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News 2023

Here you’ll find all the latest news and information from Caerleon  Civic Society.
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December 2023

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Chris Thomas -   CCS Chair

November turned out to be a busy month for the Civic Society. Our monthly meeting was held on November 11th and covered a range of issues.

One important outcome of the meeting was the agreement, in principle, to support the planting of new trees in appropriate places in Caerleon. We were asked to recall where trees had been felled or died in recent years and also to suggest locations for new trees.

An initiative by an individual resident, to commemorate the reign of the late Queen Elizabeth, it was considered to be worthy of our full support.

 

We received a progress report from the group of members who had come forward to organise a public meeting about a new railway station in Caerleon.

Read about the successful outcome of this meeting in Novembers News.

Please visit our stall at the Caerleon Festival Christmas market on Saturday, December 9th at Caerleon Town Hall.

We also discussed our approach to the consultation event held on November 22nd and organised by the City Council about the proposals in the new Replacement Local Development Plan.

This event covered important issues about the future development of Caerleon. Our observations will be finalised and agreed at our December meeting on Monday, December 11th at 7.00pm in the White Hart Barn.

 

PLEASE COME ALONG AND SHARE YOUR VIEWS.

November 2023

A PACKED meeting at Caerleon Town Hall gave a “clear-cut verdict” on local support for a new train station.

 

Read the full South Wales Article , link below.

October 2023

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Our October meeting took place at the White Hart Barn proved to be very successful and well attended, with us coming together to hear N.C.C officers,SHONA CARLE & PAUL KANE talk about the trees in and around Caerleon with special attention given to the Ash die back on the Bulmore Road.

 

This road will be closed for two weeks from 1st November for removing dead and dying trees and re-planting where necessary.

The discussion broadened out to where attention can be given to other existing trees and to sites where new plantings could be considered. The meeting learnt of the possibilities and restrictions already laid down preventing new trees plantings.

 

Newport City Council has announced the arrangements for the consultation on its Preferred Strategy for the Newport Replacement Local Development Plan 2021-2036.

 

The consultation meeting for the Caerleon area is on

Wednesday, November 22nd at the Lodge Farm Church, Lodge Hill, NP18 3DL at 6pm until 8pm.

 

PLEASE COME ALONG AND SHARE YOUR VIEWS ABOUT THEFUTURE OF CAERLEON"

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September 2023

Cllr. Steve Cocks reported that he had had a profitable discussion with Ted Hand of the Magor Station Action Group on Rail, regarding his experiences in working toward getting a rail stop established at Magor. It had taken the group ten years but a station is now planned for Magor.

A new station for Caerleon is in the current Newport Local Development Plan. The Caerleon Rail Stop proposal is also mentioned in the Burns report.

Network Rail has a process to follow for deciding new infrastructure projects (the Governance for Railway Investment Projects process). Other organisations such as Newport City Council and the Welsh Government must also be involved. The Magor group had found working towards a station a long and involved process.

There was a very positive reaction to further considering the idea of a station in Caerleon. It was proposed that a group be set up to explore the idea and sound out local opinion.

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August 2023

The July meeting was held shortly after this year’s Caerleon Arts Festival.
Over the BIG FREE weekend there was a marquee on the Festival Field showing a photographic display of the Festival’s 21yr. history. This marquee was shared by the Civic Society with a video celebrating their own 50yr. history.
DO WATCH.....
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gA_cp7ewSRo

The video was well received with many comments hoping to create awareness of the Caerleon Civic Society. To build MEMBERSHIP NUMBERS is desired both to increase funds for campaigning and to broaden the knowledge and expertise among the members.
At the meeting discussions continued on the need to:

a. Improve the tourism awareness in Caerleon, with comments on the poor street cleaning, lack of toilet facilities and inadequate car parking.

b. To continue our presence on the Tourism Forum, which joins the Museum and Cadw with other local stakeholders.

In relation both to this and also the traffic pollution problem, it was suggested that two organisations would be worth contacting, https://www.livingstreets.org.uk/ and also https://www.createstreetsfoundation.org.uk/, for ideas on re-designing the High Street and central Caerleon.


THE NEXT MEETING will be on 11th MONDAY SEPTEMBER at 7.00pm in the Barn of the garden of the White Hart.
Why not come and join in discussions on how Caerleon can move forward. We NEED YOU!

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Thanks to STEVE BINNS for allowing us to use photo

July 2023

Caerleon Caerleon Civic Society  is extremely grateful to  Matt Thomas. Matt created a short film to commemorate Caerleon Past and Present . 

June 2023

Not many people are aware that the Caerleon Civic Society was founded 50 years ago, this year, by the then Chair, Dr. Russell Rhys. 

