Newport has a real opportunity to reverse years of decline and regenerate itself as a “City on the Rise”, a special summit was told today.
The first-ever Newport City Summit was addressed by business and council leaders, academics and officials, and attended by 150 of the city’s key stakeholders.
The summit was convened by Newport City Council and the reNewport Task Force which in December delivered a report to the Welsh Government recommending ways to drive economic growth in the city. The event at the Newport City Campus of the University of South Wales was sponsored by The Celtic Manor Resort.
Delegates were told that 2014 is a year of unprecedented opportunity for Newport with a number of significant events and milestones on the horizon. These include:
– The commencement of construction on the Friars Walk retail development
– Regeneration of Commercial Street with £13m of Welsh Government
– “Vibrant and Viable Places” funding
– The NATO Summit
– Admiral moving into new city centre offices with 490 staff
– 175th anniversary of Chartist Rising
– Work planned to start on new Wales International Convention Centre at Celtic Manor
The summit sought to build on the findings in the reNewport report and identify the stakeholders who can form the nucleus of a new economic development partnership to take those recommendations forward.
The Leader of Newport City Council, Cllr Bob Bright opened proceedings by talking about Friars Walk and further city centre regeneration before Simon Gibson, the Chairman of reNewport Task Force, explored driving business growth.
Ian Edwards, the Chief Executive of Celtic Manor, talked on the benefits which will be brought to Newport by the NATO Summit and the new Wales International Convention Centre, and Simon Powell, Chief Executive of EYSYS, talked about Newport as a cutting-edge, technology city.
The city’s sporting pedigree and facilities were highlighted by FAW Trust Chief Executive Neil Ward and Gill Sandford, Dean of the Faculty of Creative Industries at the University of South Wales, discussed Newport’s cultural and creative assets.
Lively Q&A sessions followed the presentations and delegates expressed a real desire to maximize the opportunities outlined. The summit was closed by Newport City Council Chief Executive Will Godfrey.
Councillor Bright said:
Newport has been through some very tough times in recent years but it does now feel as though a brighter future beckons. I am sure that 2014 will be seen as a turning point for the city as the Friars Walk scheme in John Frost Square takes shape; Admiral moves into new offices in the city centre and the £15 million vibrant and viable places funding awarded to the council by the Welsh Government sparks a new phase of regeneration.
We have much to be proud of in Newport, from the cutting-edge technology businesses that are established here to our sporting and cultural heritage and facilities, and I hope that everyone will help to make the city the great place to live and work that we know it can and should be.