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There has been a lot of discussion on-line and elsewhere about Redrow Homes’ application to redevelop the Caerleon Campus Site. CSS thought it would be a good idea to provide a definitive report on the current situation about the proposal, so that residents in Caerleon are fully aware of the facts and take appropriate action relating to the application, if they wish.

The intention is not to take sides, but to give a detailed and accurate report so that people can reach their own conclusions.

It is a lengthy report, but you are asked to persevere and read it thoroughly in considering what response you wish to make in relation to Redrow’s proposed development, which will undoubtedly have an impact on life in Caerleon, should it go ahead!


The campus was closed down in July 2016 by it’s owners, the University of South Wales. They had worked-up plans to redevelop the site in the hope that it would be given planning approval and with the enhanced value that comes with a planning consent, they would have sold it to a house builder, and realised maximum financial benefit from the sale.

Their application was considered by Newport Council’s Planning Committee in October 2018 but it was refused, largely due to the impact that additional road traffic would have in Caerleon, which is acknowledged as one of the most polluted locations in South Wales.

Earlier this year it was reported that the University had sold the entire site to Redrow Homes for a sum in the region of £6 million. Simultaneously, the University appealed to the Planning Inspectorate to seek a reversal of the refusal of their original application. This also coincided with Redrow beginning a 28 day (later extended to 39 days) public consultation exercise to allow local residents and interested parties to offer views on their draft (but different) application, prior to submitting it to the Council.

The appeal against the original refusal was withdrawn before it was considered by the Inspectorate.

Redrow have now submitted their actual application to the Council, with plans to redevelop the site and create 218 new dwellings.

There is a period of 21 days in which comments can be made about the application, which can be forwarded to the Planners, and they will consider consultations they receive in deciding what recommendations to make on the application when it is put before councillors in the Planning Committee for a decision.


There is very little time to submit your views. Unless your property adjoins the campus you will not be formally included in the consultation, so you will have to take the initiative, yourself.



The application details can be found on Newport City Council’s website via this link…'wphappsearchres.displayResultsURL?ResultID=1320453%26StartIndex=1%26SortOrder=APNID%26DispResultsAs=WPHAPPSEARCHRES%26BackURL=%3Ca%20href=wphappcriteria.display?paSearchKey=650041%3ESearch%20Criteria%3C/a%3E'%3ESearch%20Results%3C/a%3E

If you select the tab named ‘View Documents’ and then you click where it says ‘View Documents’ it should give you access to open up any of 184 or more documents relating to the application.

Individual documents will open if you click where it says 19/1212 in the App Reference column (on the far left of the page) relating to whichever item you wish to view.

You are advised to be selective over the items you choose to view. We would recommend looking at Item 4 on Page 1 (the proposed site plan) and Item 12 on Page 5 (Redrow’s response to the pre-application consultation). You will appreciate that much of the documentation is of a technical nature.

This is an extract from the Council’s website which tells you how you can make comments on planning applications…

How to comment

  • Online - comment via the planning database by searching for the relevant application and then clicking 'comment on this application'.

  • Email - to as long as you provide the application reference number

  • In writing - to Development Management, Planning, Newport City Council, Civic Centre, Newport NP20 4UR

Before commenting please look at the application plans to understand what is proposed, as the description of the proposal given in a letter, site or press notice is only a summary. 

The council does not encourage anonymous comments related to planning applications, these will be given little or no weight when evaluating the application.

Under the Local Government (Access to Information) Act 1985, your comments, including your name and address, are open to inspection by the public.

Comments on planning applications must be made in writing to the relevant case officer or as otherwise advised in any consultation letter or application publicity. 

Verbal comments will not be considered unless made at Planning Committee in accordance with planning protocol on public speaking at Planning Committee.

In assessing planning applications, the council can only take into account comments that concern relevant planning considerations and not those based on personal dislikes, grievances, non-planning issues associated with nuisance claims or legal disputes, etc.

Examples of considerations include:

  • Siting, design and external appearance of the proposed development (e.g. height or bulk in relation to neighbouring properties)

  • Loss of sunlight or daylight

  • Loss of privacy

  • Likelihood of undue noise or fumes

  • Adequacy of proposed parking and access arrangements

  • Effect of additional traffic

  • Effect on trees

  • Landscaping and proposals for boundary treatment (walls or fences)

Objections which cannot normally be taken into account include:

  • Effect on property values

  • Effect on structural stability (this may be covered by the Building Regulations)

  • Noise, disturbance or inconvenience resulting from construction works (this is covered by the Control of Pollution Act)

  • Boundary disputes (including Party Wall agreement issues)

  • Restrictive covenants (including rights to light)

  • Opposition to business competition

  • Applicant's personal circumstances (unless these can be show to be relevant in planning terms e.g. provision of disabled facilities)

  • Opposition to the principle of development for which outline planning permission has already been granted.  

You can track the progress of an application and the eventual decision on the online planning register. 

Any comments received after 21 days will be considered if the application has not been determined or, in the case of an application considered by Planning Committee, only representations received by midday on the Monday immediately before a Wednesday Planning Committee meeting will be considered.

There is no statutory requirement to carry out re-consultation. 

