Newport Council mulling land sale to Celtic Manor

NEWPORT Council is mulling the sale of land to Celtic Manor for the golf resort’s future convention centre, raising £250,000 for the authority.

Officers have drawn up a report seeking approval from a cabinet member for human resources and assets to sell 25 acres of land for the development of the International Convention Centre.

The Celtic Manor Resort is due to host the NATO summit next year, which is expected to attract more than 60 world leaders and thousands of delegates.

However building of the centre is not expected to happen until after the summit is held in Wales next September, with an estimated opening date of 2016.

A council report from officers says much of the land is already leased to the Celtic Manor – including seven acres of former agricultural land and woodland currently used as part of the golf course.

A hotel has been built on part of the land to be sold.

The report says the sale will bring £250,000 into the council, although there would be a loss of £1,825 per annum from two leases that will now cease.

The Celtic Manor approached the council to purchase the freehold title to the land as described earlier this year.

It was announced in November that the Welsh Government will provide match funding for the initial stage of the International Convention Centre project.

The match funding would allow the Celtic Manor, owned by billionaire businessman Sir Terry Matthews, to apply for outline planning consent in 2014.

The convention centre, which will have a capacity for 4,000 delegates, will include a state-of-the-art auditorium, exhibition hall and other facilities.

Cabinet member for Human Resources and Assets Cllr Mark Whitcutt is expected to take a decision on the officers’ report soon.

Comments (16)

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8:12am Wed 4 Dec 13

Mervyn James says...

I'd say no, Terry Mathews is expecting to get land for next to nothing, and the Council stands to lose out in rent as well. Basically, Newport itself stands to gain nothing from this, just like the Ryder Cup and LG fiascoes. With an debt albatross of £90m to subsidise city centre too, I think the whole thing has to be stopped, if private areas want in let them pay. We are being taken for mugs by business and it has to stop. Also it is buying up green belt land, why not a conference centre IN the City of Newport ? God knows there is plenty of room for it.
I'd say no, Terry Mathews is expecting to get land for next to nothing, and the Council stands to lose out in rent as well. Basically, Newport itself stands to gain nothing from this, just like the Ryder Cup and LG fiascoes. With an debt albatross of £90m to subsidise city centre too, I think the whole thing has to be stopped, if private areas want in let them pay. We are being taken for mugs by business and it has to stop. Also it is buying up green belt land, why not a conference centre IN the City of Newport ? God knows there is plenty of room for it. Mervyn James

8:17am Wed 4 Dec 13

Lliswerry Man says...

I'd say Yes, as he is one of the only businesses locally putting more than any other back into the community with which he operates.
I'd say Yes, as he is one of the only businesses locally putting more than any other back into the community with which he operates. Lliswerry Man

9:10am Wed 4 Dec 13

fedupjon says...

I say no as well. I dont know the market value of the land but it seems cheap to me.
As for his investment into the community I am not so sure. Everything about the Celtic Manor has been to emphasise the Terry Matthews brand with little or no thought for the people of Newport
I say no as well. I dont know the market value of the land but it seems cheap to me. As for his investment into the community I am not so sure. Everything about the Celtic Manor has been to emphasise the Terry Matthews brand with little or no thought for the people of Newport fedupjon

9:29am Wed 4 Dec 13

mep says...

Besides bringing the Newport brand to the fore, the Celtic Manor employs a vast number of local people, sources much of its supplies locally, which also means more jobs. If Newport can't take advantage of the high profile events such as the Ryder Cup and the NATO Conference that is not the fault of the Celtic Manor or Sir Terry Matthews.
Besides bringing the Newport brand to the fore, the Celtic Manor employs a vast number of local people, sources much of its supplies locally, which also means more jobs. If Newport can't take advantage of the high profile events such as the Ryder Cup and the NATO Conference that is not the fault of the Celtic Manor or Sir Terry Matthews. mep

10:10am Wed 4 Dec 13

Turv01 says...

Apart from the land seeming relatively cheap (again, I don't know the market value), I question why match funding is required - Hasn't Mr Matthews got the capital to do it all himself? Or is he holding the Welsh Gov to ransom?
Apart from the land seeming relatively cheap (again, I don't know the market value), I question why match funding is required - Hasn't Mr Matthews got the capital to do it all himself? Or is he holding the Welsh Gov to ransom? Turv01

10:48am Wed 4 Dec 13

Severn40 says...

