NEW TESTING CENTRES IN NEWPORT AS CASES RISE SLIGHTLY

Apr 18 - Aneurin Bevan University Health Board will operate a mobile Covid-19 testing unit at Ringland Labour Club from today (Friday 16th April) until Monday 10th May. If you have any symptoms of Coronavirus (Covid-19) – a new continuous cough, high temperature or loss of taste and/or smell please book a test as soon as possible. A new facility has also opened in Bassaleg. The number of cases in Newport has increased slightly to 15 per 100,000. The mass vaccination programme moves to those in their mid to late thirties next week.

WOMAN TAKE TO WRONG HOUSE BY AMBULANCE

Apr 17 - An 89-year-old New Inn woman was mistakenly taken to the wrong house - eight miles from her own - by an ambulance crew, after being discharged from hospital. Her son has told the South Wales Argus the “horrific” incident also involved her being left at a house in Newport, with a stranger, for more than two hours, after being put to bed by the crew.

Elizabeth Mahoney had been admitted to Nevill Hall Hospital in Abergavenny on December 27 with suspected Covid-19. After testing positive, she was transferred to County Hospital in Pontypool and spent 10 weeks there before her family were told she would be coming home. The crew believed they were returning a woman called Margaret to her home in Newport. The NHS state they are investigating the incident.

DEVELOPMENTS UNDER WAY OR PLANNED DESPITE PANDEMIC

Apr 16 - A number of developments are planned or are under way in Newport despite the economic impact of the pandemic. Unfortunately there are very few retail based plans in the city centre but there are a number of developments including radical plans to convert retail properties on Commercial Street into residences.

Developments under way - Newport Indoor Market (retail, flats, performance / exhibition space), the new hotel at Coldra Court, office building rear of Newport station and the Costa drive thru - old Town Dock. Further phases of development are being built in Llanwern and Glan Llyn.

Recent planning applications - include Boots - removal of canopy at front of store ,Commercial Street - above Nationwide - conversion of upper floor buildings into flat, Wildings building - split of street level into two retail units, conversion of remainder of building into 27 flats, Caerleon campus and new leisure centre / city campus - initial stages of development, Cambrian Road six storey office development, conversion of Arabesque 10 Clarence Place into a HMO, conversion of Charles Street adult education centre into flats and conversion of former Queens school site into houses.

EVANS BACKS BRYANT

Apr 17 - Rogerstone independent councillor Chris Evans has thrown his support behind Newport West Labour AM Jayne Bryant in her bid for re-election at next month's Senedd elections.

ELECTRIC BUSES ADDED TO FLEET

Apr 15 - Newport Transport, the main bus operator for the city, has announced 16 fully-electric zero-emission Yutong buses have been ordered, with an expected delivery of December 2021. Using an additional funding of £2.8 million from the UK Department for Transport (DfT) and its commercial partnerships, Newport Transport has ordered five new Yutong E12 single deck buses and eleven new Yutong E10 single deck buses. A third of the Newport Bus fleet will be electric by Christmas.

CITY TO FELL TREES DUE TO DISEASE

Apr 8 - A total of 8,600 trees affected by ash dieback disease will have to be felled in Newport. The city council branded it a "devastating airborne disease" and said it would plant two trees for every one cut down on its land. Hundreds have already been felled in woodland off Caerleon Road.
"Priority for removal is based on the stage of the disease and the risk," said a spokesperson.

NEW CITY BAR SET TO OPEN

Apr 7 - A new cocktail bar geared to over-25s is preparing to open its doors as lockdown begins to ease in Wales. Management of Coco's Bar on High Street, Newport, are expecting to open their new bar on the site of the former La Bamba restaurant towards the end of May this year.

REDUCTION IN CITY CASES BUT NOT AT NATIONAL RATE

Mar 29 - Newport reported six new cases yesterday to bring its rate per 100,000 to 51.5, well above the national rate in Wales of 38.5. The restrictions were relaxed yesterday to allow travel throughout Wales and the opening of holiday accommodation to Welsh residents.

MOTHER'S DAY PARTY CAUSES SPIKE

Mar 28 - A cluster of Covid-19 cases associated with a family event on Mother's Day has been identified in Newport. The outdoor gathering has been linked to nine positive cases from up to four different households. A local business, adult and child care arrangements and three school year groups have been affected by the party. "This is exactly the sort of thing [Incident Management Team] reports reflect on each day," First Minister Mark Drakeford said. "That is where the TTP system is so useful, that is where that intelligence comes from."

CELTIC MANOR - 'DEVASTATING IMPACT' OF COVID

Mar 27 - Ian Edwards, chief executive of the Celtic Manor Resort has said the coronavirus pandemic has had a "devastating impact" on the resort. He confirmed it had lost "tens of millions of pounds" in business since the pandemic began. "It's been awful, particularly for those people who have lost their jobs. When we entered the pandemic we employed over 1,000 people in the resort and the surrounding businesses. During that process we lost probably about 350 people within our business, those who were made redundant and those who decided to leave the industry because of the strife it has been under."

FIRST MOSQUE VACCINE CLINIC LAUNCHED

Mar 27 - Wales’ first vaccine clinic in a mosque has started giving people their Covid jabs. A clinic will now be held at the Jamiae mosque, in Newport, every month. Dr Kasim Ramzen, of Muslim Doctors Cymru, assured patients the vaccine was halal and having it would not break Ramadan fasts. He said having the clinic in the mosque helped them see people “we have never been able to access before".

GIBSON TO HEAD UP TRANSPORT IMPLEMENTATION PLAN

CITY FIGURES SHOW SLIGHT REDUCTION

Jan 22 - Covid infection rates in Newport are falling slightly but not at the rate of neighbouring areas. Newport has a rate to January 19 of 315.5 per 100,000, the third highest rate in Wales out of 22 local authority areas. The Welsh average is 245.
The test positivity rate in Newport is 17.4 per cent (it is 15 per cent across Wales).

SNOWFALL COATS CITY

Jan 22 - Five centimetres of snow fell in Newport last night, the first snow of the winter. The snow was caused by a small low pressure system moving across the southern half of the country. It has not caused any disruption. 

NEW PILL TESTING SITE

Jan 21 - A local testing site (LTSs) is opening in Newport on Saturday 23 January as part of the government's drive to improve access to Covid-19 tests. Pill residents will be able to book a test at the LTS in the car park of the former Kwik Save at 169 Commercial Road.
From Monday, it will operate from 8am to 8pm. The testing site serves the local community so those attending can walk to it and do not have to drive to get a test. If you have any symptoms of Coronavirus (Covid-19) - a new continuous cough, high temperature or loss of taste and/or smell please book a test as soon as possible.

SUCCESSFUL BID MAINTAINS FUTURE OF TRANSPORTER BRIDGE

Jan 19 - Newport City Council has successfully secured an £8.75m grant to help turn the Newport Transporter Bridge into a major tourist attraction.
The successful bid from the council to the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) will allow us to repair and preserve the structure and open a new visitor centre at the site. The council has also allocated £1m from its capital budget to the project, without which we would not have been able to secure the bigger grant, and is exploring a number of other avenues with the aim of securing further funding. The new centre, which will be linked to the bridge via a walkway, will allow us to bring the history of the bridge to life through showcasing the personal stories of those who designed, built and use the bridge. Facilities at the centre will include a café, toilets and changing facilities, shop, exhibition gallery and community space. There will also be more car parking spaces for visitors and an exciting activities programme including theatrical performances, art classes and mindfulness sessions. The restoration of the bridge will include work on the gondola, which will see the reinstatement of a number of its architectural features, as well as improvements to the approach road on the eastern side of the bridge. Refurbishment will also be carried out on the main boom, and a number of cables will be replaced. Cllr Jane Mudd, leader of the council, said “The Transporter Bridge is an icon of Newport, and a significant part of the story of Wales’ industrial past, one that we need to preserve for future generations so that we can tell the stories of our shared history. I’m therefore delighted that we have been able to secure this funding from NHLF which will allow us to do exactly that."

M4 RELIEF ROAD PLAN B ENDORSED

  1. Jan 16 - The Welsh Government has endorsed the recommendations of the South East Wales Transport Commission, which published a report in November proposing a ‘comprehensive and co-ordinated’ programme of rail enhancements, rapid bus routes and active travel measures to reduce congestion on the M4 motorway without building the Newport relief road. In its findings, the commission recommended an infrastructure package to:

    - create a new south east Wales ‘rail backbone’ by significantly increasing the capacity and flexibility of the SWML
    - transform access to the rail network by increasing the number of stations between Cardiff and the Severn Tunnel from three to nine
    - create new rapid bus and commuter cycle corridors across Cardiff and Newport, connecting to the rail backbone and Cardiff City Council’s public transport proposals, and
    - establish a ‘hub and spoke’ network of bus and cycle corridors within Newport.

    The government has confirmed it will work with partners including TfW, infrastructure manager Network Rail, and the British government to increase capacity, reduce journey times and improve network resilience. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has also been signed with Newport City Council to jointly develop bus and active travel measures in the city, supported by TfW. “Tackling congestion on the M4 around Newport remains a priority of this government, whilst also being mindful of the need for decarbonisation, improved air quality, transport equity and a robust response to Covid-19,” says minister for economy, transport and North Wales, Mr Ken Skates.

  2. CITY COUNCIL SCHOOL CONTRACT WITH TROUBLED COMPANY

  3. Jan 16 - Newport City Council is currently providing vouchers to parents and carers of children eligible for free school meals during term time and the holidays. It has recently awarded Chartwells a new 10-year contract for this provision. They were forced to apologise after concerns about the standards of its food parcels in parts of England, which were described by footballer and campaigner Marcus Rashford as ‘unacceptable’.
    Cllr Carmel Townsend, the council’s Liberal Democrat group leader, has called for a report to be presented to councillors after the concerns surfaced about provision in England. “I am hugely disappointed that this company is used by Newport council, and even more concerned that they have been given a ten-year contract to deliver this,” she told the Argus “I call on the council to urgently deliver a report to us as councillors, detailing steps they will take to ensure good quality and quantity of food.

    The Council claims there is a high level of satisfaction with the service provided by Chartwells and representatives from secondary and primary schools were on the evaluation panel during the tender process for the new contract. They stated all were satisfied with the standard, quality and choice of food provided by Chartwells and had no reservations about awarding the contract which starts in the new financial year. If any concerns or issues have been raised by pupils or parents they claim they have been fully investigated and resolved by the council and the company.

  4. CAFE AT RIDGEWAY WARNED OVER COVID MEASURES

  5. Jan 15 - The Cafe at Ridgeway in Allt-yr-yn was served the improvement notice on Tuesday January 19 after the council said it was found to not be complying with safety measures during a visit by an enforcement officer last weekend. John Lavender, who runs the cafe, said he was frustrated by the notice, having felt that the business had done "everything within our power to operate within the guidelines."
    "We rarely go a week without a visit from a council official, always with the same story about a few people who keep complaining regarding the crowds which now regard Ridgeway as an area to exercise," he told Wales Online.

