More than 50 Newport residents, public service providers, elected representatives and members of community groups have met with the team behind the proposed development of the former Whiteheads steelworks to share their views on the plans.
A public exhibition and consultation held at the YMCA in Newport gave the public the opportunity to view the plans and put their questions to the not-for-profit housing development charity behind the proposals – the Whiteheads Development Company.
The exhibition showcased how the brownfield site, which has lain derelict for 10 years having once been the hub of Newport’s industrial landscape, would be transformed into a vibrant urban community with 500 new homes and a site for a new primary school.
The development is expected to deliver a £140m economic boost to the area and create up to 1500 jobs in the process.
Remediation of the site is expected to commence in the coming months with the first houses available by late 2016, subject to planning approval. Up to 50% of the resulting homes will be made available at below-market rents.
As a charity, the Whiteheads Development Company operates under a unique financial model, through which all profits are channelled into further housing projects across Wales, with the aim of creating high-quality affordable housing.
David Ward, CEO of the Whiteheads Development Company, said: “Gauging public opinion is fundamental to progressing our plans so it was encouraging to see so many people engaging with us. Overall, feedback was extremely positive, with widespread support expressed for the regeneration of a derelict and unsightly brownfield site into a thriving community, where people are proud to live and which gels seamlessly with its surrounding neighbourhoods.
“But, as with any development of this scale, there were issues raised that we will now look to address, particularly around the development’s implications for traffic in the area. Our team of architects, designers and planners will take this feedback into account and ensure a robust and comprehensive planning offering which offers a viable solution.
“We would like to thank the community for sharing its views on a project that we see as a key part of the wider regeneration puzzle in Newport, and we look forward to continuing these conversations in due course.”
The Whiteheads site is allocated for housing within Newport City Council’s Local Development Plan and the development will be subject to a successful planning application.