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May 2023

Our May meeting took place on the 15th – a week later than

 

As part of a discussion about guest speakers at our future monthly meetings, members expressed an interest in hearing more about trees, in all respects, in our area. It was clear from the discussion how important trees were as part of our attractive local environment – maybe as important as our historic, built features.

 

So often taken for granted – singly, in small groups, or in larger woods, in private gardens or on public land – trees deserve to have a better ‘story’. Frequently seen as a nuisance – dropping sticky leaves on your car or overgrowing a footpath or your garden fence – or getting in the way of a landowner’s ideas for building development – trees are nevertheless an integral part of our landscape playing a key part in the ways we see and sense our surroundings and, on a wider scale, contributing to the global need for cleaner air.

The next time that you are out and about and have time to ‘stand and stare’, take a good look at all the trees that you pass in and around Caerleon – Can you identify them? How old are they? Do they look healthy or not? How do they contribute to the local scene? What would you feel if they weren’t there? Where could more trees be planted?

Members decided to invite a tree expert to a future meeting to tell us more about our trees – keep an eye on our website or FB page for dates and details.

 

The annual Caerleon Festival will soon be with us - from June 30th until July 9th – see www.caerleon-arts.org for more details. The Civic Society will be part of the Big Free weekend on July 8th and 9th by having a presence on the Festival Meadow to commemorate our 50th year in existence. Hope to see you there.

 

As mentioned in the May issue, Civic Society subscriptions for 2023/24 are now due at £10 per person. We look forward to members, old and new, paying their subs and attending meetings.

 

Chris Thomas, Chair, Caerleon Civic Society

April 2023

THE HANBURY ARMS, CAERLEON

The Hanbury Arms, Uskside, Caerleon

Most of this riverside inn dates from c.1565. Little of the structure has changed apart from rebuilding of the rear section (probably in the 18th century) and reshaping of windows in the early 19th century. Original window apertures can still be seen on the first floor. Initially it was a town house, known as Tŷ Glyndŵr, for the influential Morgan family, a major property owner in this area for centuries.

At one time the local magistrates heard cases here, in the panelled room. Miscreants would be locked in the tower which is attached to the pub and thought to date from the 13th century.

The building became an inn during the 17th century, located conveniently close to the quay on the Usk. Small ships sailed from the quay to places such as Bristol and Somerset. Traffic was boosted when a tramway was built in the 18th century to carry metal from the Cwmbran area to the quay.

In 1856 Alfred, Lord Tennyson lodged at the Hanbury Arms while working on his long poem Idylls of the King. His inspiration was the legend of King Arthur and the knights of the round table. There was a theory that the round table was located at the remains of Caerleon’s Roman amphitheatre. The poem names Caerleon many times, and even refers to the tower (built much later than the presumed time of Arthur’s rule). Tennyson’s room at the Hanbury Arms has been kept unchanged since his stay.

John Sherwood, the inn’s landlord in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, had studied at Cambridge University, where he was a noted rower. It was reported that he had won five medals at the Henley regatta. He ran a brewery at the Hanbury Arms

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March 2023
 

A report of  the CCS February meeting  by Chris Thomas - Chair

There was a good turn-out for the February meeting of the Civic Society. The main item on the agenda was the Newport Replacement Local Development Plan. The Council has issued a consultation document about the ‘growth and spatial options’ for the period up to 2036. The key issues are – how much should Newport grow in the next 13 years, in terms of new houses and new jobs, and where should this growth take place?

 

Although there was some discussion about the City as a whole, Society members were keen to discuss the implications of growth for Caerleon. Although the Council report did not specify major growth for Caerleon there was discussion about development in surrounding areas which could have an impact on Caerleon in terms of traffic and community facilities including health and education. Members supported the idea that open land to the north and west of Caerleon should be protected by a ‘green belt’. In particular, members were interested in the report’s options for public transport and were generally disappointed that a proposal in previous plans for a new station in Caerleon had been dropped.

There are opportunities in late February and early March for the Society to learn more, and ask questions, at the Council’s consultation events, before finalising its comments.

 

During February there has been a lot of coverage in the media about the Welsh Government’s review of investment in new road building. In general the plans have been cut back, as public transport and active travel have been prioritised, but a scheme to improve the A4042 between Pontypool and the M4 has been recommended. This particular scheme, and its links to the possible major growth of Llanfrechfa in Torfaen Borough, could have implications for traffic coming through Caerleon, and the Society will keep an eye on this issue with interest.

