IS THERE A CITY STRATEGY TO SUPPORT THE WALES INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION CENTRE?
Newport should be on a countdown to the opening of a major economic driver set to open in July 2019. Listed below are the hotels in the immediate vicinity of the £83 million Wales International Convention Centre at Celtic Manor. The list omits the Travelodge in Newport City Centre with approximate 60 beds. There are not enough rooms to cater for a major event in the Newport area in addition to the regular demand for hotel places. The City Council needs to come up with a strategy to develop at least two or possibly three additional sites for hotel accommodation (approx. 100 beds apiece) preferably in the city centre over the next two years, one at 4 star and one at a 3 star rating. This will prevent the loss of hotel bed space to neighbouring Cardiff to support events at the WICC. As yet we do not have one, Chartist Tower was an option but the news there has gone very quiet and Premier Inn have pulled out of the £12 million Mill Street scheme. What is it about Newport that we cannot even agree terms with one of the UK's leading budget hotel brands? There still remains hope but time is running out with WICC set to open in summer of 2019. Both Premier Inn and Travelodge want to bring their brands to the City so the Council are pushing at an open door and hopefully other hotel developers will follow suit. The struggling city centre needs longer stay visitors as well as workers, students, shoppers and short term visitors.
When Premier Inn pulled out of the Yates / Tredegar Arms scheme in September 2017 we looked at possible HOTEL LOCATIONS here.
Schemes to develop smaller independent / boutique accommodation should also be positively encouraged including the conversion of former retail or commercial premises. This is an opportunity not to be missed for the City and city centre.
The strategy should include support for WICC workers and commuters with improved public transport. The Park and Ride facility at Llanwern railway station is good news for Celtic Manor and the city centre. Dedicated services from Newport Bus or others to support workers and the transfer of hotel guests to / from Newport city centre should also be encouraged. How about supplementing the existing 74 bus service serving the Celtic Manor and Coldra Court with a new hourly bus service (the 8B) between Friars Walk, the railway station and the hotels near the Coldra? This will provide an alternative transfer for hotel guests to / from the city and an additional service for the many city residents employed by the hotel.