Mixed feelings. Yes the Celtic Manor is good for employment and there are some wider economic benefits. But another feeling that some individuals can dictate the future direction of Newport. Whilst this land is already being used by the Celtic Manor, there is some logic but I would worry about longer term development north west of the Coldra interchange.
Mixed feelings. Yes the Celtic Manor is good for employment and there are some wider economic benefits. But another feeling that some individuals can dictate the future direction of Newport. Whilst this land is already being used by the Celtic Manor, there is some logic but I would worry about longer term development north west of the Coldra interchange. Severn40

10:56am Wed 4 Dec 13

DavidMclean says...

fedupjon wrote:
I say no as well. I dont know the market value of the land but it seems cheap to me.
As for his investment into the community I am not so sure. Everything about the Celtic Manor has been to emphasise the Terry Matthews brand with little or no thought for the people of Newport
To be fair, Celtic Manor is a private enterprise. Terry Matthews is under no expectation or obligation to promote Newport, Wales or anything/anywhere else unless he sees fit. The Celtic Manor IS a benefit to the city, although I sometimes think too much is promised by others who see convenience or advantage in hanging off the global profile of Celtic Manor.
[quote][p][bold]fedupjon[/bold] wrote: I say no as well. I dont know the market value of the land but it seems cheap to me. As for his investment into the community I am not so sure. Everything about the Celtic Manor has been to emphasise the Terry Matthews brand with little or no thought for the people of Newport[/p][/quote]To be fair, Celtic Manor is a private enterprise. Terry Matthews is under no expectation or obligation to promote Newport, Wales or anything/anywhere else unless he sees fit. The Celtic Manor IS a benefit to the city, although I sometimes think too much is promised by others who see convenience or advantage in hanging off the global profile of Celtic Manor. DavidMclean

11:01am Wed 4 Dec 13

Mr G Went says...

So the Celtic are paying £1800 rent for it currently?
25 Acres for £150 a month... Bet the shops in the Town Center (the ones that are left) love those figures...
So the Celtic are paying £1800 rent for it currently? 25 Acres for £150 a month... Bet the shops in the Town Center (the ones that are left) love those figures... Mr G Went

11:26am Wed 4 Dec 13

NakedDancer says...

£10k per acre may be acceptable for agricultural land but would be dirt cheap for land that has planning permission for building (and theres already a hotel on part of the land).

Conversely, £1,825 per annum to lease 25 acres is a dirt cheap rent but if thats all the council can get in rent because the Celtic Manor are the only interested party it would take 136 years for the council to raise £250k so the Council would be better off selling it. The lease sounds like a rent deal the council did with Sir Terry to assure his investment - which is ok, but isn't it time to stop taxpayer funding of the Celtic Manor and use that money elsewhere ?.

Newport gets nothing from the WAG so on one level we should be grateful - though in the scale of things the WAG funding is trivial. However, if the taxpayer is putting money into a Convention Centre it should be on the banks of the River Usk (near the railway station) to bring jobs to the town centre and drive demand for the free market of hotels, shops and leisure facilities in the centre. If the Celtic Manor wants to drive demand for its hotel and leisure facilities by building a colocated Conference Centre then it should be funding it itself.
£10k per acre may be acceptable for agricultural land but would be dirt cheap for land that has planning permission for building (and theres already a hotel on part of the land). Conversely, £1,825 per annum to lease 25 acres is a dirt cheap rent but if thats all the council can get in rent because the Celtic Manor are the only interested party it would take 136 years for the council to raise £250k so the Council would be better off selling it. The lease sounds like a rent deal the council did with Sir Terry to assure his investment - which is ok, but isn't it time to stop taxpayer funding of the Celtic Manor and use that money elsewhere ?. Newport gets nothing from the WAG so on one level we should be grateful - though in the scale of things the WAG funding is trivial. However, if the taxpayer is putting money into a Convention Centre it should be on the banks of the River Usk (near the railway station) to bring jobs to the town centre and drive demand for the free market of hotels, shops and leisure facilities in the centre. If the Celtic Manor wants to drive demand for its hotel and leisure facilities by building a colocated Conference Centre then it should be funding it itself. NakedDancer

11:48am Wed 4 Dec 13

welshmen says...

Miss sold:
25 acres of land, no doubt planning wouldn't be a problem, I would have thought that 25 acres could give 200 plots for house building, even more for Multi-storey units, at about £85,000 a plot in a rural part of Gwent, at least £1.7 Million, plus 200 units @ £1850.00 Council Tax yearly £370,000.

Could have knocked quite a bit off the Friars Walk Development....Same type of bungle with an other Labour Governing body, Mr Gordon Brown, sold Gold at a knock down price so it would sell, cost the UK Billions, in my opinion no Labour Government should have the authority to sign a Cheque or for that matter never Govern us again....

