A TOPPING out ceremony has been held at the multi-million pound development on the site of the former Hornblower pub in Newport city centre.

Newport City Council worked with the Welsh Government to secure a slice of its £100m-plus Vibrant and Viable Places scheme for the development at 123 - 129 Commercial Street.

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Liberty Gardens from the ground

The site, now called Liberty Gardens, has been hailed as 'vital' to keeping the city’s regeneration momentum rolling.

Willis Construction, was the main contractor for housing association Pobl, for the scheme, which will include ground floor retail units with 38 apartments above for the over 55s.

Roberts Limbrick were the architects.

Aaron Terry, of Roberts Limbrick, said: "This scheme is special for us because it is in our home town. We started here in Newport with the development at the Old Town Dock for 300 homes, which we did with Sennybridge and Seren Group.”

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Newport's skyline from the roof of Liberty Gardens

Roberts Limbrick won a competition to take on the Docks project run by the urban regeneration company Newport Unlimited.

Since then the firm, which is based at The Estates Office, Gold Tops, has gone on to be involved in some of Wales’ biggest projects and grown fast.

Matthew Tribbeck, a regeneration manager for Welsh Government’s Vibrant and Viable Places scheme, said the significance of Liberty Gardens 'cannot be underestimated'.

On target for completion at the end of this year, Mr Tribbeck called it 'key to restoring vibrancy and vitality to the city centre'.

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Aaron Terry and Andrew Wood, from Roberts Limbrick, at Liberty Gardens

It is expected to have created 50 jobs in construction in the city during the build.

He said: “The project represents an exemplar scheme in terms of revitalising the spiral of decline intrinsic to low-value and poorly maintained property.”

Newport, he said, was a city on the up 'benefitting from a generational opportunity' to maximise the groundswell of positivity and interest in the city.

Neil Barber, director of development at Pobl, said: “This fantastic development is testament to great partnership working, with our team at Pobl working closely with Newport Council to ensure the Welsh Government’s Vibrant and Viable Places fund makes a real difference in Newport."

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A topping out toast at Liberty Gardens

Other key projects designed by Roberts Limbrick include the Celtic Business Park near Newport - a 100-acre site for a new factory at Llanwern.

Roberts Limbrick was also involved in the masterplan for the former Mabey Bridge works near Chepstow, a site which has recently been sold to homes developer Barrett, which has outline permission to build hundreds of homes on the former industrial site.