  6. MARKET WORK SET TO START

  7. Jan 14 - Work on the long-awaited redevelopment of Newport Market is finally set to begin in the next week. Penarth developers Loft Co, who are behind the proposed £12 million revamp of the historic indoor market, have confirmed work will begin in the next week with a view to finishing it within the next 12 months. It is understood that all surveying of the site has already been completed, meaning work can begin immediately on setting the market up in preparation for internal demolition within the constraints of its Grade-II listed status. This will be followed by the refurbishment of the office space at both sides of the building, followed by the building of the new market. The plans include introducing a food court and bar on the ground floor, a workspace hub and offices, alongside 42 affordable apartments and a refurbished market.

IMPROVEMENT IN CITY CASE RATE AS A COVID-DOMINATED 2021 DAWNS

Jan 1 2021 - There was a glimmer of hope as the number of new cases per 100,000 residents fell significantly across Newport in the week between December 21 and December 27. In the week from December 14 to December 20, the coronavirus incidence rate in Newport was 822.1 per 100,000. This dropped to 404.1 per 100,000 over the Christmas period. Wales was moved into new alert level four restrictions on December 19.
In Monmouthshire it fell from 476.8 to 236.8, in Blaenau Gwent it was 486.7, down from 911.8 and in Torfaen the rate dropped from 718.4 to 450.2.
Aneurin Bevan University Health Board is opening additional mobile Covid-19 testing units in the Rogerstone and Gaer areas of Newport. The temporary units will provide a walk-up testing service to residents of Rogerstone, Gaer, Pye Corner and Graig. If you have any symptoms of Coronavirus (Covid-19) – a new continuous cough, high temperature or loss of taste and/or smell please book a test as soon as possible. If you have symptoms, you and any household members should isolate immediately. Your whole household should continue to isolate until the test result is received. If the test is positive, all household members and close contacts should continue to isolate for 10 days as per current guidance. Even if you receive a negative result, Wales is now at alert level 4 with stay-at-home restrictions in place.

CRITICAL CARE CONSULTANT HONOURED

Dec 31 - Dr Tamas Szakmany, a Critical Care Consultant at Newport's Royal Gwent Hospital, is being appointed an MBE for services to the NHS during Covid-19 . He said he was "very surprised". On top of his clinical duties and research into Covid-19 he has spent twice his normal clinical time at the bedside, personally looking after more than 50 patients, participating in numerous webinars, teleconference calls and other online tutorials to help share lessons learnt from his days on the ICU. "I had an email that I was considered and I had to check the email twice to see if it is real and not a scam," he said. Dr Szakmany said it was a recognition for the clinical teams, research teams and critical care network, who "are making sure every patient can receive the critical care despite the pressures we face".

SCHOOLS RESTART TO BE HOME-BASED

Dec 27 - Newport schools will offer 'blended learning' (home based schooling) during the first week of the spring term (week commencing Monday 4 January 2021). This decision follows discussions with Welsh Government and the WLGA, and recognises the high transmission rates of Covid-19 across the city and potential impact on the capacity of the education workforce at the start of the new term. Monday 4 and Tuesday 5 January will be set aside for head teachers to assess staffing levels and review risk assessments. As a result, there will be no facility for any children to attend school on these days. Between Wednesday 6 and Friday 8 January 2021, hubs will be available for the children of critical workers (nursery to Year 8) and other children with specific needs as assessed by their head teacher. Children eligible for free school meals will receive a voucher in lieu of free school meal provision for this week. Face-to-face learning is expected to resume on Monday 11 January 2021.

CALL FOR URGENT CITY CENTRE INVESTMENT

Dec 24 - The leaders of three major Welsh councils are calling for a comprehensive and significant support package to help cities through the pandemic. Those who head Cardiff Council, Newport City Council and Swansea Council say that, although direct action continues to be taken by local authorities and major investment made, cities are being particularly badly impacted by the crisis.

The challenge has been brought into sharp focus this week by the troubles of high street retail giants Arcadia and Debenhams. They said: ”The news about Arcadia and Debenhams is a severe blow to the cities of Wales.These announcements could have a potentially catastrophic domino impact on other retailers who depend on the footfall created by anchor stores. The effect could be widespread too - if the cities struggle, everyone will struggle. A comprehensive and significant support package is required to help cities through the challenges.”

The leaders acknowledge that the pandemic has impacted on all communities. However, they say that:

•the pandemic is hitting cities harder in every way;
•its health impacts are more concentrated and severe in cities;
•the stop-start approach to the economy is having deep and damaging impacts on the retail and hospitality sectors which characterize city economies;
•Wales and its regions depend on cities as the engines of economic growth.
They said: “As councils, we have all been working with our retail partners to help them over the past months.

“Now, as cities, we are deeply concerned about the potential knock-on impacts on our retail heartlands. Our high streets have faced the growing challenge of online shopping – now the situation has been fueled by the pandemic. We cannot allow unmanaged decline in our city centers so we are calling on the Welsh Government to use all levers at its disposal to protect our city centres. This includes relief on business rates during the pandemic and beyond, increased grant support for the retail and hospitality sectors and enterprise zone status. We would like to see the Economic Renewal Fund 4 brought forward and focused on our city and town centres.”

VIRUS CAUSES SIGNIFICANT POSTAL DELAYS

Dec 24 - Christmas postal deliveries in Newport were badly hit by the second wave of the virus. In some areas no post was delivered between December 13 and 24. This was due to a COVID outbreak at Newport East as up to two dozen staff were required to self isolate. Managers prioritised parcel deliveries during this period. Deliveries are returning to normal gradually now.

KNOWLEDGE QUARTER IDEA REVIVED IN NEW PLAN

Dec 22 - Newport City Council’s cabinet is seeking the public’s views on a plan to transform leisure facilities in the city centre. A proposed new leisure and well-being centre would include a pool, fitness studio and health and well-being areas as well as modern changing facilities and a café. It is planned to put the new state-of-the-art centre on a key brownfield site on the riverfront. This would enable the vacated Newport Centre site to be used by Coleg Gwent for a £90m further education campus creating the Newport Knowledge Quarter and bringing hundreds of students and staff to the city centre. The new leisure centre will be built to BREEAM excellent standards, with sustainability and future-proofing at its core. Together with the new campus, enhancements to Usk Way and the active travel connectivity, this will create a high quality place and “green lung” in the city centre.

Cabinet has agreed to consult with residents and stakeholders to find out what they think of the proposals and what leisure facilities they would like to see in a new centre. Councillor Jane Mudd, Leader of Newport City Council, said: “We have an amazing opportunity to create a new leisure centre in the city centre. As a cabinet, we are very excited by the prospect of being able to provide fantastic new facilities, in an accessible location, for the citizens of Newport. On top of that, it would mean Coleg Gwent could realise its ambition for a city centre campus to give our young people a first-class learning environment. This will be a multi-million investment in healthy bodies and healthy minds. A new leisure centre will undoubtedly attract more users and the campus will also increase footfall thereby boosting the city centre economy and supporting local businesses. The next step, before we make a decision, is to hear from our residents. We want to know what you think of the proposals and what leisure facilities would be most important to you. Don’t miss the chance to be a part of what promises to be a wonderful new chapter for the city and its residents.”

Steve Ward, chief executive of Newport Live, added: ““We are extremely excited about the prospect of a new leisure centre in the city. This provides a fantastic opportunity for our customers and the wider community to access increased and improved leisure facilities in the heart of the city centre. This will allow the team at Newport Live to support more of the people of Newport with their physical and mental wellbeing while having fun, and to continue to inspire a healthy and active city. I would strongly encourage all of our customers and residents in the city to take part in the consultation in order to help shape this exciting new development.”

Surveys have confirmed that the pool at the 35-year-old Newport Centre is beyond viable repair. It is being recommended that the site is transferred to Coleg Gwent for a new city centre campus. Guy Lacey, principal of Coleg Gwent, said: "This is a very exciting opportunity to create a home for the College in the heart of the city, as well as delivering brand new leisure facilities. It will enable us to provide excellent education and training, in state-of-the-art facilities, for all the people and businesses of Newport."

An application for part-funding towards the creation of a new leisure and well-being centre is being made to Welsh Government. The balance of the cost will come from an agreed reduction in the cost of the Newport Live subsidy and council reserves.

MINIMUM WAGE DEFAULT

Dec 17 - A Newport firm is among five in Wales and almost 140 across the UK, to have been ‘named and shamed’ by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for failing to pay the minimum wage. Smart Solutions (Recruitment) Limited, based at Langstone, failed to pay £1,152.09 to 90 workers.

NEW EV POINTS INSTALLED

Dec 12 -

Electric car owners in Newport can now benefit from an increase in the number of charging points available in the city.

Eighteen dual fast chargers and two rapid chargers have been installed across the following eight public car parks:

• Belle Vue Park

• Faulkner Road

• Hill Street

• Maindee

• Mill Parade

• Riverfront

• Rogerstone train station

• Stow Hill

The points have been installed under a Gwent-wide project using funding provided by the participating local authorities and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles. In Newport, Welsh Government has match-funded installations via the local transport network fund. The charging points have been installed and will be managed by Silverstone Green Energy under the Dragon Charging scheme, with payment by way of an RFID card or through the mobile phone app. Councillor Deb Davies, cabinet member for sustainable development, said “Newport City Council is committed to making our city greener, not only through our work to become a carbon neutral organisation by 2030, but also by undertaking green infrastructure initiatives such as this.

CITY CASES SURGE DESPITE LOCKDOWN

Nov 22 - COVID-19 cases in Newport are continuing to surge despite the lockdown measures that were in place between October 23 and November 9.  There were 59 new cases in Newport yesterday (with a rate 213.3 per 100,000 of population). A further four people with coronavirus have died in the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board area, taking the total to 429.

ORB FIRE REPORTED

Nov 22 - Fire  crews have been called out to Orb Electrical Steels in Newport. South Wales Fires and Rescue were called out to the incident at the steelworks just before 7.30am this morning. "We are in attendance of a large incident in Newport at Orb Electrical Steel Works," said a spokeswoman for South Wales Fire and Rescue Service".

NEWPORT MAN ARRESTED AFTER PEDESTRIAN KILLED

Nov 20 - A 30-year-old man has died at the scene after he was hit by a car on the  the A468. The pedestrian, a 30-year-old man from Cwmbran, was hit by a black Mercedes AMG on the A468 between Caerphilly and Newport at about 20:35 GMT on Friday.
A 25-year-old man from the Newport area has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and remains in police custody. Gwent Police is appealing for witnesses to get in touch.

