NEWS PORT NEWS IN BRIEF
CITY NEWS REGULARLY UPDATED
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MAN DIES AFTER BEING FOUND UNCONSCIOUS IN BAR
Aug 31- A man has died after being found unconscious in a bar in Newport in the early hours of bank holiday Monday. The 25-year-old was found in The Courtyard on Cambrian Road in the city centre at about 03:00 BST. Police officers and ambulance teams were called but Gwent Police said the man was pronounced dead at the scene. A statement from Gwent Police confirmed: "His death is not being treated as suspicious at this time."
NEWPORT BUS BACKS OUR PLAN
Aug 31 - Newport Bus
has backed our call for a new bus service to the Celtic Manor. With the
International Convention Centre (ICC) due to open in the autumn, Newport Bus
has revealed it will be introducing an hourly service to complement existing
services serving the city's hotel district (including the 73 and 8). A brand
new bus route - route 9 - will be up and running by Monday, September 2,
just in time for the opening of the ICC.
This new route will depart from Newport bus station (stand 6) to the Coldra Court Hotel and Langstone Business Park, serving the train station, Chepstow Road and the Celtic Manor Resort.One route - the 34 service - is set to be scrapped as part of the changes. The hourly service will run from 0625 when the first bus leaves Friars Walk, the last bus from Coldra Court will be 1910. Celtic Manor workers will also be able to use the hourly 73 service leaving Friars Walk from 0600 with the final return bus at 1920. Additional services are available via the 8A/8C route from Royal Oak and the 74 service in the evening with final buses in the evening of 2320 and 2234 respectively.
MP BACKS NO DEAL FIGHT
Aug 30 - Jessica Morden MP has signed the Church House Declaration pledging to take action to stop a no deal Brexit. She said "The Government’s plan to suspend Parliament – pushing us closer to no deal – is reckless and undemocratic. I will work with MPs from all sides to resist this."
COUNCILLOR ASKS ABOUT SCHOOL FINANCE MANAGEMENT CRISIS
Aug 30 - Councillor J.
Watkins asked has asked the City Council for answers after it was revealed
city schools are overspending significantly. She asked "In September 2018,
the Revenue Budget report stated that all but 5 of Newport schools were on
course to collectively overspend by £2.1million. In 2018/19 Newport City
Council predicted that 9 schools would be in the red with a cumulative
deficit of £1.6 million. Last month, the Authority announced a £2.3 million
underspend on its funding from last year’s budget. Could this not have been
spent paying off these school debts rather than on “reserve projects“?"
Cabinet Member for Education Councillor Giles responded "For the financial
year 2019/20, Newport City Council allocated a cash injection of £3.6M into
the total Individual Schools Budget (ISB), taking the total ISB to £96,545M.
It is the responsibility of individual Head Teachers and Governing Bodies to
manage their individual school budgets and not to rely on potential
underspends from central budgets that may be identified at the end of the
financial year. The Local Authority delegates funding on an equitable basis
using the school funding formula agreed by the School Budget Forum. This is
a consultative group consisting of Head Teachers, Governors and school
Business Managers. Using a Council-wide under-spend to pay off individual
school debts would not adhere to an equitable budget allocation in line with
the agreed schools funding formula."
CAERLEON HOUSE GOES INTO ADMINISTRATION
Aug 29 - The company behind the Caerleon House care home in Newport has fallen into administration after citing a “cashflow situation” as the reason for its downfall. Gwent Nursing Homes Limited was forced to call in professional advisory firm Quantuma to handle the administration process, with partners Graham Randall, Chris Newell and Paul Zalkin appointed as joint administrators. At present, the administration has not impacted staff, and a statement from the administrators noted that no redundancies were planned. Newell commented on the administration, saying: “Our immediate priorities are to ensure the business is maintained as a going concern and to seek a purchaser who has the financial ability to take the business forward on a more secure financial footing.”
CITY SEES BEST HOUSE PRICE GROWTH IN UK
Aug 29 - Newport is
the best commuter town for house price growth, where prices have risen the
most compared to the cost of commuting into town, estate agent comparison
Get Agent has shown. The average house price in Newport has increased by
£7,362 over the last year, while the cost of commuting into Bristol has
risen by just £77, an overall rise of £7,285 after commuter costs. In
contrast, house prices in Bristol have dropped by £3,602 during the same
time period so commuting to Bristol has paid off for Newport homeowners.
WARNING ABOUT THEFTS FROM CARS IN EAST OF CITY
Aug 29 - Police
officers are currently investigating a number of thefts from vehicles in the
Newport East area, where offenders have targeted parked and unattended
vehicles. A lot of these incidents are believed to have occurred as a result
of vehicles being left insecure.
PC Leanne Pole, of the Newport East Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: "These are opportunistic thefts, in which suspects have tried door handles and boots in order to steal items on show. Whilst we are continuing to investigate, we would like to remind drivers to be vigilant and take all necessary precautions to protect themselves from crime. Do not make yourself vulnerable to this type of offence."
Thefts have been reported in numerous locations in recent weeks, including St Julians, Maindee and Lliswerry. Items stolen include wallets, laptops and handbags.
£300K FOR CITY HOMELESS PROJECT
Aug 30 - Welsh
Government is to contribute £300,000 to a housing project in Newport.
