A CONFERENCE centre promising as many as 300 new jobs for Newport got the green light from members of the city council's planning committee yesterday.

The Wales International Conference Centre at the Celtic Manor Resort, which could serve events with as many as 3,000 delegates, is to be granted outline planning permission with conditions following the decision on Wednesday.

Members were urged to embrace the chance to fill a gap in the market amid mooted plans in Cardiff and Bristol, with the venue likely to be able to host major political conferences as well as music events.

Celtic Manor Vice-president for facilities and development Russell Phillips told the committee that the Celtic Manor currently employs around 800 people full time but that the convention centre could create more than 150 new permanent jobs.

He said that the Celtic has around 300 casual staff but that the convention centre could add in excess of 150 such posts.

Mr Phillips said the resort spends around £23 million pounds within the NP postcode but with the convention centre this could increase to £30 million.

He said that conference centres had been proposed in Cardiff and Bristol, but that an independent study said there was only room for one in the market place.

Committee chairman Councillor Paul Hannon said: “This is a red letter day for Newport.

“There’s no doubt that when these proposals go ahead we will have a world class convention centre here in our city.”

“The people that will be coming, a whole range of different associations, industries, professions, individuals - they will be bringing with them a wealth of different experiences and very often will be coming to Newport for

the very first time,” he said.

Gwent Wildlife Trust had expressed concerns that the plans would result in the loss of ancient semi-natural woodland.

However the trust has said that it believes its objections can be overcome at the detailed application stage. Mitigation measures have been proposed.

Ringland Cllr Malcolm Linton said he welcomed the conference centre, but asked if there would be more developments encroaching into nearby woodland at the Celtic Manor.

After the meeting Cllr Linton called for the Celtic to attend a meeting in the estate to discuss the development and employment opportunities for people in the area.

David Fouweather, Allt-yr-yn Tory councillor, added: “There is a gap in the market and we in Newport need to grab it, take it and work with it.”