CAERLEON ROADWORKS EXTENDED

Nov 18 - Work to complete the removal of trees affected by ash-dieback on Caerleon Road will now run into early December. This follows both the storms in late October, when high winds forced work on the site to temporarily stop, and evidence of species that are protected under European legislation. This means that extra checks are now being made in each area prior to felling to ensure species and habitats are not disturbed.
The team are now on the last phase of the works, and weather permitting we are hoping that the work will be complete in early December. Existing road closures and diversion routes will remain in place during this time, and the council will continue to provide temporary school transport for children in the Caerleon Road area. The St Julian’s Inn public house remains open during this period, and access to it is available from the Caerleon side of the road closure. Residents living in the wider affected area will be sent a letter containing further details within the next week.

FREE PARKING OFFER

Nov 15 - Councillor Jane Mudd, Leader of Newport City Council, has announced that many council-owned car parks will be free on weekends throughout December and January. Visitors to the city centre and Maindee will be able to enjoy free parking in the run-up to Christmas and during the January sales. Councillor Jane Mudd, Leader of Newport City Council, made the announcement during yesterday's Christmas light switch-on virtual event. "I would always encourage people to support our fantastic shops, restaurants, cafes and other businesses but this year it is even more important - stay safe, stay local. It has been a challenging year for everyone but our local businesses have have worked incredibly hard to make sure their premises are safe for people to visit." Car parks included in the offer are Kingsway and Park Square multi-stories as well as the open air pay and display sites in Hill Street, Stow Hill, Faulkner Road, Riverfront, Emlyn Street and Maindee.

Firebreak - October 23 - November 9

CITY CASES HOLD STEADY AS LOCKDOWN LIKELY TO CONTINUE

Oct 11 - Newport has seen a slight reduction in Covid-19 cases in the last week but the numbers are fluctuating from day to day. This means that it is unlikely that the current lockdown is unlikely to be lifted. Yesterday of the 80 cases in the Health Board area, 15 were in Newport. There were 22 cases on Friday. The city's rate was 48 per 100,000 up to October 6.

VITAL NEW TESTING FACILITY OPENS IN NEWPORT

Oct 10 - Wales' first specialist Covid-19 lab is opening in Newport having been delayed since August. The hope is the new Lighthouse facility will process 20,000 tests a day by the end of the month. Miles Burrow, managing director of PerkinElmer, which set up the lab, said tests would be done within 12 hours and returned to patients within 24 hours. The Newport lab, at Imperial Park, was originally being built as a pathology lab for Public Health Wales (PHW). It had been hoped the lab would be up and running in August - the UK government did not explain the delay, but PHW said it was due to "ongoing recruitment" and laboratory "validation".
Currently, 15 of Wales 22 counties are under lockdown - including Newport itself. Mr Burrows told BBC Radio Wales: "It will speed things up ultimately by adding more capacity to the whole of the network." He said samples could "theoretically" come from anywhere in Britain but he expected them to come mostly from Wales and the South West.

CINEMA CLOSURES AS PANDEMIC HITS LEISURE SECTOR

Oct 8 - Cinema chain Cineworld has confirmed plans to temporarily close all its sites in the UK from later this week. There are two Cineworld complexes in Newport, at Spytty and in Friars Walk, though the latter has not reopened since initially closing last spring, amid a disagreement with its landlord. The company has said this morning that 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse cinemas in the UK will close from Thursday, joining more than 500 Regal cineams in the US. Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM), which owns Peacocks and Jaeger, is close to collapse, with 24,000 jobs in the balance, according to documents filed with the High Court.

COUNCIL ADDS NEW LITTER BINS THROUGHOUT CITY

Oct 7 - Newport City Council has recently installed over 80 new litter bins around the city. The move forms part of the council’s commitment to increase bin provision even further and reduce the levels of litter on our streets over the next few years. New floor fixed bins have been installed in the following wards:
• Allt-Yr-Yn
• Alway
• Bettws
• Beechwood
• Gaer
• Malpas
• Ringland
• Rogerstone
• St.Julians

The locations of these bins have been decided through consultation with local volunteer litter picking groups, requests from the public and the experience of our street cleansing team, who have carried out the installation work. A small number of the bins are direct replacements for smaller post-mounted bins to ensure greater capacity and tackle issues where bins have been found to be over-spilling despite regular emptying. Any smaller post mounted bins that have been replaced will now be redeployed to other areas across the city. We ask the public to use these bins responsibly and remind residents that they are not to be used for disposal of household waste.

NEWPORT LOCKDOWN EXTENDED FOR ANOTHER WEEK

Oct 4 - Newport's lockdown has been extended for another week with no sign of a reduction in cases. Sixteen new cases were confirmed in Newport yesterday, 16 in Caerphilly, 13 in Blaenau Gwent, six in Torfaen and five in Monmouthshire (which is not currently in a lockdown).
The biggest daily rises in other locally locked down areas in South Wales are in Rhondda Cynon Taf (67), Cardiff (57) and Swansea (55).
The rolling weekly case rate in Newport is currently 63.4 per 100,000. In Torfaen it is 49.0, and in Caerphilly it is 45.8.

The City Council said "We would like to thank residents, businesses and those who come into the city for essential reasons for complying with the rules. We believe they will have an impact on the spread of the virus and we need to keep going to ensure the trend is slowed down and reversed. We must all recognise that the virus poses a considerable risk to ourselves, our families, our friends and those we come into contact with, especially the most vulnerable in our communities.
We must do all that we can to protect people and reduce the spread of the virus in the city, thereby reducing the strain on our precious local health services. The virus has already had serious and even tragic consequences for many people and their loved ones. We urge everyone to follow the restrictions without exception. Details of the local rules can be found on the Welsh Government website.
It is vital that we all:
•Limit our travel
•Limit contact with other people
•Follow the laws on meeting with family and friends
•Wash our hands regularly
•Keep our distance from others
•Wear a face covering whenever required."

NEW TESTING FACILITY FOR NEWPORT RESIDENTS

Oct 3 - Pre-booked 'walk up' tests are now available at Newport Coronavirus Test Centre in Rodney Parade. Aneurin Bevan University Health Board has increased capacity at the testing centre at Rodney Parade and will start providing pre booked 'walk up' appointments from Monday 28 September.
The site will now provide both 'walk up' and drive through coronavirus tests. Now you can make a booking to attend for a 'walk up' test by phoning 0300 30 31 222. This means that residents of Newport can attend for a test on foot or by push bike.
You will still make a booking through 119 or online for a drive through test at Rodney Parade. This new walk up service will provide testing to residents in the Newport area Borough only.

LICENCED PREMISES WARNED ABOUT NEW CLOSING TIME RESTRICTION

Oct 2 - The City Council and Gwent Police have identified a number of businesses ignoring new licencing restrictions.

Since its outbreak, specialists in trading standards, licensing and environmental health have visited hundreds of businesses across the city providing advice and guidance on operating safely and within the current laws and regulations. On 22 September, further restrictions were brought in by Welsh Government in Newport following a concerning rise in Covid-19 cases. Key elements of those restrictions included:
•all licensed premises have to stop serving alcohol at 10pm
•people are not be allowed to enter or leave the Newport City Council area without a reasonable excuse
•people can no longer form, or be in, an extended household, meaning meeting indoors with anyone who is not part of your household (people you live with) is not allowed.
In a joint operation, Newport City Council and Gwent Police worked together to visit licensed premises across the city on Saturday 26 September.

Three teams prioritised different areas – city centre, Newport East and the west of the city and Caerleon, aiming to visit as many key premises as possible and provide compliance advice and deal with any issues identified. Over 50 premises were visited. Social distancing, single household requirements, track and trace standards, general Covid compliance and closing time requirements were reviewed. Although all on-licensed premises in the city centre were closed by 10.20pm, unfortunately, considerable breaches were observed at a number of locations warranting the issue of improvement notices to the following premises:
•Caerleon AFC
•Cross Keys
•Duffryn Arms
•Gilligans
•Man of Gwent
•Red Lion
•Tiny Rebel (High Street)
Improvement notices are served under the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations 2020. Businesses are granted 48 hours to correct the issues highlighted or further enforcement action will be considered, including the option to issue closure notices. Full details of the notices can be viewed at www.newport.gov.uk/coronavirus. Courtyard had its licence suspended as it had opened as a nightclub on July 24 and 25.

NEWPORT EAST SURGERY PLAN BACK ON AGENDA

Oct 1 - The long awaited plan for a super surgery in Newport East is back on the agenda. The Argus is reporting that 15,000 patients in Newport East will see a new health and wellbeing centre providing a range of family doctor, dental and other services under one roof. Approval is being sought from the Welsh Government for the building of a Newport East Health and Wellbeing Centre after a decade or more of promises.
The centre is proposed for land at Ringland currently occupied by Ringland Health Centre, along with adjoining land owned by Newport City Council and will combine two existing GP surgeries - Ringland and Beechwood Park. The facility will comprise GP, dental, nursing, midwifery and pharmacy services under one roof akin to existing provision in Blaenavon and Brynmawr.

NEWPORT PLUNGED INTO LOCKDOWN

Sept 26 - Newport joined other parts of Wales in a string of local lockdowns across South Wales covering 1.5 million people (now also including Cardiff and Swansea). Following a concerning rise in coronavirus (Covid-19) cases in Newport, new restrictions had been announced by Welsh Government.
The restrictions came into force at 6pm on Tuesday 22 September 2020. The aim of the additional restrictions is to reduce the spread of the virus and protect public health for people living in our area.
The main restrictions are:
•people will not be allowed to enter or leave Newport without a reasonable excuse
•people will no longer be able to form, or be in, an extended household (sometimes called a “bubble”)
•this means meeting indoors with anyone who is not part of your household (people you live with) will not be allowed, unless you have a good reason, such as providing care to a vulnerable person
•all licensed premises will have to close at 10pm
•people must work from home wherever possible
Councillor Jane Mudd, Leader of the Council said: “We are very supportive of the additional measures brought in by Welsh Government and we are in constant discussion with them and partners to ensure the most appropriate measures are in place for the safety of Newport.
“There were clear warnings that we needed to follow the rules already in place – and I thank every person and business who have been making a concerted effort, but unfortunately we have seen numbers of cases continue to rise significantly.
“I urge everyone to heed this warning and follow the restrictions without fail to prevent a further increase in cases – the last thing we want to see in our city. We must limit our travel; limit contact with people; follow the laws on who we can meet indoors and outdoors; wash our hands regularly; keep our distance from others; and wear a face mask where required. Please take responsibility for your actions. Protect yourselves, your friends, family and everyone you come in contact with.” Newport's current rate of cases is 56 per 100,000. The Welsh average is 35.

LIGHTHOUSE LAB DELAY

Sept 25 - The opening of a specialist coronavirus testing lab in Newport has been delayed until next month. It had been hoped the Lighthouse Lab, at Imperial Park, would be up and running in August. The UK government has not explained the delay. Public Health Wales (PHW) said it was due to "ongoing recruitment" and laboratory "validation". Lighthouse Labs are a network of specialist Covid labs managed by the UK government and run by private firms. US diagnostics company Perkin Elmer is running the Newport lab and is recruiting 200 staff.