Working in partnership with Newport City Council, the project will be
operated by Pobl and will accommodate 25 people who have had a history of
repeat homelessness during a 12-month period and help them into long-term
Julie James, minister for housing and local government said: "Housing First can help people who have been homeless for a long time to sustain a tenancy. It can support people who may have severe mental illness, problems with drug and alcohol abuse, poor physical health and who may not have a wider support network. We know that Housing First isn’t the right approach for everyone without a home – it needs to be part of a wider strategy focus on rapid rehousing approaches including other housing-led and supported housing approaches. But it does play an important role in supporting people, particularly those who have been sleeping rough for a long time, which is why we are supporting this project in Newport as part of our expanding national approach to embedding Housing First in Wales."
GO AHEAD FOR FLATS FOR THE ELDERLY IN PILL
Aug 28 - Plans to
build 16 homes on the site of an elderly person development in Newport have
been approved. The plans, submitted by Amity Planning for the site known as
Kirby Daniel Court, have been prepared on behalf of Pobl Group. The site in
Pillgwenilly currently accommodates 33 elderly person flats, but will be
redeveloped with 16 three-bed homes for the social housing provider.
THE FIRST ELECTRIC BUS SERVICE IN WALES
Aug 27 - Wales' first
electric bus will start work on the roads of Newport this week. Newport
Transport has bought a former demonstration bus which will be the first in
Wales to be used on a permanent basis. Along with Cardiff and Caerphilly,
Newport has won grant funding from a UK government grant scheme to promote
greener public transport. Newport's first electric bus is three years old and
cost £250,000 compared with the £340,000 cost of buying the vehicles new.
Fully charged it will run for 116 miles and will cover the route between
Caerleon and the city centre.
CRIMINAL GOODS AUCTION RAISES £150K
Aug 25 - Dozens of items seized from convicted criminals, including a Ferrari and a house in France, have been sold for a total of £150,000 at an auction. The luxury goods, worth more than £2.3m, were sold with no reserve at Wilsons Auctions in Newport on August 14. The highest selling items were a house in Grimsby, which raised £34,000 and a Ferrari 360 Modena, linked to drug offences in Malta, which made £33,000.
FUND TO IMPROVE CITY CENTRE BUILDINGS
Aug 24 - Newport City
Council has secured £1 million to support the redevelopment of empty or
underused city centre properties. It successfully applied to the Welsh
Government's town centre repayable funding scheme that offers interest-free
loans to enable buildings to be brought back into use. Developer and
investors with well-developed project plans have until Friday 20 September
to submit expressions of interests to the council.
These projects must relate to a property within the defined city centre area; reduce vacant or underused premises and encourage more sustainable uses such as offices, residential, leisure or key services. More details of the scheme, and how to apply, can be found at http://www.newport.gov.uk/en/About-Newport/Regeneration/Town-Centre-Repayable-Funding-Scheme.aspx
GCSE RESULTS ANALYSIS
Aug 22 - We are
currently analysing Thursday's GCSE results. The St Joseph’s school
community state they are celebrating another year of exceptional GCSE
results for its 230 Year 11 students, the school maintained its best ever
GCSE performance with73% of its students achieving 5 GCSEs including English
and Mathematics. 81% of students achieved A*-C in GCSE Mathematics, 82%
achieved A*-C in GCSE English
98% of pupils achieved 5 GCSE grades at A*-E, 24% of students achieved a minimum of 5 A*/A grades.
At Rougemont 35% of all entries achieved A* grades (the national is 6%) – equal to their previous best ever results. 74% achieved A*/B grades (National 43%). The school stated "Again, our GCSE results were some of the strongest in the South Wales region in terms of both independent and state sector schools. Rougemont is, by choice, not a highly selective school yet these outstanding academic results show the high standard and quality of teaching at Rougemont."
CHEAPER TRAIN TICKETS FOR ICC DELEGATES
Aug 18 - Delegates
attending a conference at ICC Wales can now enjoy an exclusive rate when
travelling by train with Great Western Railway to Newport.
Standard Return example (London Paddington – Newport) – £42 per person
First Class Return example (London Paddington – Newport) – £86 per person
Please be aware that these train tickets will be valid only with proof of attendance at a conference. Tickets can be booked up to 3 months in advance, subject to availability, one ticket at a time. Normal standard returns during the off-peak are £75 per person.
MAN CHARGED FOLLOWING HIGH STREET INCIDENT
Aug 18 - A man has been arrested and is in custody following an assault in the early hours of the morning in Newport city centre. Another man was injured in the incident, which took place in the High Street area, at the Old Green Crossing at about 4am yesterday morning. The area was cordoned off following the incident but the cordon has now been removed and the area has been re-opened to the public.
WORK STARTS ON NEW HOTEL
Aug 17 - Excavation
works have begun for building a second Tŷ hotel in Newport as part of the
Celtic Manor’s Celtic Collection. When it opens in the autumn of 2020, Tŷ
Hotel Newport will be a 146-bedroom, mid-range hotel with a separate
building housing a drive-through Costa Coffee.
The new hotel is being built next to the Collection’s Coldra Court hotel in Langstone, and follows last month’s acquisition by the group of a former Hampton by Hilton and its rebranding as Tŷ Hotel Magor. Tŷ (pronounced ‘tee’) is the Welsh word for ‘house’ and is the new mid-range hotel brand from the Celtic Collection. Tŷ Hotel Newport is expected to support the expected increased demand for bedroom stock ahead of the opening next month of the International Convention Centre Wales (ICC Wales) at the Celtic Manor.
