Page last updated at 11:33 GMT, Tuesday, 28 September 2010 12:33 UK
Ryder Cup city is 'scruffy' claim traders
By Selma Chalabi
BBC South East Wales

Building work in Newport city centre
Evidence of road works could still be seen in the city on Monday

Three days before the Ryder Cup is due to tee off, some traders in Newport have complained that not enough has been done to tidy up their city.

Businesses are hoping to benefit from extra visitors coming to Newport for the golf tournament starting Friday.

But many on the High Street say they're "hopeful but not holding out".

Newport Council insisted the city centre had been improved in time for the tournament with "a lot of planning, preparation and hard work" going in.

As the US team arrived in Cardiff on Monday, some traders expressed concern that many people would bypass the city centre altogether.

Jane Turner runs the Butchers Table, a small burger bar in the middle of Newport's High Street a short walk from the new £22m train station.

An empty shop front in Newport
The recession has hit Newport hard - empty shops line the High Street

"Most people will skirt round Newport and go to Cardiff or Bristol", she said.

"Newport has a reputation for being rough and nothing has been done to change that.

"The city is scruffy and not enough has been done to tidy it up."

Opposite Jan's store is an empty shop front, and just up the road are two skips and some roadworks.

The feeling amongst traders we talked to was despondency at the thought of missing out.

Most of them believe that visitors will step out of Newport station straight on to a bus to the Celtic Manor where the Ryder Cup is taking place.

Leigh Berry of Revolution Bar, Newport
More could have been done to encourage footfall into the city centre
Leigh Berry, Revolution bar

But just round the corner is Newport's Revolution bar. Leigh Berry is the general manager and he's been getting ready for the event.

"I've changed the menu for the Ryder Cup and added a new selection to our breakfast menu", he said.

"I've added pastries and easy foods for people to grab and go.

"I'm hopeful we'll see a boost, but I'm not holding out. More could have been done to encourage footfall into the city centre".

Newport council insisted that the city centre had been improved in time for the tournament.

"Newport City Council has been preparing to host The Ryder Cup for months and a lot of planning, preparation and hard work has ensured that the city is in a position to host a memorable 38th Ryder Cup," said a spokesperson.

Welcome to Newport poster
Posters and banners welcome visitors to the Ryder Cup host city

"The city centre has been regenerated and from city dressing to extensive building projects a permanent legacy will be left long after The Ryder Cup has departed."

Red banners line the streets proclaiming that Newport is the host city, and John Frost Square will be turned in to a fan zone, but Jane Turner is not convinced.

"It's all very well hanging up banners and dressing trees, but if there are empty shops that haven't been cleaned up, it doesn't really do much," she said.

"I'm not expecting to gain from this event."

But some businesses in the city have already benefited. Maria Thomas, general manager of the Kings Hotel at the top of the High Street, said they were fully booked and had been busy for some time.

"It's not just about the three days - over the past six weeks we've had more business than we usually would have," she said.

"It's all connected to the Ryder Cup - contractors working on projects such as the station bridge, and on road works, but also people directly connected to the Ryder Cup organisation".

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