CALL FOR PUBLIC TO TAKE UP FLU VACCINE

Sept 24 - Public Health Wales is urging all eligible people in Wales to have their free flu vaccine as NHS Wales begins its largest ever national flu vaccine programme. Flu (also known as influenza) can be serious, particularly for those who are older or have a health condition and are more vulnerable to complications as a result of the flu. Having a flu vaccine every year is one of the most effective ways to protect against flu.
Those eligible for a free NHS flu vaccine include people with long term health conditions, people aged 65 and over, pregnant women, children aged two to ten years old, carers, domiciliary carers and care home staff with regular client contact as well as care home residents.
It is also free for Community First responders and volunteers providing planned first aid. Annual flu vaccine is strongly recommended for all frontline health and social care workers to protect themselves and those they care for.
Children aged two and three (on 31 August 2020) and all primary school children (reception to year six) will be offered the vaccine in nasal spray form. Children from two years old that have a long-term health condition can also receive a free flu nasal spray.
For this season’s flu programme, new groups have been added to the eligible list, making it the largest ever national flu programme.
The new eligible groups include household contacts on the NHS shielded list and people with a learning disability.
In addition, people aged 50 and over may also be offered a free NHS flu vaccine later in a phased approach later in the season.
To promote the vaccine, Public Health Wales has launched a campaign that features a new TV and radio advert as well social media and digital content. The campaign will be live from 21 September, with the TV advert first airing on 5 October.

MODERN DAY SLAVERY CHARGES

Sept 24 - Three people have been arrested on suspicion of modern day slavery. Gwent Police said the arrests were made as warrants were carried out at two addresses in Brickyard Lane in Newport on Wednesday.
Two men, aged 55 and 31, and a woman, 55, all from the Newport area, were arrested on suspicion of modern day slavery offences, fraud and an offence under the Proceeds of Crime Act. They have been released under investigation.
More than £100,000 cash was also seized during Operation Canberra, which involved 70 officers and was supported by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and other partner agencies including the Department for Work and Pensions and Newport City Council.
Det Insp Michelle Chaplin said: "Victims of these kind of offences are often too scared to come forward or may not even realise that they are being exploited.

NEWPORT TRIES TO AVERT LOCAL LOCKDOWN

CITY LEADER WARNS RESIDENTS

Sept 13 - “Covid-19 has not gone away – cases are on the rise in Newport. I urge you to remind yourselves of the rules and guidance and make sure you follow them without fail." The words of Council Leader Jane Mudd has the number of new cases in Newport rise inexorably. Newport's COVID-19 rate increased to 40.1 per 100,000 as 20 new positive cases were reported yesterday. The percentage of positive tests is 5.1. Neighbouring area, Caerphilly, is already in lockdown with 90 cases per 100,000.

Mudd is eager to avert a  similar situation in Newport “We all need to limit our contact with people; follow the laws on who we can meet; wash our hands regularly; keep our distance from others; and wear a face mask where it is required or where we can’t maintain that important two-metre distance. Covid is closer than we think and reports are coming in of positive cases linked to all sorts of settings and gatherings. We have all appreciated and enjoyed a little more freedom since full-lockdown was lifted and we want it to continue. But we can only achieve that if we take these necessary precautions."

FIVE SCHOOLS AFFECTED BY LATEST COVID OUTBREAK

KNOWLEDGE QUARTER STILL A PRIORITY

Sept 6 - The Newport Knowledge Quarter remains a priority despite plans to build on the vacant space next to the University Campus site in the city centre. City Council leader Cllr Mudd stated : “The delivery of a knowledge quarter remains a priority and is a key project outlined in the adopted city centre masterplan. Officers continue to work with key partners on this complex project, which continues to evolve and a report will be brought to cabinet at the appropriate time.” According to the Argus she confirmed Cllr Mudd  education is one of the proposed uses for the site in Usk Way, but that alternatives such as offices and a hotel were also included to ensure opportunities were “not hampered by a very prescriptive planning permission”.

COVID CASES EDGE UP

Sept 5 - Covid cases in Newport up to August 31 edged up to 13 last week (an increase 5). Cases in the Cardiff area increased by 71.

TIDAL FLOODING RISK HIGHLIGHTED

Sept 2 - More than half of Newport has been identified as being at risk of flooding in a new council plan on how to respond to future incidents. It outlines known flood risk areas but full details will not be published due to "commercial and security reasons". Maindee, Crindau, Duffryn and Lliswerry are among new areas identified by Natural Resources Wales as being at high risk from all sources of flooding. But the council report says tidal flooding is the main threat to Newport. "Flooding is considered to be the greatest risk of an emergency occurring in the Newport City Council area with over half of the area being identified as at risk of flooding," it said.

COVID CASES INCREASE SLIGHTLY

Aug 31 - Covid-19 cases in Newport increased by 8 last week, taking the total number of cases to 908 since the start of the pandemic. No deaths were reported, with the total number remaining at 162. By contrast there were 62 new cases in Cardiff.

FACE COVERING ADVICE ISSUED TO SECONDARY SCHOOLS

Aug 31 - Confusing advice, open to misinterpretation has been issued in advance of the return of secondary schools this week and next week. Newport's secondary school pupils should wear face coverings in communal areas of secondary schools but only where social distancing cannot be maintained over prolonged periods of time. It does not mean every pupil will have to wear face coverings but it will be determined by each school following a risk assessment.
Newport City Council has made this decision in line with the Welsh Government guidance issued on 26 August and following discussions with head teachers. Every school has completed a Covid-19 specific assessment aimed at minimising the amount of time pupils need to be outside their contact groups with measures such as using one classroom or staggering changeovers.
Pupils who are not in communal areas for prolonged periods of time will not be required to wear face coverings.
The council is providing schools with expert health and safety advice and support as they consider whether face coverings will be required when pupils return on a full-time basis next month. It will also advise on the quality, fit and safe use of face coverings and will provide schools with a supply of face coverings to cover situations where pupils may not have their own.

CYCLE NETWORK UPGRADED

Aug 29 - Work has been completed on resurfacing the active travel route at the Fourteen Locks Canal Centre in Rogerstone. The work has seen the route, which forms part of Route 47 of the National Cycle Network, resurfaced from the canal centre up to Pensarn Cottage. New barriers have also been installed along the entrances to the towpaths which allow easier access for wheelchair users. The work is part of the council’s strategy to look at improvement of existing active travel routes as well as identifying and implementing new routes.

EU NATIONALS SIGN UP FOR SETTLED STATUS SCHEME

Aug 28 - In advance of Brexit, EU nationals living in Newport have applied to be allowed to stay in the UK from next year, new Home Office figures have revealed. Many of them have been resident and working in Newport for many years but Brexit requires them to apply to stay in the country.
The Home Office has received more than 62,500 applications to the EU Settlement Scheme in Wales, and applications are still open until the June 30, 2021 deadline. Newport is home to 6,630 EU nationals who have applied for the scheme between August 28, 2018 and June 30 this year, according to the latest Home Office figures.

HOTEL CLAIMS DAMAGE CAUSED BY HOMELESS RESIDENTS

Aug 25 - A hotel was left with tens of thousands of pounds of damage after homeless people were housed in it by a council, it has been claimed.
Televisions and a lift were among items wrecked at Newport Central Hotel, said Na'im Payman, who runs a firm that manages it. Gwent Police said a man was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage. Newport council said the homeless people had since been given alternative accommodation.
It came after the hotel closed on 13 August because of a problem with fire regulations. The council said people had been housed at Newport Central Hotel over the past 12 months, including, more recently, "a number of rough sleepers".

TORY SPRING CONFERENCE SET FOR CELTIC MANOR

Aug 17 - The Conservative Party will hold its UK spring conference in Newport, during the run-up to May's Senedd election. The party said up to 8,000 people will attend the event, at the International Convention Centre (ICC) Wales, and inject £20m into the local economy. Tory co-chair Amanda Milling said it would "bring together Conservative supporters from across the country in a key election year for Wales". The ICC called the news a "tremendous boost to our events industry".

COUNCIL RE-OPENING PLANS ANNOUNCED

Aug 12 - Newport's Museum and Art Gallery in John Frost Square re-opened to visitors from Tuesday 11 August on an appointment only basis for the time being. To ensure social distancing and the health of both staff and visitors, the museum will open on alternate days from the art gallery.
The museum will open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 12.30pm and 1pm to 4pm while the art gallery will open at the same times on Wednesdays and Fridays. Hand sanitiser stations for both staff and public are in place and visitors should sanitise their hands before entering the building and on leaving. Newport City Council also reopened three more libraries from Monday 10 August. Central Library in John Frost Square was opened for booked appointments last month and the system has been successful. Branch libraries in Malpas, Ringland and Rogerstone will now reopen for 20 hours a week using the same system and following preparations to make sure visits are safe for borrowers and staff.

CITY LIBRARY TO RE-OPEN

July 15 - Newport City Council has begun the process of restarting library services by reopening Newport Central Library from Tuesday 14 July.
The library will be open from Tuesday-Friday, 10am-12.30pm and 1pm-4pm. Initially, only Central Library will reopen, whilst the council works to extend reopening across all libraries in the city.
A reduced service will be offered at Central, with members having to pre-book an appointment slot to visit in order to collect items reserved online and browse from a small range of unreserved fiction books.
Visits will be limited to two people and fifteen minutes per booking. All other services, including access to IT equipment, will not be available in the first instance.
Whilst physical services are gradually being restored, Newport’s libraries continue to offer members access to digital services such as e-books, audiobooks and magazines. All current book loans will be automatically extended, whilst fees and overdue charges will continue to be suspended. Members are asked to hold on to any books they have checked out at present, and avoid returning them until physical services are fully restored.

MARKET REVAMP RESUMES

July 15 - A Newport City Council led project to breathe new life into a 19th century arcade has restarted after being paused because of the coronavirus pandemic. Specialist contractors Anthony A Davies have been able to resume work in Market Arcade and are following all the necessary safety requirements. Funding was secured from the Heritage Fund, Cadw and Welsh Government to restore the arcade that runs from High Street to Market Street. Councillor Jane Mudd, Leader of Newport City Council, said: "While the delay was unavoidable, I'm really pleased that work has started again on a scheme that is set to make such a difference to the arcade and this area of the city centre.
"I would like to add that we appreciate the involvement of all the owners because without their continued cooperation and goodwill the regeneration scheme would not be able to progress.
"I would also like to thank the Heritage Fund and the lottery players who contribute to the fund as well as members of the community who contributed to the project." The work includes the restoration of the shopfronts and refurbishment of the glazed canopy

TRANSPORTER BRIDGE RE-OPENS

July 14 - Newport Transporter Bridge will reopen to the public on Friday 17 July. The bridge was due to open at the beginning of April, but has remained closed due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Newport City Council staff have been working to implement social distancing conditions at the bridge, and can now confirm that systems are in place to minimise risk for visitors, staff and volunteers.
It will mark a welcome return to operation for the bridge, which subject to funding is scheduled to close at the end of September to allow major restoration work and the construction of a new visitor centre to begin next year.
Crossings on the bridge will reopen between Wednesday and Sunday, from 10am – 5pm. The top walkway will also reopen to visitors during this period.
New social distancing measures in place at the bridge for reopening include:
•A limit on the number of pedestrians allowed on the gondola per crossing
•Staggered access to the top walkway to allow visitors to walk across at their own pace whilst adhering to social distancing
•Hand sanitiser, masks and disposable gloves available on site for all visitors.

