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BODY FOUND IN CANAL AT BETTWS

 

Nov 10- The body of a 35-year-old man has been found in a canal near Mill Heath in Bettws, Newport. Gwent Police received a call from a member of the public at around 8am on Saturday reporting the body. Officers say he was from the Bettws area. The death is not being treated as suspicious and his family have been informed.

 

MODERN SLAVERY INVESTIGATION LEADS TO FOUR ARRESTS

 

Nov 9 - A fourth person has been arrested following an investigation into modern slavery at two care homes. A 37-year-old woman from the Rhymney area has been arrested on suspicion of modern day slavery offences and she remains in police custody at this time. A 53-year-old man and a 64-year-old man from the Newport area and a 43-year-old man from Surrey were arrested on suspicion of modern slavery and related offences on Thursday. They have all been released on conditional police bail. Gwent Police, supported by the National Crime Agency (NCA), carried out warrants on Thursday morning at Danygraig Nursing Home on Chepstow Road in Newport and Ashville Residential Care Home in Brithdir. The search warrants were carried out following allegations that some staff working within these care homes are victims of modern slavery and related offences.

VISITING FANS ARRESTED AT COUNTY GAME

 

Nov 6 - Two visiting football fans were arrested and condemned by their club after Newport County’s 2-1 defeat by Salford City at Rodney Parade at the weekend. A 27-year-old man from Salford was arrested on suspicion of invading the pitch and a 20-year-old woman from Manchester was arrested on suspicion of two counts of assault and possession of a Class A and Class B drug on Saturday, November 2. Both have been charged and will appear in court.
 

CARDIFF EXPRESS ANNOYANCE OVER NEWPORT GROWTH PLAN

 

Nov 2 - Cardiff City Council has expressed annoyance at a draft National Development Framework for Wales that seeks to promote due to limited growth opportunities in the Welsh capital. The Council said although it supports the growth of Newport it would undermine Cardiff as the main economic driver of the Welsh economy. 

 

The report states "The Welsh Government is determined to see development and growth in Newport, allowing the city to fulfil its potential as a second focal point for the region. It has significant brown-field development opportunities to provide new housing and employment areas. There are emerging highly skilled employment opportunities in the transport and digital communications sectors which should be catalysts for further economic investments. The Metro will improve the city’s public transport system, especially within the city and to surrounding towns. It benefits from established road and rail links with Cardiff, Bristol and London."

In addition it goes on to say "The Welsh Government supports Newport as the focus for regional growth and investment and wants to see the City play an increased strategic role in the region. The strategic emphasis should be focussed on achieving growth in the city.
Strategic and Local Development Plans across the region should recognise Newport as a focus for strategic housing and economic growth; essential services and facilities; transport and digital infrastructure; and consider how they can support and benefit from Newport’s increased strategic regional role. Development in the wider region should be carefully managed to support Newport’s growth and to provide a focus for regional planning.
The Welsh Government will work with authorities within the region and in England to promote Newport’s strategic role and ensure key investment decisions in Wales and England support Newport and the wider region."

 

BUS VANDALISM CONTINUES

Nov 1 - Newport Bus has reported further attacks on its buses despite 'reassurance patrols' from police on its buses in the Ringland and Alway area. Newport Bus reported four attacks in two days on its Twitter feed with the 6 services re-routed following an attack. The attacks coincide with the half term break and lead up to Halloween and bonfire night. In a further attack a bus had a window smashed near the Harlequin Roundabout. Council leader Debbie Wilcox described them as a 'mindless minority'.

