Planned new £20m retail park - Newport

Thursday, 1st September 2011
NEWPORT has been boosted with plans for a new retail centre, which will create hundreds of jobs. The city’s former Megabowl complex is being lined up for conversion in a £20m scheme.     The project would see the former bowling alley complex at Newport Retail Park, empty since it was vacated by Megabowl in 2005, transformed into a retail offer renamed the Mega Centre – providing a total of 55,000 sq ft of retail space. Mega Centre, next door to Cineworld, would be served by 700 free car parking spaces.     The project is being driven by developers Johnsey Estates, which previously leased the site to Megabowl. It already has consent for a supermarket operator on site, but is now targeting non-food retailers. Work would start on renovating the site after the signing up of retail occupiers – which would require a change of use application on the current planning consent.     Terry Johnsey, of Johnsey Estates, said the creation by Tesco of its 140,000 sq ft superstore at Spytty, which when complete in November will be among the largest of its stores in Europe, will add to the attraction of the location. He said the option still remained open for Johnsey Estates to create a retail superstore on the former bowling alley complex site, subject to demand.     Mr Johnsey said: “The new link from Junction 23a of the M4 through Llanwern steelworks makes this site an extremely popular in terms of accessibility and location. Add to this the planned residential development of some 2,000 new homes over five years on 600 acres of the former Llanwern steelworks site and it’s hardly surprising that interest in taking space at the Mega Centre is red hot.”     “The proposed scheme represents an ideal opportunity to improve competition and choice, to make use of this long-vacant building, to provide a major improvement to the quality and appearance of the building and to provide up to 400 new jobs including some 100 during construction.”