HOSPITALITY AND RETAIL UPDATE

July 13 - Pierre Bistrot is to re-open at the beginning of August but is closing restaurants elsewhere in Cardiff, Sheffield and Harrogate. The future of Newport's Zizzi and Pizza Express stores are unclear following closure announcements by those chains. The Celtic Manor has confirmed plans to open from the end of this month but is consulting on reducing its work force by up to 50 per cent.
From Monday 13 July, when more hospitably and tourism venues are able to re-open, Newport city centre will also benefit from some changes to its pedestrianised areas. To support social distancing and improve the safety of visitors, additional barriers are being installed at key points to increase the pedestrian areas in the city centre. Vehicle access will be restricted to business deliveries between 6am and 10am in these streets.
Not only will this allow more safe space for those shopping, it will also support more pubs, restaurants and cafés to start offering outdoor services.
The council has adapted its current pavement policy to allow additional outdoor trading and will provide barriers to businesses who wish to take up the opportunity to serve customers outside.

SCHOOLS PLAN WELCOMED

July 12 - Newport has today welcomed plans by the Education Minister to allow schools that can do so, safely reopen from the first week of September, with all schools to reopen from September 14.
Local plans and preparations are underway between the council and schools in the area to review risk assessments, processes and systems to ensure individual schools can welcome pupils back safely in line with guidance by Welsh Government.
Schools which can do so will reopen from the first week of term. Some specific groups of learners might need to be prioritised during this week, such as Year 7, 12, 13 and Special Units for Secondary, Special Units for Early Years and Year 6. Parents will receive more specific information from their school and the Local Authority as it becomes available.
From September 14, school attendance will be compulsory. Parents are asked to contact their school if a pupil is unable to attend to discuss further.
Each school setting will have local challenges to address, including staffing levels. Work is underway with colleagues to confirm school transport arrangements. Newport City Council will work closely with all schools to overcome such issues.

RARE BIRD NESTING AT WETLANDS

July 12 - One of the UK's most rare and threatened bird species has successfully bred in Wales for the first time in more than 200 years.
Bittern chicks have fledged from two separate nests at the Newport Wetlands nature reserve, a unique site made up of wet grasslands, reedbeds, saltmarsh and saline lagoons. Bitterns are a type of heron which live exclusively in reedbeds.
The species was once thought to be extinct in the UK.
Kevin Dupé, from Natural Resources Wales, who manage the site in partnership with RSPB Cymru and Newport City Council, has worked at the reserve for more than 19 years.
He said: "To see bitterns nesting at Newport Wetlands is a truly wonderful sight, and a real achievement for those of us who have been involved in habitat conservation at the site for a long time.

NEWPORT AT CENTRE OF COVID-19 CRISIS

May 17 - Although there is a slight glimmer of evidence that fatalities and infected cases are levelling off the daily numbers of deaths and cases in the UK continue to increase despite Government rhetoric. The UK is comfortably the most adversely affected area of Europe and second only to the USA in the World. The Welsh Government, alongside its UK counterpart, has failed to offset the worst impacts of the virus, with a late lockdown, lack of protection equipment for frontline staff, failure to test adequately and neglect towards support for the elderly and for care homes. The second iteration of the lockdown remains, rightly, stay at home in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland but in England the Prime Minister and his colleagues have succeeded in obscuring the message with a new slogan called 'stay alert' with confusing and misleading advice about meeting family members, getting back to work and the return of schools.

Newport has been one of the centres of the epidemic in Wales. As of Friday, a total of 1,191 people have died after testing positive for Covid-19, according to Public Health Wales (PHW) figures. There have also been 183 new cases, meaning 12,142 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus, although the true number is likely to be higher as not everyone is tested. In the Gwent area 257 people have died, the highest in the Principality. Newport has had 120 deaths in all settings up to May 9.

CIVIC TIP TO OPEN

May 16 - Newport City Council will reopen the household waste recycling centre (HWRC) on Docks Way on Tuesday 26 May for essential visits only.
Restrictions will be in place and all visits will be strictly via a booking system. You will not be able to turn up at site without an official booking.
Opening times will be temporarily extended, but the number of vehicles able to access the site each day will be limited in order to support social distancing and ensure the safety of both residents and staff.
Full details of operation and site rules will be released next week. The booking system will go live on Thursday 21 May.
Throughout the lockdown, Newport City Council and partners Wastesavers have maintained full kerbside refuse, recycling, food and garden waste services. Bulky waste collections were also reintroduced mid-April and can be booked online: www.newport.gov.uk/en/Waste-Recycling/Bulky-household-item-collection.aspx
They state "Now more than ever we all need to consider the environmental impact of waste and reduce, reuse and recycling before disposing. Residents will be expected to use the comprehensive kerbside collections as their primary way of disposing of their waste and recycling.
Visits to the HWRC should only be booked for waste that cannot be collected on the kerbside or not safely stored at home for the time being – only go if it is essential. Newport City Council is continuously monitoring the effect of Covid-19 on the City and the advice and decisions of Welsh Government. Our aim is to reopen services as soon as possible, but only when it is safe for customers and staff, and with measures that will support the ongoing fight against Covid-19."

PARKS TO RE-OPEN

  1. May 11 - Newport City Council run parks will reopen on Monday 11 May 2020. All gated parks have been closed to ensure the safety of the public and staff and will remain closed over the bank holiday weekend. From Monday 11 May, park gates will be open between 8am and 4pm.

    Social distancing guidance must continue to be followed when using the facilities and the following areas will remain closed:

    Play areas
    Outdoor gym equipment or facilities (e.g. mini golf)
    Multi use games facilities and tennis courts
    Public toilets and changing rooms
    Sports pitches (of any size or type) must only be used for general exercise, not for games/matches

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CORONAVIRUS BEGINS TO HAVE SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON PUBLIC LIFE

Mar 15 - In a fast developing picture it is clear that the pandemic Covid-19 will have a major impact on public life throughout the country as measures are taken to combat the spread of the virus. Although only two cases have so far been identified in Newport (out of 798 in the UK to date) authorities are already taking measures despite Government inaction and lack of clarity. Football and rugby are suspended until the beginning of April, the Wales Marathon has been postponed until November 15, many city GP surgeries are only seeing customers by appointment. Individuals with symptoms are being asked to self isolate for at least 7 days. The NHS and hospital services are focussing their attention on elderly people with underlying health conditions. The UK Government's response seems at odds with most European and Asian countries, where they have imposed travel bans and enforced lockdowns to protect their vulnerable citizens. Of the two cases in Newport, one is a manager at the Office for National Statistics. ONS bosses said its Newport office remained open and the company was "taking appropriate steps to protect the well-being" of staff.

WELSH BROS GOES INTO ADMINISTRATION

Mar 15 - A meat company in Newport has gone into administration with 29 jobs lost. Welsh Bros Foods has supplied restaurants and hotels across south Wales and the South West since 1964. The firm called in administrators Grant Thornton UK on 2 March following a fall in turnover over the last 18 months. Administrator Richard Lewis said despite "re-aligning its business model" Welsh Bros Foods could not trade through "increasingly challenging market conditions".

COUNCIL PROSECUTES LANDLORD

Mar 12 - A landlord and manager of a Newport house in multiple occupation (HMO) were fined a total of £40,000 by city magistrates. It follows another successful prosecution by Newport City Council earlier this year when a property management company and its director were fined more than £14,000. In a case heard at the beginning of March, Jamshed Rana, aged 75, owner and landlord of two properties in Augustus Place was found guilty in his absence of operating two unlicensed HMOs and a number of breaches of safety regulations. He was fined a total of £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £460 plus a victim surcharge of £170.

Omar Rana, aged 34, of Kimberley Close, Luton, the manager of the two properties, was also found guilty in his absence. He was fined a total of £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £460 plus a victim surcharge of £170. The charges included serious breaches of fire safety regulations, rooms too small for habitation and exposed wiring to a hot water heater. In a separate hearing at the end of January ADO Options and director Aniela Orlicka pleaded guilty to 27 offences in the city's magistrates' court. As well as failing to have licences for properties in York Place, Malpas Road, Castle Street and Clyffard Crescent, there were also serious breaches of fire safety regulations in some of them
Orlicka, aged 38, of Creswicke Road, Bristol, and the limited company was fined a total of £14,550, ordered to pay costs of £4,505 and a victim surcharge of £84. Michael Davis, aged 50, of Brook Bank Close, Cheltenham owned the properties in York Place, Malpas Road and Castle Street. He was fined a total of £6,210, ordered to pay costs of £2,799 and a victim surcharge of £30.

PRODUCTIVE DISCUSSIONS ON CAERLEON COMP DISPUTE

Mar 12 - Newport City Council has held productive discussions with the trade unions and helped to facilitate their request for the proposed restructure process to be paused to enable meaningful talks between the unions and the governing body to take place. Earlier today, further discussions were held with the unions who indicated that this would allow them to recommend to members that the industrial action is put on hold while the parties try to find a resolution to the dispute. Councillor Jane Mudd, Leader of the council, said: "As Leader I am committed to working with all our partners to ensure the best possible outcome for the people who live, work and learn within Newport. Working together, we can overcome the problems we face and we will do this responsibly and within our legal and financial constraints. I attended the meeting with union representatives this week and was able to hear first-hand the concerns that led to the industrial action. The pupils and their education is at the forefront of all our minds as we try to resolve this dispute."

COUNCILLOR RESIGNS

Mar 6 - Labour Councillor Christine Jenkins, Newport City Council member for the Victoria ward has resigned from her position due to health reasons. Councillor Jane Mudd, Leader of the Council, said: “On behalf of the council and all members, I would like to thank Christine for her hard work, dedication and commitment to her ward and the city as a whole. We wish her the very best for the future.”
As a result, a notice of vacancy has been published. Requests to call an election have been made by two electors within the city council area. Therefore, a by-election will be called with the period of office expiring in May 2022.

FOOTBRIDGE PLAN APPROVED


Feb 29 - Plans for a long-awaited footbridge to serve Newport railway station have been given the green light. It has been designed as "a convenient, safe and attractive route" to replace a vandalised subway linking Devon Place and Queensway. The bridge for pedestrians and cyclists will also be accessible to wheelchairs. Plans for the project date back to 2014 when the Welsh Government pledged to invest £4m to build the bridge, but it has been hit by delays. Tory Councillor David Fouweather told the city's planning committee: "Many residents will be absolutely delighted that we are now, at long last, having this footbridge. "They will not have to use that dreadful subway, full of drugs and urine and whatever nonsense goes on down there."

