Big ideas for future of Newport
9:51am Friday 13th September 2013 in News
AMONG the people presenting their ideas yesterday at the Dragons' Den-style event was Alex Coles, who was inspired by visiting Bilbao in Spain, an industrial city now known as a vibrant centre for art with Guggenheim Museum.
He suggested a mural project "would brighten up the streets a little and educate people and I don't think it would cost too much.” Among other ideas, he also suggested ‘local heroes’ be shown in statues around the town.
Chris Evans, councillor for Rogerstone, said a mixture of long-term and short-term projects were needed. He said: “Create green spaces. It's not a revolutionary idea - people naturally gravitate to the village green.”
He added that the city council should be more proactive in facilitating rather than just regulating, saying if a new pub or cafe opened they could tell the new owners about how they can apply to put seating outside rather than just reacting negatively if it happens without prior permission.
“Proud Newportonian” Helen Beddow had several ideas for the city. She wants the "Newport. Open for business" billboards to be scrapped, arging: "They're becoming an embarrassment now".
She asked that the Friar’s Walk shopping centre be reconsidered with the focus instead of independent shops, live music venues and a foodie zone.
She wants more to be made of Newport’s ‘alternative history’, suggesting the town’s dungeons be reopened for ghost tours and adding: "Alastair Crowley was said to be disturbed by the satanic practices that went on in Tredegar House".
Martyn Butler suggested light shows on the Transporter Bridge. He said in his submission: “We need to be bold. At night it should be spectacular, and tenders should be invited to attach two invisible glass lifts on either side.”
Russell Britton said: "We need a flagship cultural offering that gives people a reason to visit Newport - new shops aren't enough."
He says the city needs a manifesto setting out a “simple vision and set of principles that everyone can get behind.”
Brian Federick suggested harnessing the tidal power of the Usk: “Let Newport be one of the first cities to harness tidal power in partnership with one of the energy companies.”
Lauren Brown was among several people to mention the Chartist Tower, suggesting it could be taken on by people in creative industries with a gallery and office space.
3D projection of local art to buildings was also raised, with panel member Ben Milsom suggesting the Charist Tower might be suitable.
Nick Theodorou discussed a technology club for young people where they could learn 3D printing, coding and what can be done with it. The panel were enthusiastic about this idea
Mr Gibson says Newport is the technology capital of Wales with a large amount of intellectual property and many employed in tech field
Joel Hughes pointed out Cardiff and Bristol have both invested heavily in their waterfronts and says we should do the same in Newport to see regeneration.
Jason Hughes suggested a maritime museum and a celebration of the city's history, leading to discussion of a barrage across the Usk allowing for a river taxi between Newport and Caerleon.
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