 


MP QUESTIONS POLICE FUNDING COMMITMENT

 

Oct 31 - Newport East MP Jessica Morden has questioned the Government's commitment to provide police funding. In Home Office questions she highlighted that the Government is 'dismally failing to provide assurances on future funding for policing.' The Government’s ‘Operation Uplift’ programme aims to gradually provide 20,000 new police officers – a gradual and partial replacement for 21,000 cut since 2010. However, no clarification has been provided on how the programme will be funded after its first year, and it is estimated that it will only take officer numbers in Gwent to a total slightly below their 2010 levels.
Speaking in Home Office questions, she said “Gwent Police’s budget has been cut by 40% in real terms since 2010, so the Government plans to recruit will only take us back to where we were in 2010, if that. What assurances have Ministers given Gwent Police that this programme, and importantly pension costs, will be funded after the first year?”
Responding for the Home Office, Policing Minister Kit Malthouse said that Gwent Police “already up 42 police officers on last year’s budget settlement”, with a further target of 62 allocated in the latest funding round. He added that announcements on police funding would be made in early December, and that he was “confident that there will be smiles all round at Gwent Police when we do”.
she commented "The Government is still not providing any assurances on how its recruitment programme will be funded beyond the first year. The Home Office should step up to the mark and fully fund the programme for its first three years, rather than placing the burden on local forces to increase the precept. As I’ve said before, there are no indications of a move towards the long-term funding strategy for policing that officers and staff need and deserve."

 

DRUGS GANG JAILED

 

Oct 29 - Ten men from Newport have been jailed for their involvement in a multi-million pound heroin supply network, based in Liverpool and taking in Newport, Cardiff, Gloucester, Plymouth, and Hartlepool.
Gang members used specialist phones with "military-style encryption" to try to cover their tracks, Newport Crown Court was told this week as the men were sentenced. The ten Newport men are among 20 people caught by the Tarian Regional Organised Crime Unit following a nine-month operation, codenamed Operation Jackdaw 2, which involved police officers trawling through 2.3 million lines of phone data and producing more than 49,000 pages of evidence against the defendants (listed below)

• Spencer Killoran, 25, of Somerton Park, Newport - guilty plea, 14 years;
• Kieran Lewis, 27, of Albany Street, Newport - guilty plea, 10 years and eight months;
• Salman Ali, 23, of Commercial Road, Newport - guilty plea, nine years and seven months;
• Ryan Gifford, 37, of Crouch Close, Newport, guilty plea, eight years;
• Jason Underwood, 42, of Oliphant Circle, Newport - guilty plea, eight years;
• Benjamin Morgan, 26, of Maugham Close, Newport -guilty plea, six years;
• Harri Pullen, 21, of Crouch Close, Newport - convicted after a trial, five years and six months;
• Jan Serafin, 27, of Greene Close, Newport - convicted after a trial, three years and six months;
• Robert McLean, 27, of Moorland Park, Newport - guilty plea, three years and four months;
• Ryan Morgan, 22, of no fixed abode - guilty plea, three years and four months;
• Dominik Serafin, 22, of Greene Close, Newport -guilty plea, two years;
• Nicholas Evans, of Plymouth - convicted after a trial, 15 years;
• Sean Doolan, of Liverpool - guilty plea, 14 years;
• Andre Harrison, of Gloucester - guilty plea, 13 years and seven months;
• Francis Westhead, of Liverpool - guilty plea, 11 years and four months;
• Raymond Lee, of Plymouth - guilty plea, 10 years;
• Mohammed Yousef Ali, of Cardiff - guilty plea, nine years and seven months;
• Dale Millar, of Gloucester - guilty plea, seven years and two months;
• Craig Morgan, of Cardiff - guilty plea, six years and eight months;
• Samuel Lewis, of Newtown - guilty plea, three years and six months.
 

BURGLARS CAUGHT

 

Oct 29 - Two burglaries were reported in the Rivermead estate area of Rogerstone overnight on Monday 28th October 2019. The alleged offenders broke into properties, stole items including car keys and a vehicle. Following a police investigation, on Tuesday 29th October 2019 a 36-year-old man from Llanrumney, Cardiff has been charged with two counts of burglary (dwelling and theft), theft of a motor vehicle and fraud by false representation. A 32-year-old man from Roath, Cardiff has also been charged with two counts of burglary (dwelling and theft) and theft of a motor vehicle. A 38-year-old man, of no fixed abode, has also been charged with two counts of burglary (dwelling and theft), theft of a motor vehicle and possession of a controlled drug of Class B.
They will now appear in court.