 

TRANSPORTER BRIDGE CENTRE GETS GO AHEAD

Feb 29 - The Newport Transporter Bridge will get a new visitor centre as part of a £12m masterplan to safeguard its future - if flooding fears can be allayed. A virtual recreation of the view and wind at the top of the Grade I-listed bridge will be offered to visitors who cannot climb the 277 steps to the top. Natural Resources Wales has objected, calling for more detail on how flood risks can be managed. But city councillors will back the plan once that issue has been addressed.

 

ALDI TO MOVE TO BIGGER CRINDAU STORE

 

Feb 21 - A new bigger Aldi store is set to come to Crindau Newport after councillors went against the advice of planning officers to approve proposals.
According to the Argus the discount supermarket’s plan for a new store on the site of the former R J Mason Transport Yard in Albany Street, Crindau, were recommended for refusal, with concerns over retail impact, flooding and accessibility to the site. Ahead of the planning committee meeting on Wednesday, Aldi called for the application to be deferred to allow time to resolve concerns, saying it was “extremely disappointed” by the recommendation of planners.

 

STARMER COMES TO NEWPORT WITH UNITY MESSAGE

 

Feb 21 - Labour leadership front-runner Sir Keir Starmer called for party unity at a speech at Newport Neon on Friday. Speaking to over 300 members and supporters he said he was fighting for every vote as he sought to bring the party back together after its crushing electoral defeat. Labour Party members receive postal ballots and online voting forms from February 21 onwards.

 

FILM PRODUCTION COMPANY TAKES OVER WAREHOUSE

 

Feb 20 - A film production company which has worked on a number of hit dramas is aiming to create a studio in Newport to shoot a TV series commissioned by Sky One, according to Insider Media. Urban Myth Films, which produced Atlantis for BBC1 and was behind last year's ITV drama A Confession, is seeking planning permission to change the use of a 163,970 sq ft Queensway Meadows industrial unit so it can be used as a studio.

It had previously applied for temporary planning permission to shoot the successful eight-part War of the Worlds series for French channel Canal+ and Fox at Queensway Meadows. In a design and access statement, property consultancy JLL said the change of use would "create a significant number of jobs at the unit."

 

BOOST FOR CITY CARBON NEUTRAL PLAN

 

Feb 20 - Newport City Council is to roll-out rooftop solar PV across buildings in the city in a partnership with Egni Co-op and installer Joju Solar. Up to 2MW will be installed as part of the project, Egni confirmed to Solar Power Portal, with plans to install 6,000 solar panels across 21 sites. This follows a detailed feasibility study with support from the Welsh Government Energy Services, Sustainable Communities Wales and Wales Co-operative Centre, Egni said.

Schools, a council depot and care homes have been identified so far, with the majority of the electricity generated to be used on site. Some, however, will be exported back to the grid for use in the city. The project has been funded by the Development Bank of Wales and Egni’s ongoing co-op share offer, which has raised £1.4 million to date. Deb Davies, cabinet member for sustainable development, said the council is “determined to take a lead on tackling the climate crisis”, with the solar project to help it reach its ambition of becoming carbon neutral by 2030, achieving a 20 fold increase in the amount of renewables installed on council buildings in the coming months.

 

ST. JOSEPH'S SAVED AFTER LAST MINUTE INVESTOR COMES FORWARD

 

Feb 19 - Struggling St. Joseph’s hospital in Newport has been saved by an anonymous investor after it entered into administration last week, according to reports.

The investor, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “My family have used St Joseph’s Hospital for over 40 years. The quality of care provided by the consultants and excellent nursing team has no comparison. We feel honoured to be able to be part of such a great hospital that forms an integral part of the community and help it reach its next level.”

A pre-packaged sale of St Joseph’s Hospital – completed on February 14 – created a new formed entity called St Joseph’s Independent Hospital Limited. The privately funded hospital will provide all services as normal during the restructuring period.
 

NURSERY MERGER PLAN

 

Feb 19 - Newport’s two remaining stand-alone nurseries could be combined onto a single site amid declining pupil numbers and a worsening predicted deficit of £75,000. The city council is proposing to amalgamate Kimberley and Fairoak Nursery Schools onto the Fairoak site on Church Road from September 2021. Both the nurseries – the city’s only community-maintained nursery schools not attached to a primary school – have been only around half full in recent years.

 

FACILITIES COMPANY RELOCATES

 

Feb 19 - Facilities management company Atlas FM has moved from its South Wales headquarters in Malpas to a larger 5,000 sq ft premises in Newport city centre. Previously operating as Crystal Group before being acquired by Atlas in 2016, the company offers a range of services from cleaning and security to pest control and waste management. The firm currently operates from 16 offices with 8,000 staff nationwide and 750 employed in Wales.
The new offices on Phillip Street were previously a disused carpet showroom and had been unoccupied for many years, with it having been completely refurbished, featuring room for the company’s 25 office-based staff and a 30-vehicle car park.
 

STORM DENNIS CAUSES INFLUX OF ENQUIRIES

 

Feb 18 - Newport City Council received more than 100 requests for assistance on Saturday and Sunday as a result of Storm Dennis. Preparations had been made for the forecast conditions and staff worked around the clock from Friday to Monday morning. However, almost unprecedented levels of rain fell on ground that was already saturated and into rivers already swollen because of Storm Ciara. Despite the significant call on resources, the council teams dealt with every call and reported incident at some stage during the weekend. Most of the requests were for sandbags, but crews also dealt with highway flooding, road closures and fallen trees.

Councillor Roger Jeavons, cabinet member for city services, said: "Our teams worked tirelessly to deal with the many calls they received. Sandbags were delivered to more than 100 properties who had asked for help. I would like to thank all those who were out in such horrendous conditions to help residents and make sure our roads were safe - our staff and those in the emergency services - especially as it was the second weekend in a row that they had to deal with the impact of the storms." Tredegar Park, which was flooded on Sunday, will remain closed until water levels subside and the council has cleared the area. Crindau Park is also closed. Traffic lights on Cardiff Road at the junction with the Gaer failed on the weekend. Engineers attended but due to water ingress they could not be restarted. Temporary signage and traffic management were put in place but working is taking place to repair the lights today.
 

RACIST FAN BANNED BY COUNTY

 

Feb 16 - A football fan who was convicted of making racist football chants has been handed a lifetime ban from the club he supports. The 40-year-old has been barred from any Newport County AFC matches and the club's Rodney Parade ground. It follows a four-year football banning order imposed by the courts, following an incident in November. Newport officials said discrimination had "absolutely no place at our football club".
The individual was handed a four year ban by magistrates in Newport last week, after chants made during the club's first round FA Cup replay against Grimsby Town. In a statement, the League Two club said it welcomed the court's order and was imposing its own penalty. "This person will also receive a lifetime ban from Newport and Rodney Parade Stadium," said the club.

 

SCHOOL STRIKES GO AHEAD

 

Feb 9 - Two secondary schools are facing closure because of strikes planned over feared job cuts. Llanwern High School staff took similar action last month and are planning a further three days this week. Newport's Caerleon Comprehensive workers say they will stay away on 11 and 12 February. Llanwern staff plan to be off on 11, 12 and 13 February. Newport City Council said the move meant pupils would lose "important teaching and learning time". The authority said 48 staff were set to stay away from Llanwern, and 47 from Caerleon.

 

MARKET ARCADE DEVELOPMENT SET TO START

 

Feb 9 - A multi-million pound development of Newport's Market Arcade is set to start. Scaffolding is set to be erected this week in preparation for the work that will include restoration of shop-fronts and the glazed canopy. The arcade will remain open while the work is completed. The project is funded by the National Heritage Lottery Fund, the City Council and others.
 

NEWPORT WEST BACK STARMER AND RAYNER

 

Feb 9 - Newport West constituency party has followed counterparts in the east of the city backing Keir Starmer in his quest for the Labour leadership and deputy leader frontrunner, Angela Rayner.

 

DRINK DRIVER JAILED

 

Feb 8 - A drink-driver has been jailed after he was caught by police whilst nearly four times over the legal limit, according to a report in the South Wales Argus. Amir Ali Khan, aged 25, of Medway Court, Bettws, Newport, was also disqualified from driving and uninsured when he was stopped in a Mercedes CL180. The offences occurred in Ruperra Street on February 1.
 

UP-SKIRTING CHARGE

 

Feb 6 - A 33 year old man who admitted up-skirting schoolgirls at a Sainsbury supermarket in Caerleon has been convicted of voyeurism. Lewis Taylor, 33, from Newport, took photographs up the skirts of 20 women and girls on their lunch break at the Sainsbury's Local in Caerleon. At Cardiff Crown Court, Taylor was given a community order and a rehabilitation requirement. He must carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and do a three-year course. He was identified by a worker at the supermarket. When officers searched his home they found films and pictures taken at the Sainsbury's store in Caerleon, near Newport. Taylor admitted 20 offences of voyeurism. Upskirting was made a criminal offence last year and anyone convicted can be jailed for up to two years. The Voyeurism (Offences) Act came into force in April 2019 after a campaign led by Gina Martin
 

NEWPORT EAST BACK STARMER

Feb 2 - Newport East constituency party has backed Keir Starmer in his quest for the Labour leadership. Starmer has received the support of the majority of constituencies to declare to date as has deputy leader frontrunner, Angela Rayner.

DAMAGING STRIKE FORCES SCHOOL CLOSURES

Feb 1 - Strike action by a teacher's union has forced the closure of Llanwern High School this week. It has also affected Caerleon. Newport City Council states it is disappointed that the teaching union NASUWT has voted for strike action at some of our local schools. In the majority of cases strike action will result in a full or partial school closure resulting in pupils losing important teaching and learning time which is essential to their education. The Council state "This is also difficult for parents and carers who may need to consider time off work to care for their children. We are particularly concerned for those pupils who are studying for their GCSEs and A Level examinations. This is a critical time for year 11 and 13 learners in particular. All public services across Wales have been affected by austerity. The NASUWT has informed us that the reason for their strike action is based upon staff restructuring, redundancy and potential job loss, however the council will try to mitigate this by seeking redeployment opportunities."

Llanwern High published details of mock examinations planned for the first week of February. The union has informed the council it will take industrial action at Caerleon Comprehensive School on Thursday, 6 February, Tuesday 11 February and Wednesday 11 February involving 47 teaching staff in NASUWT. No compulsory redundancies are pending in Caerleon Comprehensive School.

Llanwern High School will also be affected by 48 teaching staff due to take industrial action on Tuesday, 11 February, Wednesday 12 February and Thursday, 13 February. The council has learned that teachers who are in the NASUWT union at Llanwern High and Caerleon Comprehensive who choose to take strike action will be reimbursed for loss of pay by the Trade Union.

