Edwina Hart, Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science
I am today announcing the establishment of a Business Development Project in Newport to explore the business growth potential of Newport City Centre. This follows constructive discussions with the Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage and Cllr Bob Bright, Leader of Newport City Council.
City Centres are key enablers of strong and sustainable communities. We are aware of the challenges that require urgent focus and attention in Newport but we also recognise that there are some real opportunities and we intend to identify these through working with the private sector on this Business Development Project. This project will complement and support our existing economic development and regeneration activities. These include the encouragement of City Regions and support for Business Improvement Districts (BIDs).
I have agreed Terms of Reference for the Business Development Project. Its key objectives include:
- Considering short; medium and long-term barriers to business growth in Newport.
- Exploring opportunities for future business development.
- Identifying solutions and making recommendations for the short; medium and long-term.
I expect the Business Development Project to work closely with the Department for, Housing Regeneration and Heritage, placing a strong emphasis on the role of housing in the City Centre as a means of regeneration. Private-sector involvement in the project will be a key to the success of this project in combating some of the major challenges facing our city and town centres.
I have agreed for a Project Manager to be funded through my Department and for a private sector steering-group to be formed to guide the work of the Project Manager. I expect a report to be provided within six months; with the following six months spent implementing any short term actions that have been agreed and ensuring the foundations are in place for the medium to longer-term. I will continue to keep Assembly Members updated on progress.