Newport transformation one step closer following planning approval

Leon Fear

Leon Fear

A Bristol based property group has seen its planning applications for a major project approved.

The Fear Group’s planning application for the regeneration of the old six acre Sainsbury’s supermarket site in Newport, South Wales, has been approved by the city planners.

The application includes 601 student flats, 142 residential apartments, including elderly and affordable homes, an 84 bed hotel, small supermarket, cafe and health precinct.

Stephen and Leon Fear focused on the small Welsh City in 2010 when the Sainsbury’s site came to their attention through their internal research department.

Leon Fear (32), who runs the groups extended property division, comments  “We have a dedicated research department set up by my father Stephen 34 years ago and which focuses on identifying hotspots for investment across the world, in 2009/10 we identified Newport as a location where growth would inevitably take place. 

“It was clear from the off that Newport had been dominated by the larger cities of Bristol and Cardiff but that its location between the two was now turning into a major advantage, this coupled with electrification of the railway from London to Swansea and the proximity to Bristol International Airport meant in our minds that Newport was about to become an investment hotspot.

“The City Council were visionary in granting permission for the new Friars Walk Shopping Mall and had even more foresight in financially underwriting it to the tune of £90M! At the time they were criticised in some quarters, even those close to home, but that risk has paid off hugely for the city and its citizens”.

Stephen Fear who started his career at the age of 15 by using a public telephone box in Bristol as his office and is now an Ambassador for The British Library in London, as well as its Entrepreneur in Residence, comments: “We have found the council staff, planning officers, and councilors themselves, very professional in their approach, besides holding a public consultation which both Leon and I attended personally, together with our planning consultants and architects Nash Partnership, ably led by Mel Clinton and Robert Locke also made a full presentation in the council chambers, where quite rightly we were actively questioned in some detail by the full house of councilors present”