If a strike forces a school to close, the headteacher and the governing body will alert parents and carers via their school website and messages home.

LATEST SCHOOL BANDINGS PUBLISHED - here

DOCTOR AT CENTRE OF INVESTIGATION DIES

Jan 29 - A doctor who was at the centre of of one of Wales' biggest inquiries into neglect and fraud at care homes has died without ever facing trial. Prana Das, 73, had faced charges relating to neglect at Brithdir Care Home in New Tredegar and The Beeches in Blaenavon.

But he was left unfit to go to court after suffering a brain injury during a burglary at his home in Langstone, Newport, in September 2012.
All charges remained on file. The £11.6m investigation spanned seven years, involved 75 police staff and 4,126 statements were taken.
Puretruce Health Care, of which Dr Das was a director, had been charged with two counts of failure to discharge a duty to ensure residents at Brithdir Care Home were not exposed to risks to their health and safety. Dr Das was charged with two counts of consenting or conniving to a failure to discharge a duty as a director at Puretruce, these failures being attributable to neglect.

ENERSYS ANNOUNCE 82 JOB LOSSES

Jan 29 - Battery manufacturer Enersys has cut 82 jobs at its battery factory in Newport. A local trade union has described at as a "huge blow" to the workforce and to south east Wales.

SAN REMO FACING LICENCE REVIEW

Jan 29 - An Italian restaurant on Caerleon Road is facing a licence review after illegal workers were found at the premises by immigration officers. Border Security is asking Newport to revoke the licence for the San Remo restaurant. 

ARRESTS AFTER COCAINE FIND

Jan 26 - Three people have been arrested after two parcels containing cocaine valued at more than £1m were found at a parcel depot. A 26-year-old woman and 28-year-old man were detained in Newport on 22 January and a 30-year-old man was arrested in Bedminster, Bristol, the following day.

All three were arrested on suspicion of importing class A drugs. The arrests followed the discovery of two parcels, each containing around six kilos of cocaine, at a depot in London. The identical packages had been sent to the UK from the Netherlands and were found by Border Force officers. Investigations into the source are ongoing. The pair arrested in Newport have been released under investigation while the man in Bristol was bailed pending further inquiries.

CITY TO GET NEW CHARGING POINTS

Jan 25 - Newport is set to have up to 17 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. Work on installation should be completed by 31 March 2020 with the charge points operational from 1 April 2020. The new installations include three double charge points in the Riverfront car park, Hill Street car park and Maindee car park with four double charge points in Faulkner Road car park. Double charging points will also be installed in Stow Hill and Mill Parade car parks. Pay and display charges will still apply at the stated times and the cost of using the charge points will be 95p plus 25p per KWh.

CITY DENIES EVICTING ROUGH SLEEPERS

Jan 23 - Newport City Council has denied evicting homeless people from the disabled and business permit car parks near Newport Market. It said "Cleansing staff did however attend yesterday (Wednesday, 22 January) to clear piles of soiled bedding, black bags full of rubbish and tents which had been abandoned along with more than 230 used hypodermic needles. The council had issued a notice to the people living in the tents that the cleanse was taking place and they were aware of this."

The cleanse went ahead following numerous complaints from the public about the condition of the car parks near Newport Market because of their use by a small number of rough sleepers. Complaints made to the council from drivers said they found it increasingly difficult to use the car parks due to the state they were in.

HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY SERVICE

Jan 22 - Members of the public are invited to the annual Holocaust Memorial Day Service at 11am on Monday 27 January in Newport Cathedral. This year marks 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau and the 25th anniversary of the genocide in Bosnia. Newport City Council is hosting the annual service, which, for 2020, has the theme "stand together".

It explores how genocidal regimes throughout history have deliberately fractured societies by marginalising certain groups and how these tactics can be challenged by standing together and speaking out against oppression. Among those attending this year will be the Lord Lieutenant of Gwent, the High Sheriff, the Deputy Mayor of Newport, Councillor Charles Ferris, and the Leader of Newport City Council, Councillor Jane Mudd. Caerleon Comprehensive School's choir are performing a number of songs and pupils will deliver readings and prayers. Children from Langstone Primary School will be involved in the candle procession while Gwent Music Brass Ensemble play.

ROMAN FIND AT LLANWERN HOUSING SITE

Jan 21 - A skeleton dating back as far as Roman times has been discovered on the site of a housing development in Newport . A team of archaeologists Cotswold Archaeology discovered a Roman settlement of three stone buildings which are thought to date back to between the second and fourth centuries AD. The find was discovered at the Redrow development in Llanwern. The items from the excavation and archive will be given to a local museum, Redrow said. The stone buildings also had a "well-made road and complex water system".

TOP SHOP BLOW FOR CITY CENTRE

Jan 20 - Newport's Friars Walk shopping centre is to lose one of its original stores - Top Shop - which is currently running a closing down sale and closes March 7.

CITY COUNCIL CUSTOMER SERVICES SET TO RELOCATE

Jan 13 - Customer services and departments based at Newport’s Information Station are set to be relocated, as the local authority looks to increase revenue from the building. Newport council is proposing to move staff and services from the ground and first floors of the Information Station in Queensway to the Central Museum and Library. Services provided at the building include information about housing benefit, council tax reduction, business rates, social services, child protection, access to supported employment, business rates and blue badges.
The Council states "Co-location of the library and museum with the wider ‘One Stop Shop’ offer will provide mutual benefits including access to the digital facilities, community and cultural activities available within the library. In turn, by placing the Information Station within the museum building it will enjoy vastly improved accessibility and presence at the heart of the redeveloped Friars Walk leisure complex. It is anticipated that the relocation of staff and services will offer an opportunity to review and improve current working practices and service delivery models. The design on the new facility will aim to improve the customer journey and also facilitate greater use of the services available at the Museum and Library building."

LIBERTY STEEL CUTS NEWPORT JOBS

Jan 11 - Liberty Steel is set to cut about 350 jobs across its Newport and South Yorkshire operations in response to "challenging market conditions and a lingering reduction in demand". The group has taken the decision to reduce its workforce at certain plants to match sustainable production forecasts. The move follows a review of its UK business in response to "challenging market conditions and a lingering reduction in demand for UK steel products". Its workforce is set to be reduced by up to 355, with sites in Stocksbridge, Rotherham, Brinsworth and Newport affected. About 70 jobs are at risk in Newport.


A union official who fought to save Newport's Orb Electrical Steels died just days after the site was mothballed. Paul Horton died on New Year's Day having worked his last shift at the site just before Christmas. After working there for 37 years he spoke out for the workforce at a Save Orb Steel march in Newport in October. Community union general secretary, Roy Rickhuss, called Mr Horton's death a "tragic loss."

SCHOOL IN SPECIAL MEASURES

Jan 10 - Malpas Church in Wales Primary has been put into special measures by inspectors. The recent amalgamation of Malpas junior and infants in Newport into Malpas Church in Wales Primary has resulted in “fractured relationships and poor communication between leaders and between leaders and staff”, Estyn said in their report. After visiting the 339-pupil school in November inspectors have now reported that care, support and guidance and leadership and management at the school are “unsatisfactory and in need of urgent improvement”.

FLY TIPPING MENACE CLEARED BY COUNCIL TWICE

Jan 9 - Newport City Council cleared fly-tipped rubbish from the area of Pentre Tai Road leading to Afon Village on 2 January 2020 and is disappointed that within 24 hours rubbish was again dumped at the same site. Waste enforcement officers are carrying out inquiries over the incidents and are in the process of tracing those guilty of this offence. Investigations so far show that some of the fly tipped rubbish has come from outside Newport.
If prosecuted and found guilty the perpetrators could face fines of up to £50,000 and/or up to 12 months imprisonment.
A spokesperson for Newport City Council said: “Our Pride in Newport Team cleared this area of the fly-tipped rubbish and within hours fly-tipping occurred again, which is disappointing and frustrating. However our officers have found evidence which shows some of the fly-tipped rubbish has been dumped by someone from outside Newport. Please be assured we will pursue the culprits through due process.”

PLAY AREA CLOSED

Jan 8 - Duffryn play area has had to be closed to the public because of anti social behaviour which saw dog mess smeared on the ground and play equipment. Newport City Council staff who had to deal with this incident say they haven’t come across such atrocious behaviour before and have informed police. A spokesperson for Newport City Council said: “To do this to a children’s play area is totally unacceptable. The whole play area is contaminated so has had to be closed before a deep clean can take place. If anyone has information as to who has committed this anti-social act please inform Gwent Police on 101."
 

BUS ATTACK MADNESS CONTINUES

 

Jan 6 - Newport Bus services in the East of the City through Alway and Ringland only operated along Chepstow Road on Saturday evening after three buses have been attacked by vandals. The company made the announcement after vandals damaged two vehicle windows the 6E Alway and 8A/C Ringland service on Friday evening, between 5pm and 6.30pm. On Thursday, a window of the new electric bus was damaged, thought to be in the same area. No injuries were reported, and the incidents have been reported to the police.

GLAN LLYN EXPANSION PLAN

 

Jan 5 - Further plans to build 500 homes on a former Newport steelworks site have been submitted to the council. Lovell Partnerships have lodged a reserved matters application for a key part of the Glan Llyn development . A total of 265 homes are proposed on one section, with the remaining 235 on the other. The site for 265 homes is the northern most plot of the eastern sub-area, with the boundary formed by a railway, while the other section for 235 homes is close to a central lake. A mixture of two, three and four-bedroom terraced, semi-detached and detached houses are proposed across both sites.

BUS FARES UP BUT CARDIFF RAIL FARE REDUCES

 

Jan 5 - Fares on buses in and around Newport will go up on Sunday 6 January. On Sunday, January 5, single tickets on Newport Bus services within zone one (Newport city) will increase from £1.80 to £2, while and adult day ticket in the same zone will cost £4.00, up from £3.70. Adult tickets in zone two (Cardiff and Cwmbran) will go up from £2.20 to £2.50 for a single, and from £4.50 to £5 for a day ticket.
Meanwhile, children's tickets within zone one will increase from £1.10 to £1.25 for a single and from £2.30 to £2.50 for a day ticket.
In better news for commuters, an off peak rail return between Newport and Cardiff has reduced in price this week from £5.40 to £4.80 despite the general 2 per cent plus increase in national rail fares.
 

NEW YEAR TRAIN PASSENGERS FACE DELAYS

 

Dec 29 - Most train passengers in south Wales will need to use bus replacement services until New Year's Day due to engineering work on the main line. Network Rail is renewing the track and installing overhead wiring between Cardiff and the Severn Tunnel. Passengers going to or from London, north Wales, Manchester, the Midlands and England's south coast are all affected. Buses will replace trains on affected sections of journeys.
Rail bosses have urged passengers between Christmas and new year to check their travel plans due to the amount of disruption to Welsh services.