BOUTIQUE HOTEL UP FOR SALE
Aug 16 - A boutique hotel and restaurant that started life in the 19th century and became a favourite alehouse for the workers on Newport’s Alexander Dock, has gone on the market. The Waterloo Hotel & Bistro was originally built in 1870 but the Grade-II listed building has been run as a boutique hotel (with 21 en-suite bedrooms) and restaurant by restaurateur Bob Evans for the last 14 years, who has now decided to retire due to ill-health. The property is on the market with Christie + Co as a going concern with an asking price of £795k.
Aug 16 - The Blaina
Wharf public house on the East Dock Road will see the installation of two
electric charging points in their car park shortly.
Network Rail is seeking prior approval for the construction of a modular building which would provide accommodation (changing and canteen), offices and stores for existing staff at an existing maintenance depot site at Ebbw Junction. Permission has been granted for the conversion of former offices to residential use. The buildings are three storey, located on the corner of Lower Dock Street and John Street, near to Asda. They are within the Lower Dock Street Conservation Area. It is proposed to provide 15 no. flats in total. It is also proposed to create a rear dormer extension, insert 4 no. roof lights and create amenity space and a bin store within the space to the rear of the buildings.
FOOTBRIDGE LINK - NEXT YEAR?
Aug 17 - A
long-awaited footbridge to serve Newport railway station could be completed
in 2020. The bridge has been designed to be an "inviting replacement" to
Devon Place subway, which has been damaged by vandals. Newport City Council
hopes to get construction work out to tender in September, the Local
Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) said. The Welsh Government pledged to
invest £4m in the project in 2014. In July, the subway was repainted to
cover up previous graffiti but was vandalised again days later
IRATE HOSPITAL PATIENT JAILED
Aug 15 - A patient had
to be physically removed from a hospital by police and security after
drunkenly swearing at staff. Wales Online reports Matthew Campbell, 30, was
being treated at the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport on July 17 after being
assaulted the night before.
But police were called to the hospital's Accident and Emergency department after Campbell repeatedly swore at those who were treating him while heavily intoxicated. An officer attended the hospital and Campbell began swearing at her when she walked into the department.
RECYCLING INCREASE DUE TO SMALLER BINS
Aug 14 - Residents are recycling more items than ever before as the latest figures from Newport City Council show - with the increase equivalent to 310 recycling trucks. The latest data shows the recycling rate has increased to 69.6 per cent in the first quarter of this year compared to 56 per cent for the same time last year. And the introduction of smaller bins to encourage more people to recycle is being credited for the boost in rates.
NEW SCHOOL SET TO OPEN
Aug 14 - The new,
two-form entry Glan Llyn primary school - built as part of the ongoing
multi-phase development on part of the former Llanwern steelworks site - can
accommodate 420 primary pupils, and has nursery facilities for younger
children. It will also provide a further two classes to accommodate up to 20
pupils with additional learning needs.
Gareth Owen, construction manager at St Modwen, said: "The new school will be a fantastic asset to the local community and we're thrilled to be handing it across to the local authority. As we continue to deliver new homes at Glan Llyn, it's vital that we are also delivering essential infrastructure for the families choosing to live here, and we know that it'll be greatly enjoyed by local schoolchildren from September this year."
PHASE 2 LAUNCHED
Aug 14 - Construction work has started on a new housing development in Newport, ahead of its official launch this summer. Bellway is building 152 new homes at Heron’s Mead – a development of two, three and four-bedroom properties. This is the second phase of homes Bellway is building in Newport, following on from its popular Monks Meadow development next door. Heron’s Mead is a development of new homes in Llanwern, Newport, which benefit from an appealing location on the outskirts of Newport city centre. These 2, 3 and 4-bedroom homes will appeal to first-time buyers, families and professionals working in Newport, Cardiff or Bristol.
NEWPORT HIGH SCHOOL ADVERTISE FOR NEW HEAD
Aug 14 - Newport City
Council are in the market for a new head teacher at Newport High, paying
between £85,605 and £99,158 per year. Newport High School has been without a
head teacher since Karyn Keane resigned in May to “pursue other career
opportunities” after nine years at the helm.
Concerns over school standards, leadership and management were raised by Estyn prior to Mrs Keane’s departure, with the education watchdog calling for urgent improvements in 2019.
CIVIC AMENITY SITE EXTENDS ITS HOURS
Aug 11 - City
residents will be able to visit the Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC)
after normal hours one day a week now Newport City Council has agreed the
change. From Thursday 15 August - and every Thursday until November - the
site in Docks Way will be open until 6pm instead of 4.30pm. And another
change will be introduced with the site also opening this August Bank
Holiday (26 August) from 7.30am to 4.30pm.
Councillor Roger Jeavons, the council’s cabinet member for city services, said the changes are being introduced following requests from residents.
“We know there is a demand for the Household Waste Recycling Centre to be open later, especially during the summer months, and we have listened and responded to requests from residents to introduce this."
PHONE STORE MOVES TO FRIARS, DRIVE-THRU PLAN FOR COSTA
Aug 10 - Three Mobile is relocating from Commercial Street to Unit 38, Friars Walk, in John Frost Square. In addition, plans for a new Costa Coffee drive-through have been submitted as part of a scheme aimed at regenerating an area of Newport. Newport City Homes is proposing the drive-through coffee shop on land between Usk Way and East Dock Road, known as Old Town Dock. Elsewhere in town El Siecos, on High Street, will be re-located to the former Musique Lounge, next door to Tiny Rebel on Market Street.