 

FORMER COMET SITE PLAN / PLANNING NEWS

 

Oct 28 - Plans to build three new units on the site of a former Comet in Newport have been revealed, with the project predicted to create up to 75 jobs. The plans for the site on Docks Way in the city, which has been disused for ten years, have been submitted by Asbri Planning on behalf of CDP.

Tenants include Costa Coffee, Domino's and Burger King. Donut King will be taking up a cafe site in the Newport Debenhams store. Work has started on the new Easy Hotel in Clarence Place.

 

ATTEMPTED MURDER CHARGE FOLLOWING WHARF ROAD CRASH

 

Oct 21 - A 24-year-old man has been charged with attempted murder after a crash between a car and pedestrian. It happened on on 8 October on Wharf Road, Newport. The man charged is from the Newport area. A man and woman, both 38 and from the Newport area, were arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender, and have been released under investigation.
Gwent Police said the pedestrian, a man aged 22 from the Newport area, remains in hospital in a critical condition.
The force said it was not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.
 

STEELWORKERS MARCH TO SAVE JOBS

 

Oct 13 - Steelworkers and supporters marched through Newport yesterday in a bid to save the Orb steelworks. An estimated 500 made their way through the city centre before assembling at the Westgate Hotel to hear speeches from local MPs.  Jessica Morden MP led a Westminster Hall debate on the future of Newport’s Orb Steelworks earlier this week. She said "With the investment and support it needs—there is a plan, which I will come to later—the plant could and should have a bright future, especially at a time when, due to the growth of electric vehicles and electrification generally, demand for this type of steel is only going to grow....Fewer work places are more ingrained into the life of Newport than Orb. Our iconic transporter bridge was originally built to carry Orb workers over the River Usk. There are street names in Newport such as Dudley, Walsall, Bilston, and Handsworth, and even the Wolverhampton Wanderers-based colours chosen for Newport County AFC commemorate the west midlands migration....The number of electric cars on our roads will grow and grow over the next decade. The UK Government are providing millions of pounds to support the roll-out of charging infrastructure, and it is imperative that we use UK steel in all this."

 

POLICE CAN RECRUIT 62 NEW OFFICERS

 

Oct 11 - Gwent Police can recruit 62 new officers as part of a nationwide drive to boost ranks, the UK Government has announced. At a National Police Board meeting, home secretary Priti Patel revealed how many extra officers each police force in England and Wales would be allowed to recruit in the first stage of the UK government's pledge to hire 20,000 officers over the next three years. The target for Gwent Police to recruit 62 new officers will boost its ranks by 4.7 per cent.

 

NEW CONTRACT FOR CAF

 

Oct 10 - West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has awarded CAF a €90m contract to supply 21 Urbos catenary-free LRVs, with an option for 29 additional vehicles, for operation in Birmingham. The first units are scheduled for delivery in late 2021. The contract also includes technical support and spare parts supply for 30 years. They could be built at CAF's Newport factory.
CAF supplied the current fleet of 21 Urbos trams for Birmingham in 2012. In 2018, these units were subsequently fitted with a Greentech on-board energy storage solution using lithium-ion batteries enabling catenary-free operation. The new Urbos units will be equipped with a similar solution which eliminates the need for catenary, protecting architecturally-sensitive areas around the city centre. CAF says the solution also provides substantial improvements in energy efficiency.

 

MAN ARRESTED AFTER HIT AND RUN

 

Oct 9 - A 22-year-old man was taken to hospital with "life threatening injuries" after being hit by a car on Wharf Road , Newport , at about 2pm on Tuesday, October 8. The driver of the vehicle failed to stop after hitting the man. Gwent Police confirmed that a 24-year-old man from Newport is currently in custody on suspicion of attempted murder and a 38-year-old man from Newport has been arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender.
The male pedestrian, from Newport, remains in hospital in a critical condition.

 

CITY LIGHTS UP FOR BABY LOSS AWARENESS

 

Oct 9 - Newport Civic Centre will again be illuminated in pink and blue lights from 9 to 15 October to show the city’s support for Baby Loss Awareness Week 2019. The annual awareness week, now in its 17th year, is an opportunity for bereaved parents, families and friends to commemorate babies’ lives and break the silence around pregnancy and baby loss in the UK.
Councillor Debbie Wilcox, Leader of Newport City Council, said: “It is an honour to be able to again support this worthy cause and hope that turning the Civic Centre pink and blue will spark conversations about baby loss and give local bereaved parents and families an opportunity to talk about their precious babies. “I would like to thank Newport Norse and company SLX who have helped make this possible.”
 

