NEWPORT Centre is to be demolished to make way for a new seven-storey building.
Plans for the new building were submitted by Newport City Council and Coleg Gwent. It will be for educational use, in addition to having shops, restaurants, offices and a hotel.
On Wednesday, October 5, the council’s planning committee unanimously approved the outline planning application, in line with officer’s recommendations.
Newport Centre opened in 1985 and is home to a multi-purpose sports hall and gym. Its swimming pool closed at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and is now permanently closed. The remainder of the centre remains open for a range of sporting and leisure activities.
Plans for a new “state-of-the-art” leisure centre on Usk Way were approved in November 2021. According to the report presented to the committee, this unlocks the current leisure centre site for new uses.
The report stated:
“The building, architecturally, is dated and no longer contributes positively to the character of the surrounding area.”
Cllr Malcolm Linton said the development was an “absolutely fantastic opportunity”.
He added: “It brings a more modern building in to the centre. The building at the moment is outdated and would cost too much to refurbish.”
The new building is expected to have “prominent frontages” that will enhance the street scene.
Natural Resources Wales (NRW) objected to the application due to “inadequate information” in relation to flooding.
The council report states that there’s a 0.5% flood risk according to the Flood Map for Planning (FMfP).
Cllr Jason Jordan and Cllr Mark Howells both had concerns about the height of the building.
The location of the site is described as “highly sustainable” in a transport statement prepared by planning consultancy Cambria, on behalf of the applicants.
A number of pedestrian paths are expected to be proposed in the reserved matters application, and the existing vehicular access on Emlyn Street is to be retained.
This is an outline application, meaning further details – such as the number of car parking spaces and landscape – will be confirmed in a future reserved matters application.