PIZZA STORE BREAK IN
Aug 10 - Ragtag Pizza,
on Clarence Place in Newport, was broken into between 9.30pm on Friday
(August 9) and 7.30am today (August 10) and CCTV has been passed onto the
police. According to the Argus the culprit smashed the window and targeted
the till, taking the notes and pounds leaving only small change. Employee,
Gemma McDonald, said: “I locked up last night and this morning a nearby
business called as the window was smashed."
CITY CUTS TIES WITH CHINESE PROVINCE
Aug 3 - Newport
Council has scrapped all official ties with Guangxi Province in China
following outrage over its annual dog eating festival.
The city was twinned with Guangxi, which hosts a 10-day dog meat festival in a city called Yulin. Almost 40,000 people had signed a petition calling on Newport City Council to end its relationship with the province, which was set up in 1996. The annual festival takes place in June with thousands of dogs slaughtered each year during the celebration.
WESTERN POWERHOUSE CALL
Aug 3 - Two Welsh cities have joined calls for a cross-border economic "powerhouse" encompassing south-east Wales and the west of England.
Cardiff, Newport and Bristol councils want to form a regional powerhouse to boost economic growth. A report says a "Great Western Powerhouse" could boost industry and improve transport links. The two regions have "huge complementary strengths", according to Cardiff council leader Huw Thomas.
The Northern Powerhouse is a strategy which featured a range of measures aimed at boosting the economy beyond the south-east of England.
It focused on improving transport links, boosting investment and devolving powers to elected mayors. The report, by Metro Dynamics, provides a strong evidence base for a cross-border partnership, presenting recommendations that would drive improved infrastructure, investment, internationalisation and inclusive growth across a region of seven cities, 4.4m people, with 10 universities, 156,000 businesses and a £107bn economy.
Five key areas of collaboration are highlighted:
• an industrial strategy linking sector strengths;
• integrating road and rail improvements to enable faster connectivity;
• an internationalisation strategy which promotes the region’s industrial strengths;
• establishing a productivity and innovation observatory which makes better use of our data;
• piloting and measuring tailored approaches to connecting the most deprived communities with the region’s highest growth sectors.
Cllr Debbie Wilcox, Leader of Newport City Council, said: “The opportunities that a powerhouse could capitalise and enrich are vast. The region already has an economy worth £107bn, which is 10% higher than the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine, yet our growth is slower than average. If we only grow to meet the UK average, we will become a £1.21bn economy – just think of the potential if this powerhouse was created.”
WORK STARTS ON OLD SORTING OFFICE BUILDING
Aug 1 - Work has started on the transformation of the former Royal Mail sorting office in the centre of Newport into grade A 'first of its kind' office space. Developers Garrison Barclay say they have had interest in the building from legal firms, architectural practices, insurance brokers and a London-based cyber security company.
LACK OF RAIL SERVICE PROGRESS CRITICISED
Aug 1 - Jessica Morden
MP has claimed the UK Government is holding Wales back by continuing to
place restrictions on cross-border rail services.
Earlier this month she tabled a question to the Department for Transport asking why the UK Government will not allow Transport for Wales to run additional services to Bristol Temple Meads. In a response issued this week, Transport Minister Andrew Jones confirmed the reason for the restriction and that it would continue, saying that ‘capacity is limited in the Bristol area and, as well as additional services from Wales, local authorities in the Bristol area have been planning to upgrade Bristol local services for many years.’ He adds ‘Upgrade works for the Bristol area are currently being developed through the Rail Network Enhancement Pipeline process. Until these upgrade works are completed, it is not possible to allow bids for unplanned additional train services’.
She said "Many of my constituents travel to work in the Bristol area, and rely on rail services from Newport and Severn Tunnel Junction which have all too often been unreliable and overcrowded. With the need for greater capacity, commuters will rightly be asking why the new Wales and Borders franchise operator (Transport for Wales) is being held back from offering an optimum service for the many thousands of Welsh workers who travel to work across the border. The responsibility for this ultimately lies with Ministers in the Department for Transport, and as this most recent written response shows, South Wales clearly falls low on their list of priorities."
KNOWLEDGE QUARTER BACK ON AGENDA AFTER CAMPUS SALE
Jul 31 - The
University of South Wales (USW) has sold its former campus in Caerleon for
£6.2m to Redrow. USW controversially closed the campus in 2016 and since
then it had submitted unsuccessful plans for more than 300 homes to be built
there. USW stated "This sale will allow USW and its partners to move forward
and explore what is now possible in the timing and funding options for the
developments of higher education in the Newport city centre. We will work
with Newport City Council on the future in the city. The new owner will now
work with the council on the future of the Caerleon site."
Redrow stated "We will now be working with Newport City Council’s Planning team to engage in consultation and to submit plans for the site. We will be proposing the development of approximately 220 homes which will comprise a variety of properties for first time buyers, families and retirees in the area. The main listed building in the heart of the site is to be retained and will become the centre piece of the development and our proposals will respect and be sympathetic to the building."
COUNCIL LEADER VOWS TO FIGHT FOR M4 RELIEF ROAD FUNDING
Jul 30 - Newport City
Council's leader has vowed to “fight every way I can” to secure funding for
the city after the M4 relief road was scrapped.
Cllr Debbie Wilcox, a long-time supporter of building the new motorway, told councillors that she disagreed with the first minister Mark Drakeford’s “wrong” decision. Mr Drakeford said that up to £1 billion would be available to solving traffic issues on the M4 around Newport, while inviting the council to sit on a commission to brainstorm ideas.