MP HAILS CITY DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CAMPAIGNER

 

Oct 5 - Newport East MP Jess Morden MP has used a House of Commons speech to praised the work of Newport domestic violence survivor and campaigner Rachel Williams. she said "I spoke during a debate on the second reading of the Domestic Abuse Bill, which seeks to offer greater support to victims, introduce an official definition of domestic abuse that includes economic abuse, and stop the cross-examination of victims by their abusers in court."
Intervening during a speech from Labour’s Shadow Women and Equalities Minister Carolyn Harris MP, she said “A prominent campaigner against the injustice domestic abuse victims face in the family courts system is Rachel Williams who recently organised the Stand Up to Domestic Abuse Conference in Newport which we both attended. Will my honourable friend join me in paying tribute to campaigners and survivors like Rachel, whose courage in speaking out makes a real difference to legislation like this?”
In response Carolyn Harris emphasised her agreement, rightly stating that Rachel is “an absolute inspiration and someone we should all look up to.”

 

After many years in an abusive relationship, in 2011 Mrs Williams who was working in her hairdressing salon on Malpas Road was shot and severely injured by her violent partner who then took his own life. She now campaigns to end domestic abuse and is an Ambassador for Welsh Women’s Aid, The Freedom Programme, Threshold DAS and a SafeLives Pioneer.
 

COMMUNITY WARDENS TO INCREASE VISIBILITY

 

Oct 4 - Community Safety Wardens employed by Newport City Council are to be more visible on the streets of the city from Monday 7 October.
A change of shift pattern has been introduced so they can regularly spend more daylight hours in the city centre and other hotspot areas in the city.
Community safety wardens respond to complaints of anti-social behaviour, noise nuisance, littering and dog fouling. They will be working from 1pm to 10pm seven days a week and will be patrolling areas of the city to address concerns raised by the public. Complaints made to wardens at the end of a working shift will be addressed the following day.
Newport City Council’s cabinet member for licensing and regulation, Councillor Ray Truman, said it is important the wardens are visible, especially in the city centre. “Our Community Safety Wardens do sterling work in responding to complaints from the public, especially if this involves anti-social behaviour, and we believe it is important they are seen by the public to give reassurance,” said Cllr Truman.
The council run service will also take complaints via email at incidents.wardens@newport.gov.uk , via phone on 01633 656656 from 8am to 6pm and after 6pm on 01633 656667.
 

GREENS IN NEWPORT: LEADER CALLS FOR SCRAPPING OF HOME OFFICE

 

Oct 4 - The Green Party's co-leader is calling for the Home Office to be scrapped in a radical shake-up of immigration policy. Jonathan Bartley said the department was "pernicious" in its treatment of people and a new Ministry for Sanctuary should oversee a "fairer" system. In a speech to his party conference, he warned of a "new authoritarianism" in Britain and said he was "ashamed of what our country has become".
Only the Greens could deal with the injustices that led to Brexit, he said. Addressing activists on the first day of the Green Party conference in Newport, Mr Bartley also called for free bus travel in England, and for all future laws passed by Parliament to be measured against their environmental impact on the next generation.

 

ELECTRIC CHARGING POINTS PLAN FOR NEWPORT

 

Oct 2 - Newport is set to have up to 16 additional charging points across the city thanks to funding. Gwent local authorities have been awarded £459,000 from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) to install electric vehicle charge points in car parks in residential areas. Thanks to the funding the five local authorities (Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, Newport and Torfaen) will work to install electric vehicle charging infrastructure across local authority car parks in Gwent. Councillor Roger Jeavons, Cabinet Member for City Services, said: “We are very grateful for this funding that will now allow us to extend the availability of charging points in Newport and support our wider ambitions to create a healthier and greener environment. “As a council we have introduced electric vehicles into our fleet and hope that having more charging points both in Newport and across Gwent will encourage residents to also make the move to more sustainable vehicle options.”
The electric vehicle charge points will be installed in car parks near residential areas to support residents without off street parking switching to electric vehicles. Further details on the locations will follow. The aim is to address barriers to residential electric vehicle take-up caused by having no dedicated off street parking (i.e. no drive way or garage where an electric vehicle could be charged). Car park locations in Newport are currently being identified and subject to the appointment of contractors, the new points should be live in Spring 2020.

