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NEWS 2020

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

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December 2020

The NEWPORT CITY COUNCIL Planning Committee agenda for its virtual meeting on January 6th has been published on the council website.

The CAMPUS development application report is on the agenda and the recommendation is that permission should be granted, with conditions.

Although this recommendation is deeply disappointing to the Civic Society, as they have consistently expressed their objections over a number of years, the report does seriously consider the key issues raised by the Society.

CCS hopes that the report’s contents will be discussed fully by the Committee.

There will be a further post giving a report when the Committee’s decision is known.

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November 2020

CAMPUS NEWS

A year ago, Redrow, a housing developer, made a planning application to Newport City Council for

218 new homes at the former Campus site in Caerleon.

The Civic Society made a number of strong objections to the plans. Since then a number of changes

have been made to the application with lengthy discussions and negotiations between the Council

planners and Redrow.

There has now been a ‘re-consultation’ on the amended plans and public comments have been invited.

The Civic Society has considered the amendments and has concluded that the changes that have been

made do not provide the basis for altering our original objections. The Civic Society remains extremely

concerned that the completed development will have a significantly detrimental impact on future air

quality in High Street and Castle Street - areas where air pollution is already unacceptably high -

because most of the extra traffic from the new development will have to use the current one-way

system through central Caerleon.

The Civic Society has also noted that the proposed entrance for large vehicles involved in the

demolition and construction work, through to 2026, is from the Ponthir direction via College Glade,

Eastfield Drive and Lodge Road. The proposed exit route is down Lodge Road, along the Common and

then Station Road to Ponthir Road. Both these proposals are totally unacceptable.

"Thank you to all those who have contributed to our project about the 33 men listed on the CAERLEON WAR MEMORIAL. We are making good progress.

Does anyone know of CLIFFORD T. PEARCE, listed on the Memorial?

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October 2020
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Regular readers of the local press may have been surprised by the recent headline, ‘City lags behind as most deprived Borough in Wales.’ The report goes on to say that ‘of Newport’s 95 neighbourhoods, 23 now rank as some of the most deprived in Wales’.

It will not, however, be a surprise to readers that Caerleon is not amongst the most deprived in Newport. Nevertheless Caerleon is not without its problems.

Official reports have pinpointed AIR QUALITY, LACK OF OPEN SPACE and FLOOD RISK as being of particular significance in Caerleon.

The Civic Society continues to be extremely concerned about the illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide being emitted by cars, lorries, vans and buses passing through our narrow central streets. Long-term exposure to high levels of nitrogen dioxide can cause bronchitis, asthma, and reduced lung function in children.

Other reports show that, against national benchmarks, Caerleon should have 4.43 hectares more public open space – about the area of 6 football pitches. Concern for this issue may not often be heard but outdoor public space is vital for our well-being.

Flood risk seems to be on the increase. The recent temporary closure of the main road from Caerleon Bridge is an indication of the serious nature of this risk. Other low-lying land, some immediately adjacent to established housing areas, also carries a risk (admittedly low) of flooding from the Usk.

The Civic Society intends to play an active part in the public discussion of these, and other, important issues for our community, and wants to engage with all levels of government and other decision-makers.

September 2020

Regrettably the Civic Society is not yet in a position to hold a meeting for its members.

Earlier this year, in this column, I mentioned the growing national debate about the effect of the pandemic on environmental issues – especially those issues which have been important for the Caerleon Civic Society, and the whole Caerleon community – traffic congestion, levels of car ownership and car use, air pollution, and the availability and use of public transport, such as buses and trains. To this list you could add issues related to the number of people who work from home and the number who regularly walk and cycle in their home area.

If we look forward to post-pandemic times – as surely we must – what will the picture look like for Caerleon? How much will the situation have changed between early 2020 and, say, 2022? What percentage of our community will switch to electric or hybrid cars? How many people will be working from home rather than traveling by car to their workplace? How many will switch to, or from, public transport? How many more will walk or cycle from their homes to school or to the shops or work? And how much will this complex mix of factors affect the illegal levels of air pollution in our main streets and the significant traffic congestion at certain times of the day?

Can we expect people’s behavior to change sufficiently so that air pollution and traffic congestion could decrease or can we expect a return to previous levels?

Our response to these questions should form an important part of our reasoned response to the future development of our area. This is the debate that I would encourage Civic Society members, and all those in the Caerleon community who support our aims, to participate in.

Please let me know your views at chris.thomas0@tinyworld.co.uk

Chris Thomas

Chair, Caerleon Civic Society

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August 2020

Although restrictions are easing for everyone, it is not clear, at the time of writing, when indoor public gatherings will be able to be held. Many organisations, like the Civic Society, are not able to hold regular meetings.  It will not only be a case of keeping to the official guidelines but also taking into account members’ wishes about their willingness to meet together as a group.

