Some of Newport’s major developments are likely to be delayed due to the outbreak of coronavirus.
A number of exciting projects are currently in the pipeline in Wales' third largest city, including a £12 million redevelopment of Newport Market and the completion of the historic Chartist Tower redevelopment.
However, most construction work in the UK has ground to a standstill since the outbreak of Covid-19, threatening to push back the timelines of major developments.
Here’s an update on some of Newport’s key projects due to begin or complete work in the coming months:
Newport’s tallest building has been undergoing a multi-million pound redevelopment, including 30,000 sq ft of office space and 18,000 sq ft of retail space.
A 15-story, 150-bed Mercure Hotel was due to open in April, but the developers Garrison Barclay Estates have now confirmed the hotel opening is “on stop” and that the building is unlikely to open before next year.
The company said: “The hotel is near completion with the exception of the reception, restaurant and some decoration. We don’t anticipate opening Chartist Tower until January 2021 unless there is a dramatic change in the existing market.
“The offices, however, are near completion and we expect to move tenants into occupation shortly after the lockdown period has passed.”
Plans to overhaul Newport's iconic indoor market have long been in the works; in 2018, £12 million proposals to transform the market into a 24-hour living and work hub were given the go-ahead by the council.
Cardiff developers Loft Co are behind the revamp, and initially said a planning application would be submitted at the start of the year with a view to starting work in mid-may.
However, Newport City Council has confirmed this week it has yet to receive the application, making the timeline to start work in a few months decidedly tighter.
WalesOnline has contacted Loft Co for comment.
In February, £1.1 million plans were announced to redevelop the 19th-century Market Arcade after Newport City Council secured funding from the Heritage Fund, Cadw and Welsh Government for the project.
However, the council has now confirmed that work, which had already begun, has now been delayed due to safety fears associated with working during the pandemic.
"The Arcade project is currently suspended to comply with working guidelines around Covid-19," a council spokesperson said.
"The construction site is particularly constrained and it would be physically impossible to maintain recommended social distancing were it to remain operational. The project will recommence once it is confirmed safe to do so."
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Mill Street sorting office
After laying empty for a number of years, the former sorting office on Mill Street was identified by Garrison Barclay as a prime target for redevelopment into office space, and last year the company said it was aiming to complete work on the 50,000 square foot space in the first half of 2020.
However, the company said this week that although it had been on target, it had now "taken the view from last week to close down construction during this lockdown period".
The developer said completion would now be in the second half of the year "at the earliest" but that exact timings could not be confirmed until it knew when it was able to reopen the site.
There’s slightly better news for one of Newport’s flagship projects; the council has confirmed this week that it has signed off on the planning application for the redevelopment of Newport's historic Transporter Bridge, meaning that part of the process not be delayed.
Last month saw £12 million plans for the bridge get the green light subject to overcoming flooding concerns.
The proposals will see the bridge’s existing visitor centre replaced with a larger, more accessible one and a virtual recreation of the view from the top of the bridge for those with restricted mobility.
However, the council also said this week that it was awaiting clarification from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, which has committed over £1 million to the project, “regarding any revision to the application timetable.”