 

CITY APPOINTS INTERIM CHIEF EXECUTIVE

 

Oct 1 - Newport City Council has appointed Sheila Davies as interim chief executive. Councillor Debbie Wilcox, Leader of Newport City Council, said: “Sheila has over 25 years’ experience of working in local government and the economic development and regeneration sector. Coupled with having previously worked for our authority in a strategic position, and her undisputed track record of delivering major projects for the city, we are very excited to welcome her back. This is a period of considerable change for Newport City Council, so I wanted to make sure our senior management team had strong leadership at the helm, ensuring we are well place to continue the excellent work being done to build a better Newport. This will also give us opportunity to consider carefully a permanent appointment.”
Ms Davies’ recent role as programme director for the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) City Deal saw her lead preparations for the implementation of the £1.25bn Deal between UK Government, Welsh Government and the 10 local authorities of south east Wales. Since leaving that post she has worked as a specialist advisor and consultant. As strategic director–place at Newport City Council, a position she held for over seven years, she had responsibility for streetscene and city services, regeneration investment and housing services, customer services, and an overview of Newport Norse Joint Venture for all property services, and Newport Live, the city’s leisure trust.

 

GO KART SEIZED

 

Oct 1 - A "reckless" go kart driver put "lives at risk" by looping around the Old Green roundabout in the centre of Newport. The go-kart carrying  two people was seen driving over Newport Bridge and onto the busy roundabout by Newport Castle at about 9.50am on Tuesday, October 1. Sgt Draper of Gwent Police stated : “Police today received a report regarding the use of a go kart on a busy road, we have since been made aware of this video in circulation, believed to have been taken sometime this week on the Old Green Roundabout in Newport. The good news is that we have just seized this go kart but we are appealing for information on those who were using it.

Three drug dealers are facing long prison sentences after they pleaded guilty to trafficking cocaine and ecstasy in Newport and Torfaen. Cameron Symonds, aged 21, of Liberty Grove, Callum Biggs, aged 20, of Bishton Street and Declan Beesley, aged 22, of Gainsborough Drive, have each admitted two counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs. They will be sentenced on October 25.
5.


POLICE INVESTIGATE FARAGE COMMENT

 

Sep 29 - Police said they have been "looking into" comments made by Nigel Farage at a Brexit Party rally in Newport last week. The Brexit Party leader said "we'll take the knife" to "the overpaid pen pushers in Whitehall". Gwent Police said "following a thorough assessment" the comments do not constitute a criminal offence.

"We have received a number of comments and concerns from members of the public regarding a video that is circulating on social media. We can confirm this video relates to a visit by Nigel Farage to The Neon in Newport as part of a Brexit Party rally on the evening of 21st September. We are aware of the heightened tensions that exist regarding use of language, and take all allegations and concerns from members of the public very seriously. However, following a thorough assessment, it is our view that the comments in the video, do not constitute a criminal offence. As such, Gwent Police will not be taking any further action" said Assistant Chief Constable Rhiannon Kirk
Brexit Party leader Farage made these comments at a rally last Saturday: "When the president of the port of Calais and the boss of the port of Dover tell you they're 100% ready for Brexit in whatever form it comes I suggest we listen to them and not the overpaid pen pushers in Whitehall who are not doing a neutral job and once Brexit's done we'll take the knife to them. I've had enough of all of it."