According to an Argus article Cllr Wilcox was asked to respond to the decision by Cllr Matthew Evans, leader of the Conservative opposition, who said it had “condemned Newport” to heavier congestion, idling traffic and more toxic fumes.
A project to breathe new life into a once derelict allotment site will help boost a community project thanks to a group of allotment holders, volunteers and local businesses.
ALLOTMENT FOOD BANK PLAN
Jul 16 - A new project
will provide fresh food to food banks. The aim is to use the Cae Perllan
allotment site to grow fresh food which can then be donated to Newport Food
Bank. Work on preparing the once neglected site has been going on for
several weeks and Newport City Council’s grounds team are working with
allotment site secretary Del Brooks and local businesses to remove a jungle
of brambles which covered five plots.
Now Del and his volunteers are looking for help from local residents and more businesses to help grow the project so fresh food can be harvested.
NEW CUSTOMER FOR SEMI CONDUCTOR PLANT
Jul 14 - Compound
semiconductor technology company IQE has commenced making a product for 3D
sensor systems for a second major customer at its Newport Mega Foundry.
Performance data from the Newport Foundry has exceeded previously attained
performance levels, and several new qualifications are now in long term
reliability testing. As a result, IQE has signed a contract extension with
one of its largest vertical cavity surface emitting laser (VCSEL) customers,
extending the current contract until the end of 2021. In addition, two other
existing contracts have also been extended with several other new contracts
in final negotiations.
MERCURE ANNOUNCES RECRUITMENT PLAN
July 7 - The company
behind a new hotel in one of Newport's landmark buildings is to launch a
recruitment drive ahead of its opening in 2020.
The four-star Mercure Hotel, which is due to open in the early part of the year, is looking to recruit 50 staff with roles covering front of house, housekeeping, kitchen staff, management and sales, according to Insider Media Wales. The 15-floor luxury hotel includes 150 bedrooms, a restaurant with 65 covers and a fitness suite. Located in Newport’s tallest building, Chartist Tower, the hotel is part of a £12m transformation by owners Garrison Barclay Estates.
The regeneration of the 1960s former office building, which is part funded by the Welsh Government and Coutts, the bank, also includes 30,000sq ft of office space and 18,000sq ft of retail space. Andrew McCarthy, managing director of Garrison Barclay Estates, said: "We’re delighted to be bringing a job boost to Newport and breathing life into this fantastic city centre building. The development is gaining momentum, with the striking new exterior taking shape
PROMINENT OFFICE BUILDING SET FOR FLAT CONVERSION
July 4 - Proposals to
convert a prominent city centre office building into flats have been given
the thumbs-up by the council's planning committee.
Developers have been given permission to convert Newport's Crown Buildings, which previously housed HM Revenue & Customs, into 56 flats with a private gym and rooftop garden. The plans for the eight-storey Crown Buildings were submitted by LRJ Planning on behalf of Mr M Nazir.
Built in the 1970s, the 44,347 sq ft office which is currently vacant sits close to the city's bus and railway stations.
SPLASH PARK WAIT GOES ON!
July 4 - A recent
freedom of information request (FOI) by the Newport Conservative Group has
revealed the City’s Council are still sitting on £262,152 worth of funding -
for improvements to Tredegar Park and a Splash Park they have yet to build.
The funding - received in February 2018 - comes from Section 106 payments received by building developers totalling £262,152.
Fellow Conservative Cllr Charles Ferris also questioned the project. “We were told in September that ‘detailed plans’ had been drawn up for a new Splash Park. Now we find out that the Council have only merely sought ‘advice’ from a company who had installed similar facilities for other authorities. It appears there are no detailed plans ready for a planning submission? What is going on?”
An online facebook video posted by Splash Park Campaigner Michael Enea has now been watched by over 15,300 people. Mr Enea said “There’s overwhelming support from the public on this. All of our neighbouring Towns and Cities offer such a facility for their communities. When you look at the list of Splash Parks or Lidos elsewhere, you really do realise that Newport residents are being short-changed by their Council.”
MP JOINS LOCAL CAMPAIGNERS AGAINST UNIVERSAL CREDIT INJUSTICE
July 3 - Newport East MP Jess Morden was
joined by local campaigners Sydny,Kath and Isabel from the Gwent-based Pobl
Youth Group at the Department for Work and Pensions today to demand an end
to the injustice facing Universal Credit claimants aged 25 and under.
Under Universal Credit, lone parents aged under 25 get paid a lower rate than they would have received under tax credits. Young people from the Pobl Youth Group, convened by Charter and Bron Afon housing associations, are campaigning for changes to the system.
Morden said "It’s wrong that parents are losing out through no fault of their own because of an in-built injustice in the system. 24 year old parents face the living costs as 25 year olds – their bills are certainly no cheaper – yet they are £66 a month worse off under Universal Credit. The campaigners I met with tell me that this is causing them real hardship. There is no clear rationale for the policy. The Government’s suggestion that those under 25 are likely to have lower living costs is a sweeping and lazy generalisation. Many parents under the age of 25 are in education or establishing themselves in the world of work, and in some cases ties with families have broken down so that they can no longer count on parental support. This flies in the face of previous Government claims that no one would be worse off under the new system – 55,000 parents on Universal Credit are worse off than they would have been under legacy benefits."
