PLANS have formally been submitted to demolish the Newport Centre and replace it with a new “local landmark”.
This follows the approval of a planning application in November 2021 for a new “state-of-the-art” leisure centre on Usk Way.
The design and access statement, submitted by KEW Planning on behalf of Newport City Council and Coleg Gwent, states that the current leisure centre has “reached the end of its useful life”.
The 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, though the remainder of the centre remains very much open for a range of sporting and leisure activities.
KEW Planning has described the re-development of the site as an “exciting opportunity”.
An artist’s impression of the new building
The council and Coleg Gwent are seeking flexible planning permission for the proposed seven-storey building. If approved, its use will be educational, in addition to having shops, restaurants, offices and a hotel.
Prominent frontages on the River Usk and Kingsway are included in the design of the building. In the design and access statement, KEW planning said the current building “has no architectural value and does not make a positive contribution to the local streetscape”.
This is an outline application, meaning that, if it is approved, further details such as the number of car parking spaces and landscape will be confirmed in a future reserved matters application.
The site is located within the Newport City Centre Archaeologically Sensitive Area, therefore it is recommended that tests are undertaken to identify any archaeological remains that could be compromised by the development.
When accounting for climate change, the site is at risk of tidal flooding and this has therefore been considered as part of a Flood Consequences Assessment.
The location of the proposed building is described as “highly sustainable” in a transport statement prepared by planning consultancy Cambria, on behalf of the applicants.
Cambria states: “It is close to the city centre, the city’s bus station and one kilometre from the railway station. National Cycle Network Route 47 passes the site, running along the western bank of the River Usk.”
The application is expected to go to the council’s planning committee for a decision, because it is a major development that has been submitted by the council.
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