A pill transformed by a ‘spectacular’ work of art into a £ 6million regeneration


The Pillgwenlly Regeneration Project in Newport has come to an end but leaves behind transformed buildings, improved public spaces and “spectacular” artwork.

Over the past four years around £ 6million has been spent in the region through a program run by Newport City Council with financial support from the Welsh government.

One of the first projects to be completed as part of the Pillgwenlly regeneration project was the redesign of Mariner’s Green as part of the improvement of the walkway between the city center and Pill. The redeveloped area is now “a suitable home” for the Merchant Navy Memorial and the VEVJ Memorial which has been moved from Commercial Street.

A number of businesses have used business grants to carry out exterior renovations to their properties, giving them a makeover while still retaining the look and feel of those old, traditional buildings.

One of those who took advantage of this program was Asim Ali who moved his business to a property in Commercial Road after spending two years and a lot of his own money renovating it. It also received a regeneration project grant to give the facade a sleek new look.

In addition to being a pharmacist, Mr. Ali is a deputy postmaster and the building houses the local post office. The new store employs around 20 people.

“I’ve had a lot of community support over the years and wanted to give something back,” he explained.

Since opening its new premises, Pill Pharmacy has been named Independent Pharmacy Firm of the Year and a finalist for the Welsh Pharmacy Awards Business Development Award.

Three new works have been commissioned and are now in place. Artists Stephanie Roberts and Nick Jones worked on With Passing Ships, which was made with materials sourced from local businesses and can be seen at Old Town Dock near Blaina Wharf.

Pill’s project team also worked with design company Living Data to develop a web application that tells more about this piece of art and Pill’s story, with oral history recordings made with the local population.

A work by Martin Heron on Commercial Road at the end of Frederick Street is made of multi-colored resin and includes benches and a sculptural tree.

A third work, by Andrew Small, is a mix of digital and industrial art and is located at the entrance to Pill on a small lot on the corner of Commercial Road and George Street.

Councilor John Richards said, “Even though this regeneration project is complete, we continue to find ways to help improve the area and its environment for those who live and work in Pill.

“For example, the abandoned King’s Arms pub was a real horror and magnet for anti-social behavior, but is now being demolished to make way for new homes thanks to the Vibrant and Viable Places program and a partnership with the Seren group. ”

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