CELTIC MANOR ACQUIRE ANOTHER LOCAL HOTEL
Jun 30 - The company
behind the Celtic Manor in Newport has acquired a 129-bed hotel close to the
M4. The former Hampton by Hilton at Magor is to become the first Tŷ Hotel
owned and managed by The Celtic Collection team, which also runs the Celtic
The hotel is five miles from the Celtic Manor Resort, one junction east along the M4 at the Magor Services at Junction 23A.
The new Tŷ range of hotels is aimed primarily at people staying one or two nights who need a comfortable and functional resting place while attending a meeting, conference, concert, family get-together or sporting event.
The Celtic Collection now includes the main Resort Hotel with adjoining Manor House, Coldra Court by Celtic Manor, the Newbridge on Usk country inn restaurant with rooms, and the newly acquired Tŷ Hotel at Magor.
The Newport Central Hotel at 54-55 High Street opened yesterday on a site previously intended for Premier inn. Newport's new four-star hotel, due to open at Chartist Tower, has started recruiting 50 staff. The Mercure Hotel, which is set to open in early 2020 right in the heart of the city, is looking to recruit a full complement of staff - with roles covering front of house, housekeeping, kitchen staff, management and sales.
SHUTTING JUNCTIONS NOT THE ANSWER TO M4 ISSUE
Jun 28 - Shutting junctions on the M4 motorway in Newport would only make life more difficult for people in the city, an AM has warned. Closing junctions has been suggested as a cheap way of reducing congestion on the M4 by restricting local traffic. But Jayne Bryant, AM for Newport West, said not all of the traffic using Newport junctions comes from the area. A commission examining alternatives to the cancelled M4 Relief Road is expected to look at the idea.
TWO SISTERS RECRUITMENT DRIVE, 600 JOBS AVAILABLE
Jun 28 - Two Sisters Food Group is seeking to recruit 600 staff to assist through its peal period. Staff will mainly be employed on temporary contracts as the Rogerstone company fulfils contracts with M&S, Aldi and McCain.
BREAST FEEDING ROOMS AT CIVIC CENTRE
Jun 27 - Two rooms at
Newport Civic Centre have been refurbished to help promote well-being for
both staff and members of the public.
Privacy and the space and time to breastfeed in peace and quiet is on offer to mums visiting the civic centre after Newport City Council refurbished a room for such a purpose.
This room is further supporting the roll out of Newport’s Breastfeeding Welcome Premises scheme.
The civic centre is one of a few premises in the city offering such a facility however it is hoped other businesses will follow suit.
PEOPLE'S VOTE MARCH SET FOR NEWPORT
Jun 23 - People's vote campaigner are set to descend on Newport for a major rally in favour of a second referendum. Amidst the chaos of the current Brexit impasse and the other worldly atmosphere of the Conservative leadership hustings campaigners are seeking to focus on the growing numbers of remain supporters. The rallies are being held in some areas that favoured leave including Newport, Sunderland and Wolverhampton before culminating in a major rally in London on October 12. The previous London march was supported by nearly a million demonstrators. The Newport date has yet to be confirmed.
WARNINGS FOR MOTORISTS AHEAD OF NEW COUNCIL PARKING ROLE
Jun 22 - Motorists who park illegally in the run up to Newport City Council taking over Civil Parking Enforcement next month may return to their vehicles to find they have been issued with a 'ticket'. Those who do won't have to pay a fine, but they will receive a warning notice to highlight their parking contravention. The warnings are being issued in the week leading up to the council taking over CPE on 1 July. A team of civil enforcement officers are currently in training for the big day and the issuing of warning notices are to remind motorists that there is an increased possibility of receiving a ticket once the council takes over parking enforcement if they park in breach of the rules.
SUPPORT FOR TREDEGAR HOUSE PROJECT
Jun 21 - Tredegar
House, in Newport, has been awarded more than £200,000 towards a project to
develop volunteering, well-being and play opportunities. The venue, owned by
National Trust, is involved with the three-year Healthy Active Partnership
Project (HAPPy). The project, supported by the Welsh Government, aims to
support the development of good mental health, encourage activity in young
people and promote healthy, active lifestyles for those living nearby.The
Welsh Government have awarded Tredegar House £247,964 over a three year
period as part of their Healthy and Active Fund.
MP CALLS FOR NATURE RECOVERY NETWORK
Jun 20 - In Parliament
this week Jessica Morden called on the UK Government to establish a nature
recovery network to help restore natural habitats.
The idea of a Nature Recovery Network, which has been promoted by the Wildlife Trusts and was included in the UK Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan published last year, aims to connect spaces across the UK landscape – towns and cities, farmland, and natural places – to give wildlife a chance to recover and adapt to pressures like climate change.
Speaking in Defra questions, I said “The RSPB and the Wildlife Trusts, which both have fantastic reserves in my constituency in the Newport Wetlands and the Magor Marsh, are strongly supportive of establishing a nature recovery network to restore and repair habitats. Will the Government commit to putting that on a statutory footing?” Defra Minister Therese Coffey responded by confirming that a nature recovery network would be included in the forthcoming Environment Bill.
PRIVATE HEALTHCARE FACILITY TO EXTEND
Jun 19 - A private
healthcare facility has begun a recruitment drive after investing £1.5m in
extending its capabilities, according to Insider Media Wales. Ludlow Street
Healthcare is looking to strengthen its existing staff team by 25 , bringing
in more nurses and support workers to work at the Newport-based facility
following the extension to its specialist neuro-degenerative centre.
