the design with the developer in the coming weeks.
It probably spells the death for any major retail development on the nearby fire station site, which is now likely to be earmarked for mainly residential development.
Director of Halladale Developments Allan Lockhart said after the plan gained unanimous approval on Tuesday:
"We hope to make a start on the new bus station in the winter to minimise disruption.
"We would anticipate that element will take four months to complete and that the whole project will be completed within 12 months. It will attract High Street names that want to come to the IW but at the moment cannot find suitable premises.
"There is a severe shortage of 2,000 to 15,000 sq ft units on the Island.
"It is not the sort of development that will include pubs and clubs," he said.
Approval for the three-storey retail block, plus revamping the adjacent Inland Revenue offices with shops on the ground floor and creating a new bus station with passenger facilities behind the current bus station, comes nearly a year after the application was lodged and after studies of the effect on other retailers and traffic levels and movements in the town.
For full report and picture see the Friday, July 16 edition of the County Press.