 

DELAY AFTER DEATH ON RAIL LINE

 

Sep 28 - Rail services on the Manchester line out of Newport faced major delays this morning after a person was hit by a train. British Transport Police said one person had been killed in the incident, which is not being treated as suspicious. A National Rail spokesperson said the incident took place near Cwmbran between Newport and Abergavenny. All lines were clear with services resuming after 12:30
 

RAIN CAUSES FLOODING IN SHAFTSBURY AREA

 

Sep 28 - Police reported flooding near the old Sainsbury site on the A4042 last night following recent heavy crews. Fire crews attended to clear the flooded road. A spokesman for Natural Resources Wales said: “With the forecasted strong winds and high tides, we are monitoring sea levels and weather conditions and will issue flood warnings to registered properties in areas that are at risk. We have been speaking with our partners from the emergency services and all the local authorities which might be affected so they can put their plans into action should it be necessary. We want people to be aware that flood water can be extremely dangerous, and people should not attempt to walk or drive through it unless instructed by the emergency services.”

PLAID CYMRU MP CRITICISES PRINCE ANDREW VISIT

 

Sep 27 - University of South Wales should not have hosted Prince Andrew in Newport while he faces "serious allegations", Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood has said, according to BBC reports. American woman Virginia Giuffre, who says she had sex with the Duke of York when she was 17, recently told a US TV network she was "trafficked" to him. Prince Andrew has denied having "any form of sexual contact or relationship" with Ms Giuffre.
The university said the event, aimed at entrepreneurs, was arranged months ago. University of South Wales hosted the prince's Pitch@Palace event, aimed at helping the work of entrepreneurs, on Tuesday. Buckingham Palace, on behalf of the prince, has said the claims against him were "false and without any foundation".

SPATE OF BURGLARIES IN CITY CENTRE

 

Sep 25 - A spate of burglaries in the city centre has plagued independent businesses in the city centre over the last two weeks. The crude and unsophisticated break-ins have targeted coffee shops such as Bar Piazza and Horton's, an Indian restaurant and a pizza takeaway. According to a South Wales Argus report " CCTV captured from the Horton’s security system shows the man – obscuring his face with a hood and mask – grasping a bottle in one hand and throwing a projectile at the business’ windows with the other. Another video shows a man, thought to be the same man, walking past the businesses without his hood and mask. Gavin Horton said: “Just before 4am the alarm got triggered due to the security glass being broken. He was smashing the hell out of the door with rocks and a crowbar. He then trotted off when the alarm went off. It’s bizarre nobody heard it.”


BUSES TARGETED BY YOBS

 

Sep 21 - Police officers will travel on busses and have an increased presence in the Ringland area following a spate of senseless attacks on Newport Bus services. “We are working hard to protect our communities and we will not tolerate the safety of others being put in jeopardy,” said local inspector for Newport East, Martin Cawley

Newport Transport said: “It has been due to good fortune that someone has not be seriously injured”. On Tuesday, September 17, a window was smashed in Ringland on Hendre Farm Drive, making it the fifth such incident in the last week. Last Friday, September 13, a window was smashed in Ringland – though there were no injuries. The day before, the driver of the 8A/8C Ringland service was hit by a stone thrown through his window on Chepstow Road at around 6.45pm. He suffered a small cut on his head, but luckily was able to complete his route. The route 9 and route 8 buses were also hit by rocks on Wednesday, September 11, on Chepstow Road near the Man of Gwent pub at around 7pm.

 

BREXIT RALLY - FARAGE VOWS TO FIGHT ANY TORY DEAL

 

Sep 21 - Nigel Farage addressed 400 supporters of the Brexit Party in a rally at Newport Neon on Saturday. He said his party will challenge "in seat after seat" because Labour has "completely abandoned" its Brexit-supporting voters. Mr Farage said the Brexit Party's comfortable victory in Wales in May's European elections was a "good start". Several speakers at the rally were critical of Boris Johnson's attempt to reach a fresh Brexit deal with the European Union, labelling it "the worst deal in history"

Earlier this week the UKIP party conference at Celtic Manor attracted fewer than a hundred supporters.

NEWPORT SET TO APPOINT INTERIM CHIEF

 

Sept 20 - In a period of potential turmoil for Newport City Council members have indicated they plan to appoint an interim chief. Current chief Will Godfrey is leaving the authority in early October after six years to join Bath and North East Somerset Council (BANES). A council report says that more time is needed to recruit a permanent replacement. In the meantime the authority is recommending the appointment of an interim chief executive for six months, with an option to extend to 12 months.