The extension to St Peter's Hospital, will eventually add 4,542 sq ft of space and 18 new beds. David Lawrence, chief executive of Ludlow Street Healthcare, said: "We are delighted with the work which has been completed on St Peter’s Hospital extension project.
"We feel the extension will significantly enhance the highly regarded treatment and rehabilitation service we already offer. There are currently 800,000 people with neurodegenerative diseases living in the UK, and due to people living longer and changing lifestyles, this is forecast to increase to one million. This project, along with the extra staff and facilities means we will be better able to meet the growing requirement for specialist neuropsychiatric care."
MASSIVE JOBS BLOW - QUINNS RADIATORS TO CLOSE
Jun 16 - Without prior warning Quinns Radiators have dealt the local economy a massive blow with the loss of 280 jobs as the Irish owned company has slipped into administration. Workers turned up at work on Monday to receive redundancy letters from administrators Grant Thornton. Jayne Bryant AM described it as 'devastating news'.
UNION TRAINS ANNOUNCE NEW LONDON TRAIN SERVICE PLAN
Jun 14 - Union Trains has announced its intention to run hourly Cardiff - London train services from the end of 2020 cutting journey times to the UK capital by fifteen minutes. The trains will call additionally at Newport, Severn Tunnel and Bristol Parkway only and supplement GWR's two trains per hour from Newport to London. Once Cardiff Parkway is built at St. Mellons it will also stop there. UNion Trains state the service would create 135 jobs.
DLR TRAINS TO BE BUILT AT NEWPORT?
Jun 13 - CAF, the Spanish train builder, has won a new contract for 43 driverless trains for the Docklands Light Railway. It has not confirmed whether the new trains will be built at its new Newport train factory near the Eastern Distributor Road.
Jun 12 - A
comprehensive campaign to ensure residents of Newport are aware of the local
authority taking on Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) is being hailed a
success. A variety of messages, using the #ParkRight tag, have been put up
on Newport City Council’s social media channels including the website,
Facebook and Twitter.
They all emphasise that motorists need to observe the rules of the Highway Code – the Council if everyone follows these then the city will be a safer place for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists alike. Figures from the council’s Twitter and Facebook accounts show the messages have been seen thousands of times and shared across these platforms.
For the last six months the council has also released numerous statements on the progress of the CPE project and how it will operate across the city when it takes over from Gwent Police on 1 July 2019.
Road signs and traffic regulations including single and double yellow lines have been refreshed or replaced to ensure everyone is clear where they should park safely. And a team of Civil Enforcement Officers will be carrying out patrols and issuing offenders with penalty notices if they are in breach of the traffic regulations. Councillor Roger Jeavons, the Cabinet Member for City Services said: “In the months leading up to us taking on CPE we have had regular feedback from the public who are looking forward to us tackling motorists who blatantly disregard the rules of the road.
“We have been putting frequent messages out over social media and on our website using the hashtage #ParkRight which we know have been seen thousands of times. “The message is park right and park safe, and everyone needs to follow the rules.”
A formal notice of the council’s intention to take on CPE will be printed in the local media in the next few weeks.
CITY LEFT REELING FROM M4 RELIEF ROAD DECISION
Jun 7 - The Welsh
Government will not build the £1.6bn M4 relief road, First Minister Mark
Drakeford has decided. He states he axed the scheme because of its cost and
impact on the environment. The plans would have seen a 14-mile motorway
built as a gateway into south Wales in a bid to tackle the congestion faced
by motorists around Newport.
Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns said it was a "dark day" but Friends of the Earth welcomed the decision, saying it was "great news for Wales and the planet".
Mr Drakeford's move to scrap the six-lane scheme follows a public inquiry overseen by planning inspector Bill Wadrup, who said the case for the road had been "compelling". Ministers had decided that, with austerity and Brexit in the background, the uncertainty of the financial position of the Welsh Government meant the project was too expensive. But Mark Drakeford said he would not have gone ahead even if it was affordable because of the impact on the Gwent Levels.
Mr Cairns said: "It appears that the first minister thinks he knows better than the independent inquiry."
Newly-elected Newport West MP Ruth Jones said: "“I understand the reasons it has been rejected and I will be reading the full report with great interest,” she said. “Doing nothing is not an option. The inquiry report appears to recommend the black route quite strongly – if that’s the case then why are we not doing it?” The Welsh Government states it will make the money available for transport ideas (including new roads!) to relieve congestion around Newport.
Newport City Council leader Debbie Wilcox stated "“We welcome the First Minister’s commitment to instigate immediate action to tackle the traffic problems in and around Newport and establish an expert group. We will fully engage in this process from the outset. We are also pleased that the £1bn borrowing facility will also be available to make significant improvements to the transport infrastructure around the city. This is an opportunity we must not fail to grasp and we are ready to engage in these conversations with immediate effect.”
ELECTRIC BUSES FOR NEWPORT
Jun 6 - Newport is set
to become the first city in Wales to run fully electric zero emissions
buses. By April 2020, 15 electric single-decker buses will be in operation,
making up 15 per cent of the Newport Bus fleet. The first zero emission
Yutong E12 bus in Newport Transport colours is due to arrive next month,
with another seven arriving in February 2020.
M4 RELIEF ROAD DECISION NEXT WEEK?
