Developers sought for John Frost Square in Newport

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John Frost Square
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Newport council wants to transform John Frost Square into a modern shopping centre

Developers are being sought for a multi-million pound scheme which would transform part of Newport city centre.

The aim is to turn John Frost Square into a "modern, vibrant" shopping centre as soon as possible.

Advertisements inviting interest from developers will be put out next month.

A previous £200m scheme to build a shopping centre in the same area was scrapped last year after developers pulled out.

Newport council said developers had already indicated that the latest scheme was "very attractive".

"We will be expecting potential partners to meet our high specifications as we want a quality development that will encourage shoppers back and persuade major retailers to stay in the city centre," said Councillor Matthew Evans, leader of Newport City Council.

"The people of Newport have been waiting a long time for a new shopping scheme and we are determined to do everything in our power to make it become a reality.

"A lot of the groundwork has already been done so when a new development partner is chosen, work can begin very quickly and officers have been working around the clock to ensure we can go to the market next month."

Newport's Celtic Manor Resort hosted the Ryder Cup earlier this month attracting tens of thousands of golf fans each day.

A giant screen showing all the action was erected in John Frost Square as part of a "fanzone" with food stalls and mini golf.

The Ryder Cup provided a boost to the city at a time when it has been hit by the recession.

'Positive step'

Councillor Ed Townsend, deputy leader and cabinet member for economic development, said the council was "still battling the effects of the recession" but added the development plan was a "really positive step forward for Newport".

"Although we cannot give any guarantees about the future - no-one can - a number of leading developers have already indicated the scheme is very attractive and Newport has the edge over other locations planning new developments because many of the preparatory stages are already complete," he said.

"We hope that this positive step forward will encourage major retailers, such as Marks and Spencer, to remain in the city centre and we are trying to persuade those companies that are proposing to leave to change their minds.

"But just as importantly, we believe a new shopping scheme will benefit all traders in the city centre including our many and varied independent businesses who, as proved by a recent survey, offer the best service in the UK."