SHATTERING BLOW FOR CITY AS TATA ANNOUNCES ORB CLOSURE

 

Sep 18 - Hundreds of jobs could go with the closure of a Tata steel plant in Newport. There has been a factory at the site since 1898 but Orb Electrical Steels has not been in profit for four years. Up to 380 jobs could go although Tata hope to offer jobs elsewhere in Wales.
The factory, which makes electrical steel used in power transmission, was put up for sale in May 2018, with Tata wanting to concentrate on its core steel business. Jess Morden MP stated "Orb can and should have a future. I want the chance to debate it in the House of Commons to ensure Ministers understand why the plant is so important."
She asked the secretary of state for action: “Thank you Mr Speaker the secretary of state talked about manufacturing and the economy earlier. The impact of TATA’s announcement on Monday that its to close Cogent Orb steelworks will be keenly felt in Newport, and its devastating news for workers and their family. Will the Secretary of State meet with me urgently to discuss what the Government will do?”
Alun Cairns MP, Secretary of State for Wales, responded “Absolutely I will agree to meet with the Honourable Lady and work and coordinate our response with her. I recognise the priority she has placed on this operation for some time and highlighted some of the risks and concerns she had some time ago. Yesterday I spoke to Roy Rickhuss from Community Union. I have also naturally spoken to TATA and we are working with BEIS in terms of challenging the issues that TATA are raising, to seek to bring them to the most competitive position possible.”

Tata Steel's European operations head Henrik Adam said: "I recognise how difficult this news will be for all those affected and we will work very hard to support them."
Unions said Tata - which employs nearly 6,000 workers in Wales - was breaking its commitments over job guarantees. Orb Electrical Steels is part of Tata's Cogent division, part of which is being sold to the Japanese steel company JFE Shoji Trade Corporation. Tata is also closing its Wolverhampton Engineering Steels service centre, with up to 26 jobs at risk.

 

PEOPLE'S VOTE RALLY ATTRACTS SIGNIFICANT SUPPORT

 

Sep 13 - About 450 people have attended a rally in Newport calling for a new referendum on European Union membership. Demonstrators from the People's Vote campaign and MPs from across the political divide gathered at The Neon on Friday night. MP for Aberconwy Guto Bebb, who was one of the 21 Conservative MPs to lose the whip last week, was given a loud cheer from the crowd as he arrived on the stage. He said: "This started with a referendum, it should end with a confirmatory vote and a second referendum."

WILCOX HEADS TO LORDS

 

Sep 10 - The leader of Newport City Council says she will step down "with a tear in my eye" to join the House of Lords. Debbie Wilcox - who also leads the Welsh Local Government Association - was nominated by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for her "outstanding contribution to education and local government." The former teacher was elected to the council in 2004 and had been its leader since 2016.
She told councillors it was a "great honour" to be made a life peer. The peerage was confirmed on Tuesday in the resignation honours list of former prime minister Theresa May, which includes nominations from other parties.

 

FOOTPATH OPENS

 

Sep 7 - A public footpath which took walkers over high speed rail tracks via a pedestrian level crossing, has now been diverted thanks to a project by Newport City Council and Network Rail. The footpath in Marshfield has been extended and now makes use of a nearby bridge to create a much safer alternative route for users. Network Rail, supported by the Office of Rail Regulation, had run a national campaign to highlight the dangers of level crossings throughout the rail network.

 

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 accommodation.
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.

 

PLANNING UPDATE

 

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.

 

CITY CLAIMS 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."

 

HOUSING DEVELOPMENT 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 Manor.
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. 

PARK RIGHT#

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

    votes %
  Brexit Party  12270 35.57
  Labour 6934 20.10
  Lib Dem 4821 13.98
  Plaid Cymru 3277 9.50
  Conservative 2754 7.98
  Green 2172 6.30
  UKIP 1200 3.48
  Change UK 1065 3.09

 

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 distant second 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.