DEVELOPMENT of a convention centre at the Celtic Manor Resort could bring £70million per year to the South East Wales economy.

That’s the figure given by Russell Phillips, vice-president facilities and development, speaking at a community meeting for Caerleon on Monday.

The expansion of the resort could see party political conferences, corporate and international conferences and music events held regularly at the Celtic Manor, which is already preparing for the NATO summit in September.

A three-storey car park would be built on the site of the existing car park, as well as a new bridge over the M4 which could replace the existing bridge or be built alongside it.

If planning permission for the new development is granted, the resort could accommodate more than 3,000 delegates per conference, Mr Phillips said.

An outline planning application is due to be submitted in April, with full planning permission sought at the end of the year if that is successful, with a view to starting work in spring 2015.

Bosses at the Celtic Manor hope to see the new convention centre in action by 2018.

The Celtic Manor Resort had full planning permission for a convention centre in 2000 and had even started to put in foundations, but the economic downturn meant plans had to be put on hold.

“A number of existing customers have outgrown the resort,” Mr Phillips said, adding they were losing custom to London, Manchester, Birmingham and other UK cities.

He estimated it would cost between £40million and £60million to construct.

Mr Phillips said: “There will be a number of trees that need to come down, but that will be minimal.”

He told residents a new car park would be landscaped and not obtrusive.

The hotel already has a workforce of 750 permanent staff with 300 seasonal workers, 90 per cent of whom are from the Newport area, Mr Phillips said.

He estimated the hotel currently pays out £25million per year into the Newport postcode in salaries and contracts with regular suppliers.

The amount spent on preparations for the Ryder Cup was £24million, he said, with almost everything sourced locally – with the exception of irrigation.