May 31 - Is the Welsh
Government set to come off the fence and make a decision on the M4 Relief
Road, under consideration for over twenty years? First Minister for Wales
Mark Drakeford is set to make a statement on the proposed M4 relief road
next week. A decision on the long-delayed scheme, currently estimated to
cost more than £1.6 billion, has been awaited since Mr Drakeford took over
from Carwyn Jones in December last year.
But it has been repeatedly delayed with Mr Drakeford predicting a decision in the "first week of June".
NEWPORT CALLER STUMPS FARAGE
May 31 - Adam from Newport stumped Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage in an LBC phone in earlier today. The caller, a former leave voter, asked for the opportunity to stay in the EU after the lies and deception of the 2016 Referendum campaign. Link here
ROYAL GWENT A&E TO BE SCALED BACK WHEN NEW HOSPITAL OPENS
May 31 - The
Royal Gwent Hospital is set to see its accident and emergency department
scaled back when a new "super hospital" opens in 2021.
A spokesperson for the Health Board stated said: "Once The Grange University Hospital opens in 2021 the Royal Gwent will be designated as an Enhanced Local General Hospital and among many other services it will have a 24-hour/seven-days-a-week Minor Injuries Unit to deal with non life-threatening urgent conditions. The Grange University Hospital will be the health board’s designated Trauma Unit and will provide emergency services for the most serious injuries and illnesses."
However, they also explained that the current A&E model at the Newport and Abergavenny hospitals would change, with both sites only housing minor injuries units. These units only deal with minor injuries and urgent conditions that are not life-threatening, such as a broken leg, for example.
CRISIS IN NEWPORT GP SERVICES WORSENS
May 31 - Many GP patients in Newport are having to wait weeks for an appointment to see their GP. The troubled Ringland surgery where most of its regular GPs have now left is now run under a hosted arrangement by a Cardiff practice. It is not able to book forward appointments for patients to see a GP due to demand and offers a daily, no appointment required where patients have to wait up to two hours to see a GP. The surgery covers a population of 9,000 and hopes to move to a new medical centre in December 2020, first promised in 2009! Five general practices have closed in Newport in recent years, Eveswell surgery closed in March 2019 after 70 years of service to the community with patients transferred to already high demand services including Rugby Surgery on Corporation Road.
D-DAY MEMORIAL PLANNED
May 30 - The annual
D-Day Memorial Parade and Service, which this year marks the
75thanniversary, will take place on Thursday, 6 June.
The Mayor of Newport Councillor William J Routley will be attending the event, organised by the Royal Welsh Comrades Association, to lay a wreath on behalf of the council. Parade participants will meet outside Wetherspoons, Cambrian Road from 11.30am with the parade leaving at 11.45am to walk the route from Cambrian Road, turning left on the pedestrianised area of Bridge Street then left onto High Street to the D-Day Memorial where a short service and wreath laying ceremony will take place. The Royal Welsh Comrades Association would be delighted if members of the public could lend their support to the event by lining the streets to watch the parade. For safety reasons and to allow the parade to pass safely road closures will be in place along the route from 7am to 1pm. The D-Day Parade marks the historic date in 1944 when Allied forces launched a combined naval, air and land assault on Nazi-occupied France. They landed on the Normandy beaches on 6 June, marking the start of a long and bloody campaign to liberate north-west Europe.
SECOND CIVIC AMENITY SITE UNDER CONSIDERATION
May 29 - Newport City
Council says it recognises that queues on the SDR to use the Household Waste
Recycling Centre (HWRC) are an ongoing issue at peak times and have been for
many years, causing frustration for residents. To help alleviate this
problem the council introduced a scheme where the direction of traffic
around the site is reversed to create extra capacity for waiting vehicles.
The council also acknowledges that because of recent good weather at Easter and over the Bank Holidays there have been a peak in the number of users also impacted by a decision by both Monmouthshire and Caerphilly local authorities banning non-residents from using their facilities.
Taking all this into consideration the council is progressing plans to build a second HWRC in Newport. Councillor Roger Jeavons, the council’s cabinet member for City Services, said the authority recognises the need for a second HWRC as the city has the lowest provision in Wales.
EXHIBITIONS COMPANY MOVES TO ROGERSTONE
May 29 - According to Insider Media Wales an exhibitions company has signed up to let a 14,000 sq ft warehouse near Newport. EDB UK has agreed to let the site at the Avana Business Park, moving from Bedwas in Caerphilly. Commercial property company Rombourne acquired the former Avana Bakeries premises at Rogerstone last year and is developing the nine-acre site as a Business Park to provide up to 200,000 sq ft of manufacturing, warehouse and office accommodation.
BREXIT PARTY DOMINATE NEWPORT POLL
|May 27 - The Brexit
Party was dominant in results from the Newport area in the European
elections. The right wing anti EU party won 12,270 votes, Labour was a
with 6,934, the Lib Dems hit 4,821. Other pro-remain parties did well
including Plaid Cymru (3,277) and the Greens (2,172). The Conservatives
returned 2,754 as they lost their existing MEP in Wales. Across the UK the
Brexit Party hoovered up UKIP and some Conservative votes as the pro-Brexit
parties achieved a plurality but not a majority of votes. UKIP got 1,200
votes in Newport and Change UK won 1,065.
Pro-remain parties returned 40.5 per cent of the votes as against 35 per cent for the pro Brexit parties. The 73 seats in the UK and Northern Ireland were distributed as follows - Brexit Party 29, Lib Dems 16, Labour 10, Greens 7, Conservatives 4, SNP 3, Plaid Cymru 1, Sinn Fein 1, Allliance 1, DUP 1.