50 MPH M4 LIMIT MAY BECOME THE NORM

 

Dec 28 - An average speed limit of 50mph should be introduced to tackle congestion on the M4 around Newport, the commission set up after the decision to scrap the relief road has said. South East Wales Transport Commission recommended "fast-track" measures to ease traffic at the Brynglas tunnels. These would help reduce the "ripple effect" of changes in speed which disrupt traffic, it said. The 50mph limit between junctions 24 and 28 would apply all day. In a progress report on its work, the commission conceded this would mean slower travel times for vehicles at off-peak times.

NEW MANUFACTURING FACILITY SET FOR DOCKS

 

Dec 28 - A project that could result in the construction of a new plasterboard manufacturing facility on Alexandra Docks in Newport has taken a step forward after the city council ruled an environmental impact assessment (EIA) is not necessary. Associated British Ports is behind the proposals for Tom Lewis Way and lodged an EIA request in July 2019. If the plans go ahead, the warehouse containing the production equipment could span almost 151,000 sq ft. Newport City Council concluded earlier this week (16 December) that an EIA is not required.

NURSE TO FACE FEBRUARY SENTENCING HEARING

 

Dec 22 - A nurse who crashed her car after taking prescription painkillers has been found guilty of death by dangerous driving. Robert Dean, 65, died after Cerys Price, 28, crashed into his car in July 2016 on the A467 near Newport. Price, from Brynmawr, was also found guilty of causing serious injury by dangerous driving to the passenger in her car, ex-boyfriend Jack Tinklin. She will be sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court on 6 February.

CAERLEON HOTEL PLAN OUT FOR CONSULTATION

 

Dec 21 - Plans for a hotel in Caerleon close to the new International Convention Centre Wales have been revealed. A public consultation has been launched on a proposed 44-bedroom hotel planned to be built in the existing car park of the Los Reyes Tapas and Wine Bar on Belmont Hill in Caerleon. The three-floor hotel will include under-croft parking on the ground floor, 44-bedrooms on the upper storeys and an annexe with a reception and staff offices.

LLANWERN HIGH OUT OF 'SPECIAL MEASURES'

 

Dec 21 - The head-teacher, chair and board of governors, staff and school community of Llanwern High are today celebrating the good news they have been removed from an Estyn follow up category. Newport City Council’s cabinet member for education and skills Councillor Gail Giles praised headteacher Tracey Jarvis, chair of governors Councillor Debbie Harvey, and staff for their commitment and determination.
A report published by Estyn, following a visit to the school in November 2019, said the school is judged to have made sufficient progress in relation to the recommendations following the most recent core inspection that Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education and Training in Wales.
As a result the school has been removed from the list requiring significant improvement. “This is excellent news for Llanwern High School, the headteacher, the chair and board of governors, staff and all the pupils,” said Councillor Giles. “I congratulate all concerned on this excellent achievement which has rightly been recognised by Estyn."

NEWPORT RECEIVE BIG SPENDING INCREASE

 

Dec 19 - Local councils are being given £4.474bn to spend on day-to-day services - including schools and social care - an above-inflation increase of 4.3%. Individual increases in central funding range from 3% for Monmouthshire to 5.4% for Newport, to which local authorities will add their own revenue from council tax, charges for services and other income. Local government is under pressure because of rising wage and pension bills.
The latter is the first significant increase in council funding for 12 years, according to the Welsh Local Government Association.

In 2020-21 the council still faces a shortfall of around £6 million to fund the same level of services. Councillor Jane Mudd, Leader of Newport City Council, said: “We have already made significant savings and efficiencies – £41 million over the last five years and have reduced the size of our workforce by almost a quarter. However, the demands on services, particularly in social care and education, show absolutely no sign of diminishing. As a result we must find even more ‘new’ savings – at least £21m over the next three years. We are trying very hard to plan for a sustainable future, but with less money, fewer staff and stretched services, it is incredibly difficult.”
The main pressures in Newport include:
• An aging population becoming increasingly dependent on care; requiring more complex and expensive packages to help keep people in their own homes. The costs of providing packages of care have risen from £33 million in 2015/16 to a forecasted £44 million this year.
• Since 2015/16, there has been an 85 per cent increase in the number of children being given care placements outside Newport and a 109 per cent increase in the number of children in independent fostering arrangements
• There are 1,046 more pupils than three years ago
• There are 256 more pupils with additional learning need

 

TORY SURGE REDUCES LABOUR MAJORITIES IN NEWPORT

 

Dec 15 - The Conservative surge failed to depose Newport's two Labour MP's but significantly reduced their majorities. Ruth Jones was returned in Newport West with a majority of 900 votes, Jessica Morden had a majority of just under 2,000 in Newport East. A Labour canvasser in Newport West reported that the reception for the Party on the major former council estates was initially hostile with much of the focus on Jeremy Corbyn and to a lesser extent, Brexit. Labour had a better hearing from the more middle class areas where its policy on Brexit was better received. As the campaign moved along there was a slight shift to Labour that gave them some confidence that they would retain the seat.

 

ORB WORKS TO BE MOTHBALLED

 

Dec 13 - Two companies have expressed an interest in Tata's Orb steelworks in Newport. Tata is "mothballing" rather than closing the plant as it searches for a new buyer. BBC Wales states that Liberty Steel, which has a base in Newport, has been looking at taking over the plant.
US company, Big River Steel, would like to use the site but only with another company operating it.
Tata Steel announced plans to shut the plant in September putting up to 380 jobs at risk. But the workers at the site - which makes electrical steel used in power transmission and the car industry - will be redeployed to other parts of the business, including Port Talbot. No compulsory redundancies are expected and a spokesman said workers have been told it was bringing the consultation process to a close.

 

CRASH NURSE IN 'DRUGGED UP' STATE

 

Dec 13 - A nurse told a jury she could not account for high levels of prescription painkiller in her blood after she was involved in a fatal car crash. Cerys Price said she took tramadol the night before the collision, but she had only taken a single tablet. She denies causing the death of driver Robert Dean, 65, by dangerous driving in a July 2016 crash near Newport.

She also denies causing serious injury by dangerous driving to the passenger in her car, ex-boyfriend Jack Tinklin. The level of the drug found in Ms Price's blood following the crash was 1,803 micrograms per millilitre of blood. Cardiff Crown Court has heard a therapeutic level is 400 micrograms per millilitre of blood.

The jury has previously been told Ms Price suffered a seizure before the crash which could have been triggered by the prescription painkiller.
Ms Price also denies causing serious injury by dangerous driving to the passenger in her car, former boyfriend Jack Tinklin, in the July 2016 crash.
The crash happened on the A467 between Rogerstone and Bassaleg, with Mr Dean dying at the scene. Mr Tinklin, who was seriously injured, said he was not aware Ms Price was taking medication.However, police found a tub of the painkiller tramadol in the crashed vehicle with just 26 of a tub of 100 tablets left. The trial continues.
 

ST JULIAN'S SICKNESS CRISIS

 

Dec 6 - A school has shut on a number of days recently because illness among staff and students has reached a "critical level". St Julian's secondary school in Newport closed because of an outbreak of sickness and diarrhoea. A statement said following a consultation with the chairman of governors and local authority, it was decided to shut it on Friday 6. "The school will undergo a deep clean in an attempt to minimise further absences"

 

NEW COUNCIL LEADER NAMED

 

Nov 30 - Newport City Council confirmed Councillor Jane Mudd as the new Leader at the full council meeting this week. Councillor Mudd succeeds former Leader, Baroness Wilcox of Newport, who has stepped down following her elevation to the peerage. The Malpas ward member, who has served as cabinet member for regeneration and housing since 2017, said: “It is a great honour to lead the council and I look forward to serving the council and the city.
“I was born and brought up in Newport, attending local schools, and bringing my family up here so the city, its past, present and future, is extremely important to me. My aspirations will include the continuation of vital regeneration work and making sure we realise the potential of the city and its residents. Debbie is going to be a hard act to follow but she will still be here, representing the Gaer ward, and I know she will continue to be a great ambassador for Newport.”
 

 

 

 

 

 

TECHNICALITY DENIES JUSTICE TO SERIOUSLY INJURED MAN

 

Nov 22 - A Newport man injured so badly in a suspected hit-and-run that he was given a 2% chance to live, said he has been denied justice "on a technicality". according to a BBC investigation. John Conibeer spent six weeks in a coma and needed multiple life-saving operations after he was hit by a van on the A48 near Chepstow last year. The man charged with the hit and run walked free because of a clerical error, he said.
The Crown Prosecution Service said it would be "inappropriate" to comment. After a lengthy appeal to catch the suspect, police made an arrest in March, but no charges were brought until September.

The BBC has learned the suspect was facing three charges - causing serious injury through careless driving, failing to stop at the scene of an accident and failing to report an accident. Mr Conibeer said police had told him the suspect had admitted he was driving the van.
The defendant was due to appear at Newport Magistrates' Court on 14 November but the case, which was being prosecuted by the police, was withdrawn after the district judge ruled the case had "timed out".
With certain motoring offences, prosecutors have six months to charge someone, at which point the offence becomes "timed out" unless the prosecutor issues a certificate of extension.
 

THREE MEN CHARGED WITH SHAFTSBURY MAN'S MURDER

 

Nov 22 - Three men have been charged with murder after a man died a week after being found with serious injuries. Conlan Dunnion, 22, from Newport, appeared in court on Thursday also charged with murder. The other suspects, a 40-year-old Cardiff man and a man, 32, from Newport, have also been charged with conspiracy to commit robbery. Shafiul Islam, 22, from Newport, was found at a property in Tewkesbury Walk in the city on 14 November. Two other men, aged 41 and 46, and a 37-year-old woman, who were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder before Mr Islam died, have been released while inquiries continue. The men charged on Friday have been remanded in custody and will now appear in front of magistrates in Newport on Saturday. Gwent Police said the force is continuing to support the family of Mr Islam.

 

DRUGS GANG PAY BACK FRACTION OF DEBT TO SOCIETY

 

Nov 16 - A drugs gang from Newport who made more than half a million pounds together trafficking heroin will have to pay back just a fraction of their profits. Altaf Hussain, Ryan Moody, Sageer Abbas, Rizwan Raza and Tara Jones earned £504,970.78, but will have to cough up less than £28,000.
One defendant was ordered to pay back just £1.

 

HOUSE DESTROYED BY FIREWORK MENACE

 

Nov 12 - A home in Newport has been gutted in a "devastating" blaze, which a family suspects was caused by a firework. Michelle Jones said her father, Graham Lloyd, heard a "really loud" bang at about 21:30 GMT on Bonfire Night. Mr Lloyd, who uses a wheelchair managed to escape unharmed with another relative, and no other family members were in the house at the time.
Gwent Police said it had been made aware and was treating the fire as suspicious. Ms Jones said neighbours saw "two kids running from the alleyway" and the family was "pretty sure it was a firework" that started the blaze.

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.