Chair Chris Thomas has written to Gwent Police, Newport City Council and CADW about continuing examples of anti-social behaviour in our area. It is particularly worrying at this time as residents and visitors seek to walk out and about around our attractive and interesting town and expect to to be able to do so peacefully and without apprehension. He has not received replies yet but will keep you posted.

Readers will probably have seen the early reports from the SE Wales Transport Commission. Beyond the headline- grabbing issue of congestion charges or tolls, there is fundamental problem of public transport in the Newport area. Members of the Civic Society will undoubtedly want to discuss the possible options, and their relevance to Caerleon, when we meet again.

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July 2020
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Our amphitheatre is officially first class, according to Royal Mail.
The set of Roman Britain stamps  can be pre-ordered now at Caerleon Post Office.

June 2020

Roman forts, roads, military camps and villas have been identified by a new analysis of aerial photographs taken in the 2018 heatwave across Wales.

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May 2020
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Regular supporters of Celf Caerleon Arts & Caerleon Civic Society may recall that the 2017 Caerleon Festival commemorated the 80th anniversary of a group of child refugees from Bilbao, Northern Spain, arriving in Caerleon.

An animated film has been commercially produced to mark these momentous events in 1937 and to ensure that the children themselves have a voice, which can be passed on from generation to generation.

The film is called ‘To Say Goodbye’, directed by Matt Richards and produced by Izar Films, originally released in 2012.  It is available online, until May 23rd,

One issue that has been in the news is the drop in air pollution because there is not so much traffic on the roads. National press reports state that, for nitrogen dioxide pollution, declines of a third to a half have been recorded in major cities. However, public health experts have warned that health damage inflicted on people by longstanding air pollution is likely to increase the death rate from Covid-19.

At this stage we do not know the implications of these changes for central Caerleon, where the Civic Society has been concerned for some time about the illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide pollution, especially in High Street and Castle Street.

We have put a number of proposals to the City Council, as part of its consultation last year on Sustainable Travel, about possible improvements to Caerleon’s air pollution problem. We will be keen to recommence these discussions when it becomes possible to hold meetings again.

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April 2020
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“The Civic Society welcomes this decision by the City Council. It is imperative that sufficient information is made available by the developer so that the community can be reasonably safeguarded from the effects of large-scale demolition at the campus site.

REGRETFULLY ALL FUTURE MEETINGS of the Caerleon Civic Society are cancelled until further notice this including  the meeting to discuss Local Travel Plan Proposals for Caerleon with invited speakers from the Newport City Council.

We will continue, though, to place items of interest on our website and Facebook Page.

In the meantime stay healthy - and if you do have any information or issues of likely interest to the CCS, please message our Page.

March 2020
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MEDIA COVERAGE of DEMOLITION PLANS at the Campus site has been continuing. We hope that everybody is now clear that Redrow intends to demolish SOME of the former residential blocks and NOT any of the listed buildings, possibly before the planning application for the whole development is decided on.

The Civic Society was keen to clarify the developer’s obligations and the following quotes are taken from the written reply by the Newport City Council planning officer dealing with the application.

“Most demolition is permitted development subject to a condition that requires the developer to notify the Council (via the prior approval process) and seek confirmation of whether prior approval is required or not.

Redrow has displayed a site notice in accordance with their statutory obligations. The scope of the Council’s considerations are, by law, very narrow. The Council must only consider whether its prior approval is required to the method of demolition and any proposed restoration of the site”'

For this type of application the Council does not have a statutory duty to consult neighbours or outside groups like the Civic Society.

The Civic Society remains extremely concerned that any additional traffic to and from the Campus site, especially the heavy lorries associated with demolition work, will have an adverse impact on existing unacceptable levels of traffic congestion and air quality in Caerleon.

February 2020

Caerleon Bridge Flood Defence update
To mitigate against flooding at very high tides, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has arranged to install, on a temporary basis during the few hours around the peak tide times, a flood defence barrier across Caerleon Road. During the implementation of this barrier, there will be road closures and traffic diversions in place.

Click for full report

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January 2020
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Members of Caerleon Civic Society who met Jayne Bryant, the Assembly Member for the area, on Thursday 16th January afternoon at Caerleon Town Hall.

“We were able to raise our concerns about the current proposals for the Campus site and especially the effect of the proposals on traffic congestion and air pollution in Caerleon."
Jayne was sympathetic to their views about air quality and outlined her own work on this issue. She drew particular attention to the South East Wales Transport Commission, appointed by the Welsh Government, to consider traffic congestion around Newport in the light of the decision not to build the M4 Relief Road.

Jayne stated that ‘now was a clear opportunity for the community to raise their concerns about air quality.’ The ball is in our court!!”

The CAERLEON CIVIC SOCIETY gathered together recently in the Augustan Restaurant to raise a glass to the New Year of 2020 - may it be a good one!

Thinking of joining? The Society’s AGM will be in March with a speaker TBA.

We look forward to welcoming new members.

See Caerleon Civic Society’s Facebook Page and this website for ongoing update

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