However, if during the course of determining an application amended plans are submitted which are considered by the head of service to have a potential additional impact - e.g. addition of a window to a habitable room, increase in size of an extension - neighbouring residents will normally be notified of the amended plans and given a period of 14 days to give further written comments. 

Where such amendments are considered to result in wider public interest a further site notice may be displayed.


Email or contact the planning control team at Newport City Council for further information. 


What else do I need to know about Redrow’s proposal?

They are applying to build 147 3 and (mostly) 4 bedroom houses in their Heritage range of designs. These types of properties are currently being built on the Tredegar Park development in Bassaleg. The asking price there tends to fall between £375k and £435k.

Because some of the Edwardian-era buildings within the campus were successfully listed before the University submitted their initial application, these have to be retained and sensitively converted for residential use. Redrow are proposing to create 47 flats and 2 houses from these structures.

There is a single storey building at the rear of the main block. In the earlier plans Redrow proposed this would be used as a community hall, but it is now proposed that it is converted into two flats. This effectively means that, with the demolition of the sports centre, there will be no facilities on offer to the wider community within the development, apart from the opportunity to traverse the site and ‘experience’ the retained open space and landscaping.

Furthermore, despite a directive from Welsh Government requiring 40% of the housing within substantial new developments to be ‘affordable’, Redrow are proposing to provide only 10% of this scheme outside of ordinary open market purchase. So, that will mean that 22 properties (a mixture of flats and smaller houses) will be classed as ‘affordable’. This could be interpreted in various ways, but usually it means that the Council negotiates for a local housing association to be allocated these units and they are rented by people who are registered on the Council’s housing register.

So, altogether, 218 new homes are proposed in the application. This is a reduction of about 35% from what was proposed in the initial application.

Also, if the application is approved, it is likely that the Council will ratify proposals by the developer to contribute toward things that will mitigate against the impact of the population increase, or add community benefits. The value of such things (which are contractually applied under a Section 106 Agreement) will be factored within the profits the developer expects to make from disposals on the site. So, it could be that the developer will pay towards the provision of extra classroom spaces at a local school, for example. There are plenty of areas about which the developer and the Council will negotiate during the process, as it is a ‘one off’ opportunity for the local authority to obtain ‘planning gains’ which ideally benefit the community as a whole.


Putting the record straight

  • All of Caerleon’s councillors have stridently and consistently opposed the campus redevelopment on the grounds of it’s adverse impact on the infrastructure and environment;

  • The Council doesn’t own the campus site, and it did not have the finance to pay the university’s asking price when it had decided to dispose of it. So, although there are many merits in relocating the secondary school to the campus, it was not a viable prospect;

  • Netflix have only hired the campus temporarily as a film location. It is not a permanent arrangement, and has no impact on Redrow’s intentions to build houses on the site;

  • Some years ago, the St Cadoc’s Hospital site (which belongs to the Aneurin Bevan Health Trust) was included in the Council’s Local Plan as a site that could be redeveloped for housing. The Health Trust withdrew their proposal to sell it for redevelopment – although they reserved the option to reverse this decision, if circumstances change. So, it is foreseeable that this site could also be put forward as a very large development for new housing, in the future. If the Campus re-development is approved it would be very difficult for the Council to refuse any application relating to St Cadoc’s;

  • The possibility of opening a railway station in Caerleon is frequently mentioned as a way to reduce car travel through the town, especially if new housing estates are built. However, there is an equally valid argument that the existence of a railway station would actually increase local traffic, as people will drive to and park up near the station in order to travel by train;

  • When the original Campus re-development proposal was being examined by the Council, the Health Authority and Education Departments were consulted about whether the increase in patients and schoolchildren could be absorbed by the local doctors’ practice and schools, respectively. The response in both cases was that the influx of new residents could be accommodated within the existing surgery and schools. It’s fair to say that local people find this difficult to understand, as their day-to-day experiences suggest that GP surgeries and local schools are barely able to cope with current demand;

  • Although it is desirable, the Society does not believe there are any proposals to improve road access in and out of Caerleon, currently under consideration;

  • Regrettably, there will not be an opportunity to hold a public meeting to discuss Redrow’s application before it is considered by the Council.

What is the Civic Society and what is it doing about the Campus proposal?

Caerleon Civic Society is a voluntary community group made up of local people who meet regularly to monitor and comment on issues that impact on the quality of life in Caerleon.

The group is particularly concerned with conserving the area’s local heritage and promoting the town proactively.

The Council consults us on all planning applications within the catchment, and we liaise with relevant bodies about issues of concern. Examples of this from 2019 are the negotiations we undertook with the Celtic Manor over the re-opening of the river bridge on the 2010 course, and our quest to reduce the amount of HGV traffic through Caerleon and monitor the structural condition of the river bridge.

Anyone can join the Society. Annual membership costs only £5. We meet in the upstairs room at the White Hart PH on the second Monday of each month.

Regarding the planning application for the Campus, we will submit an open response within the consultation cycle. We also submitted our views during the pre-application process.

The response is not yet complete, but we will be expressing strong concerns about the implications of extra traffic on the environment, and the impact of an increased population on the local infrastructure.

The proposal indicates there would be a slight reduction in the number of dwellings from the University’s previous application, but the reasons for the Council refusing that application are still entirely pertinent.

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