Page last updated at 16:39 GMT, Wednesday, 10 June 2009 17:39 UK

City's 200m shops plan scrapped


Newport council hopes a new developer can be found

A new multimillion pound shopping centre in Newport has been scrapped after the firm behind the development pulled out.

The £200m Friars Walk shopping centre was initially supposed to be completed in time for the 2010 Ryder Cup.

Newport council plan to retender the project and find a new developer for the site.

Council leader Matthew Evans said they had not been prepared to accept a scaled down version of the project.

The original plan by Modus Corovest had featured a flagship Debenhams store, but work was delayed last year because of the credit crunch.

Mr Evans said: "As far as the council is concerned we have reached the stage where a definite decision needs to be taken on the future of Friars Walk.

"We have done all we can as a council to get this scheme to the stage where the developers had to come up with the funding and go on site.


"They have failed to do this and have now told us that because of the economic downturn they are currently not in a position to deliver the intended scheme.

"Such is the importance of this project for Newport we are not prepared to accept a scaled down version and will therefore open up the scheme to other interested parties."

In addition to Friars Walk, £100m is being spent on regenerating the city during the next 18 months.

The £25m Kingsway Shopping Centre, next to the proposed Friars Walk, is nearing completion.

Mr Evans said there had been no lack of interest in the scheme from shops and businesses, and added much of the groundwork had been done, including road infrastructure, an almost completed new car park and planning permissions.

John Burrows, chief executive of the urban redevelopment company Newport Unlimited, is optimistic about the chances of finding another developer.

"It takes about eight to 10 years to get shopping centre schemes completed. Only two to three years of that is the construction stage," he said.

"Already about four years of that has been successfully undertaken.

"Unfortunately there aren't new shops opening next year for the people of Newport."

However he continued: "The Ryder Cup will be just as successful in Newport without the shopping centre as it would be with it."

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