Page last updated at 05:30 GMT, Tuesday, 6 May 2008 06:30 UK

Fears over Ryder Cup development

Artist's impression of Friars Walk
An artist's impression of Friars Walk, which will have shops and a cinema

Plans to complete a landmark shopping centre in Newport in time for the Ryder Cup in 2010 have been thrown into doubt because of the credit crunch.

Work on the 200m Friars Walk scheme, which will include over 50 shops and a cinema, was due to have begun by now.

But developers Modus have failed to secure enough funding due to fragile financial markets.

The local Chamber of Commerce said not finishing the centre by the time golf fans visit would be "devastating".

Work on another development - a 30-storey residential and retail building called City Spires - was also due to begin this summer but Modus say it is now not a priority and is under review.

Instead, it says it is concentrating on Friars Walk to ensure it is completed in time for the Ryder Cup, which is being held at the nearby Celtic Manor Resort in October 2010.

If we're not careful people are going to start scrubbing out Newport off the map of Wales because it couldn't get itself ready or work towards this big tournament
Patrick Long, head of Newport and Gwent Chamber of Commerce

It says it believes it can still get the funding needed to complete the project.

John Burrows, chief executive of the regeneration company Newport Unlimited, said it was a "tough call" to say whether the development would be ready in time.

"It was going to be ready in time for the Ryder Cup had we started several months ago," he said.

"There may be things they can do on site. It will certainly be substantially completed.

"The cranes will have gone, the whole building will be up, It will be in the fitting out stages or it will already be open, which will be fantastic if that's possible.

"But there may be opportunities to catch up on site but it will be a very, very tough call."

Artist's impression of City Spires
City Spires, shown here in an artist's impression, is not a priority

Patrick Long, head of Newport and Gwent Chamber of Commerce, said Newport's image to the rest of the world was at stake.

"I don't want to be a doom and gloom merchant because I'm not like that," he said.

"But that could be devastating for Newport and if we're not careful people are going to start scrubbing out Newport off the map of Wales because it couldn't get itself ready or work towards this big tournament."

In a statement, Modus said it was in talks with two major European banks about the funding and that discussions were going well.

It said contracts had already been exchanged with Debenhams, Marks and Spencer, New Look, Boots, River Island, JJB, Pizza Express and Nandos, which account for 60% of lettable floor space at the development.

"Modus believes that despite the banking sectors' current liquidity issues, the combination of Friars Walk's competitive rental base, Newport's excellent regional access and Modus' track record on delivery mean that the scheme will be delivered as programmed in 2010," it said.

"In regards to City Spires, Friars Walk is the priority at the moment. We are carrying out a strategic review of the City Spires development taking into account current requirements and market conditions."

In the run up to the Ryder Cup, Newport is set to see more than 50 projects carried out as part of the city's regeneration.




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Hear the views of people living in Newport who are gearing up for the sporting event.



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