PLANS for a new conference centre in Newport that could serve as many as 3,000 delegates are set for the green light at a Newport council meeting next week.

Officers have recommended that the Celtic Manor Resort’s application for outline planning permission to build the so-called Wales International Conference Centre be granted with conditions.

It’s now up to councillors on the council planning committee, who will need to consider objections from the Gwent Wildlife Trust and other worries over the traffic impact on nearby roads, to decide on the application.

Officers said the proposed development is considered to be acceptable in principle, with clear economic benefits to South East Wales, as were issues of biodiversity and traffic impact.

It aims to be a world-class conference centre, complete with multi-storey car park, that would generate more than 100,000 bedroom nights per year. Most of these would need to be accommodated off-site, with the Celtic Manor Resort only capable of accommodating 20,000 a year.

Edwina Hart, business minister, announced in November that the initial stage of the project will be match-funded by the Welsh Government. Construction of the centre is expected to take two years.

According to a report going to the meeting of the planning committee next Wednesday, Gwent Wildlife Trust has objected to the plans on the grounds that they’d result in the loss of ancient semi-natural woodland.

The environmental charity said its greatest concern was at the loss of 1.2 hectares of Coldra Wood, claiming mitigation for the loss of habitat didn’t meet criteria guidelines.

In a worst-case scenario the centre would generate 500 trips per hour between 8am and 10am and 4pm and 6pm, but only when there are major events when the facility is fully occupied.

Head of Streetscene Phil Matley is concerned that however expressed concerns that proposed full-time traffic lights on the bridge over the M4 that accessing the site could create more problems than it solves, due to queuing issues.