 

Some new road schemes across Wales have been given the go-ahead – such as the £50 million by-pass road for Llandeilo, near Carmarthen. I read that a local Senedd Member has said that ‘we cannot continue with a situation where residents and visitors to Llandeilo are having to suffer high air pollution levels and are having to endure heavy lorries and buses mounting the pavements along narrow streets.’ Might not the same sentiments be voiced about Caerleon? However, Society members did not think that a by-pass for Caerleon was on the cards, and have indicated a wish to find out more about public transport initiatives

ere was a good turn-out for the February meeting of the Civic Society. The main item on the agenda was the Newport Replacement Local Development Plan. The Council has issued a consultation document about the ‘growth and spatial options’ for the period up to 2036. The key issues are – how much should Newport grow in the next 13 years, in terms of new houses and new jobs, and where should this growth take place?

 

Although there was some discussion about the City as a whole, Society members were keen to discuss the implications of growth for Caerleon. Although the Council report did not specify major growth for Caerleon there was discussion about development in surrounding areas which could have an impact on Caerleon in terms of traffic and community facilities including health and education. Members supported the idea that open land to the north and west of Caerleon should be protected by a ‘green belt’. In particular, members were interested in the report’s options for public transport and were generally disappointed that a proposal in previous plans for a new station in Caerleon had been dropped.

There are opportunities in late February and early March for the Society to learn more, and ask questions, at the Council’s consultation events, before finalising its comments.

 

During February there has been a lot of coverage in the media about the Welsh Government’s review of investment in new road building. In general the plans have been cut back, as public transport and active travel have been prioritised, but a scheme to improve the A4042 between Pontypool and the M4 has been recommended. This particular scheme, and its links to the possible major growth of Llanfrechfa in Torfaen Borough, could have implications for traffic coming through Caerleon, and the Society will keep an eye on this issue with interest.

Some new road schemes across Wales have been given the go-ahead – such as the £50 million by-pass road for Llandeilo, near Carmarthen. I read that a local Senedd Member has said that ‘we cannot continue with a situation where residents and visitors to Llandeilo are having to suffer high air pollution levels and are having to endure heavy lorries and buses mounting the pavements along narrow streets.’ Might not the same sentiments be voiced about Caerleon? However, Society members did not think that a by-pass for Caerleon was on the cards, and have indicated a wish to find out more about public transport initiatives

February 2023
 

An update of the CCS January meeting by Chris Thomas - Chair.

 

There was a good turn-out, including some new faces, and there was a full discussion of a range of issues of current concern, including planning applications.

 

Over the past few months, members of the Civic Society have been considering how to mark our 50th anniversary. As reported in the December issue of Community Times, our inaugural meeting was held on February 21st, 1973. The minutes of the meeting noted that the Society had been formed ‘following popular support for a local campaign over traffic problems in the town.’ Of course, traffic congestion, and the related problem of air pollution, has remained a central theme for many local discussions and campaigns over the last 50 years. The problems have yet to be significantly eased or resolved. However, this is not a problem which will ‘go away’ of its own accord – it still a key policy issue for those organisations with the powers and resources to do something about it.

 

The Civic Society has had the active support of many of Caerleon’s notable residents such as Russell Rees, Jim Kirkward, Primrose Hockey and Norman Stevens……. but it would be invidious to continue the list. Over the years so many people have wholeheartedly given their expertise and energy, on a voluntary basis, to the causes embraced by the Civic Society. There have been many campaigns against development – the Usk Road housing and by-pass plan of the early 1990’s; the Usk Barrage proposals of 1992; the Welsh Rugby Union Centre of Excellence in 1999; and, more recently, the redevelopment of the College campus. The creation of the Millenium Park is a striking example of collaboration and community effort.

But not all the Civic Society’s efforts have been directed against development. As early as 1976 the Society was pressing for a Local Plan for Caerleon to reflect our unique character and challenges. In 1988 the Civic Society organised a Study Day, with a range of influential speakers, entitled ‘Caerleon – Community and Visitors.’ The purpose of the event was to ‘suggest ways and means of presenting Caerleon as a historic town and developing it as a tourist attraction in a manner which is acceptable to residents.’ It remains essential that the voices of the community are heard. Now – 35 years later – so much that was discussed on that day remains to be prioritised and progressed.

 

Perhaps there is scope to commemorate our 50th anniversary with a similar event, with a wider remit than tourism alone – in order to highlight our continuing problems and ensure that government, at all levels, places Caerleon at the top of the agenda for the future. We need to define our own vision for the future of our community. I hope that Civic Society members and others will give this idea serious consideration and support

A report on the CCS December meeting bu Chris Thomas - Chair

 

The December meeting of the Civic Society was held during the busy lead-up to Christmas and numbers attending were down for what proved to be a very informative presentation by our guest speaker, Laura Smith, Conservation Officer for the City Council. There was a full discussion of current conservation issues in Caerleon, and we look forward to working with Laura in the future.

 

The Civic Society sends good wishes to everybody for 2023 and we hope to see you at our regular meetings and, perhaps, becoming a member of the Society.

 

January 2023
 

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