South East Wales

£60m Newport building project axed over violence claims

Derelict Sainsbury's store in Shaftsbury Newport Image copyright Google

Developers say they are pulling out of a £60m scheme to redevelop a former supermarket site in Newport over claims of vandalism and violence.

The Fear Group was planning to build 600 student flats at the old Sainsbury's site on Shaftesbury Street.

Following a large fire at the location on Wednesday evening, the firm told BBC Wales it would now sell the land.

Fire investigators have confirmed the blaze was started deliberately.

Speaking to BBC Radio Wales, the company's director Stephen Fear said they were pulling out of the project because of threats and attacks "from yobs".

He also cited delays over the demolition of the former Sainsbury's supermarket as a reason for the sale.

He told the Good Evening Wales programme that there had been numerous problems in the last few months.

Mr Fear said vandals and thieves had already caused nearly a million pounds worth of damage to the site before the arson attack overnight.


"I was threatened on site by seven young people. My son was threatened by a drug addict who was in a canopy under the building- this guy threatened him with a needle.

"We're sick and tired of it. With the threats and with the apparent lawlessness in this part of Newport, we've just come to the decision that this is a job for someone else and not us."

He said they would move investment to where it was "perhaps more welcome".


Council leaders in the city said they hoped to discuss the matter with Mr Fear "to enable this much anticipated and important regeneration scheme to proceed".

"I am disappointed to hear that the Fear Group has reached this decision," said the council leader, Debbie Wilcox.

"We have worked with, and are continuing to work with, developers on extremely successful projects.

"There is a lot of potential in the city and we know there are people who want to invest in Newport."

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