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In less than two years, a demolition site has been replaced with a 21st century retail and leisure destination that has put Newport on the map.

January 2014 saw the blowing up of the derelict Capitol car park – a symbol of the old making way for the new with a big bang.

Before that, Newport had a long and sometimes bumpy ride to secure its vision of a new scheme to revitalise the city centre.

However, once the funding was secured thanks to a £90 million loan from the city council to development partners Queensberry Real Estate, Friars Walk took shape very quickly.

Councillor Bob Bright, Leader of Newport City Council, said: “It is absolutely remarkable that so much has been done in such a short

space of time and it is a tribute to all those who have worked so hard to get to this point.

“The centre was 85 per cent let by the day of opening – a considerable achievement – and more are expected to sign up in the coming months.

“There will undoubtedly be some finishing touches still to be made but the important thing is that Friars Walk is open ahead of Christmas, making this a very special festive season for the city.

“Newport has been waiting for a scheme like this for 40 years and we are finally there. I’m sure that people will flock to the city centre for the big names and the independents, both in Friars Walk and the wider city centre.

“I would like to thank all those who have made our vision a reality: our development partners Queensberry Real Estate; contractors Bowmer and Kirkland; the businesses that



A time capsule buried in the new Friars Walk retail and leisure scheme will give future generations a glimpse of life in Newport today.

Schools in the city contributed items for the time capsule which is due to be opened in 50 years.

Pupils representing the participating schools were invited to the Friars

are preparing to welcome shoppers; and, of course, the council staff and councillors who have supported the scheme despite the challenges.”

Councillor John Richards, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Investment, added:

“This is a fine example of how local government, both staff and elected members, can do something on behalf of residents and businesses.

“This has been delivered by a team of people – the council, Queensberry Real Estate and contractors Bowmer and Kirkland.

“Many people wrote Newport off a few years ago and it was a difficult time for everyone but the council was determined to drive the scheme forward and that commitment and perseverance has now paid off.

“The feeling of confidence is spreading beyond Friars Walk with new businesses opening up in other

Walk site to watch Newport’s Mayor, Councillor Herbie Thomas, bury the capsule.

The time capsule was the idea of Councillor Majid Rahman and he also attended the ceremony.

Schools were invited to submit items and their contributions included DVDs of school concerts, memory sticks containing their

work, school ties, letters to “people in the future”, photographs of the city centre and the Newport Monopoly game.

There were also photographs from when Newport hosted the Nato summit in 2014. President Barack Obama visited Mount Pleasant Primary School and pupils from city schools were guests at a summit event at the Celtic Manor attended

by Mr Obama, Prince Charles

and the Prime Minister.

Another DVD contains a film of pupils from Caerleon, Llanwern and St Joseph’s RC comprehensive schools talking about why they were looking forward to the opening of Friars Walk and why Newport is a city on the rise.

6 For more news visit MATTERS DECEMBER 2015

parts of the city centre and new homes being created in landmark buildings. Our regeneration work will continue but we are now on the runway to success and everyone involved can be rightly proud of what has been achieved.’

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