An other way for the Council to get some more money in for Friars Walk, Land Banks held by House Builders in Gwent, if the house Builders don't build on those plots with planning permission, charge the House Builders a yearly Council TAX, all it takes is courage to implement the change, could be rolled out across the UK....
Miss sold: 25 acres of land, no doubt planning wouldn't be a problem, I would have thought that 25 acres could give 200 plots for house building, even more for Multi-storey units, at about £85,000 a plot in a rural part of Gwent, at least £1.7 Million, plus 200 units @ £1850.00 Council Tax yearly £370,000. Could have knocked quite a bit off the Friars Walk Development....Same type of bungle with an other Labour Governing body, Mr Gordon Brown, sold Gold at a knock down price so it would sell, cost the UK Billions, in my opinion no Labour Government should have the authority to sign a Cheque or for that matter never Govern us again.... An other way for the Council to get some more money in for Friars Walk, Land Banks held by House Builders in Gwent, if the house Builders don't build on those plots with planning permission, charge the House Builders a yearly Council TAX, all it takes is courage to implement the change, could be rolled out across the UK.... welshmen

12:21pm Wed 4 Dec 13

MERoden says...

The new convention centre sounds good, but it would have been better if it was located in the city centre.

Newport Council needs to put a stop to out of town development and encourage more new development to be in the city centre.
The new convention centre sounds good, but it would have been better if it was located in the city centre. Newport Council needs to put a stop to out of town development and encourage more new development to be in the city centre. MERoden

12:57pm Wed 4 Dec 13

Thomas O'Malley says...

MERoden wrote:
The new convention centre sounds good, but it would have been better if it was located in the city centre. Newport Council needs to put a stop to out of town development and encourage more new development to be in the city centre.
Totally agree. However, I don't think that is legal. My understanding is Planning Departments, as a principle of free competition, cannot block development unless they have specific grounds to do so and those grounds are defined by legislation. If it goes to WAG appeal then the council always loses.
[quote][p][bold]MERoden[/bold] wrote: The new convention centre sounds good, but it would have been better if it was located in the city centre. Newport Council needs to put a stop to out of town development and encourage more new development to be in the city centre.[/p][/quote]Totally agree. However, I don't think that is legal. My understanding is Planning Departments, as a principle of free competition, cannot block development unless they have specific grounds to do so and those grounds are defined by legislation. If it goes to WAG appeal then the council always loses. Thomas O'Malley

1:53pm Wed 4 Dec 13

whatintheworld says...

just continue leasing it, its MAKING money for goodness sake...
just continue leasing it, its MAKING money for goodness sake... whatintheworld

8:52pm Wed 4 Dec 13

taliesin* says...

Surely the Council are obliged to secure the best commercial land vale. Best to appoint suitably qualified Agents to value bearing in mind proposed uses and clawback on any future development. £250,000 seems a give away when you think residential is probably £1 million plus per acre.
Surely the Council are obliged to secure the best commercial land vale. Best to appoint suitably qualified Agents to value bearing in mind proposed uses and clawback on any future development. £250,000 seems a give away when you think residential is probably £1 million plus per acre. taliesin*

11:48pm Wed 4 Dec 13

scraptheWAG says...

why are the welsh goverment paying half the cost of a billionaires new project seems strange
why are the welsh goverment paying half the cost of a billionaires new project seems strange scraptheWAG

2:36pm Thu 5 Dec 13

NakedDancer says...

Most of the investment in schemes in Wales is part or wholly funded by government. The only unusual thing about that is virtually none of the WAG investment has gone to Newport. Private sector investors are wealthy organisations or occasionally wealthy individuals like Sir Terry so nothing unusual about that. In simple economics the government has to offer something to attract large scale investment and the investor obviously wants to maximise their return on investment. It is unwise to criticise anyone that wants to invest in the area. The question is only whether this particular scheme is the best use of taxpayer money. I'd be very happy with the scheme if it was in the city centre but not at the Celtic Manor site.
Most of the investment in schemes in Wales is part or wholly funded by government. The only unusual thing about that is virtually none of the WAG investment has gone to Newport. Private sector investors are wealthy organisations or occasionally wealthy individuals like Sir Terry so nothing unusual about that. In simple economics the government has to offer something to attract large scale investment and the investor obviously wants to maximise their return on investment. It is unwise to criticise anyone that wants to invest in the area. The question is only whether this particular scheme is the best use of taxpayer money. I'd be very happy with the scheme if it was in the city centre but not at the Celtic Manor site. NakedDancer

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