Anger over anti-Nato 'peace camp' planned in Pill

Pill residents against peace camp at Pill Mill. Residents and Pill Councillors Ibrahim Hayat and Omar Ali speak out against the proposed Peace Camp in City Centre park. (9158650)

Pill residents against peace camp at Pill Mill. Residents and Pill Councillors Ibrahim Hayat and Omar Ali speak out against the proposed Peace Camp in City Centre park. (9158650)

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PILL community centre volunteers say Nato protesters booked a venue initially claiming it was for a “family fun day” – with no mention of a camp potentially accommodating thousands of of people.

No decision has yet been made on who will pay for toilet facilities and water at the camp, so taxpayers could end up footing some or all of the bill.

Meanwhile, Newport West’s conservative candidate for next year’s general election Nick Webb has written an open letter to Newport City Council asking why protesters would be camping out in Pill - protesters say they will be there between August 29 and September 6.

Volunteers said Wales Green Party leader Pippa Bartolotti booked the Pill Millennium Centre for four days, originally for a family fun day.

Staff said the original booking was extended from one to two to three to four days for a conference on the understanding the centre was booked for a Green Party event, with restrictions of up to 50 people due to the safety capacity of the room they had booked.

It has now emerged that protesters plan to camp on Pill Park next to the centre, with numbers still unclear.

Tracey Holyoake, a trustee of the centre, said: “[Pippa] was emailed on August 7 and told we believed she had mislead the Pill Mill and the community as she had booked a room for a conference and family fun day. At no point was there any mention of a camp on our fields or the vast scale of this. She has played a very clever part here, so much so not even our local councillors were aware. It’s very shocking.”

A final decision on whether the ‘alternative summit’ could take place at the centre will be taken at a public meeting at 8pm at the Pill Mill tonight (TUES), she said.

“No money has changed hands and she has not completed our terms and conditions form, neither has she signed our booking form,” Ms Holyoake said.

The centre may close entirely if protesters camp outside due to safety concerns.

Ms Holyoake said: “We have got many local football and rugby teams that use the playing fields. It’s the only area for children to play. Our kids are going to be at risk.”

Pillgwenlly councillor Ibrahim Hayat said he had not been consulted about the peace camp: “There might be rubbish left behind – it’s a huge operation. We just can’t afford to have it in our area. We weren’t approached by anybody. We only found out on Thursday and we arranged an emergency meeting.”

In his open letter to Newport council leader Cllr Bob Bright, Mr Webb asks the council to explain who was consulted, what engagement there had been with residents, whether people will be compensated for the loss of public space during the peace camp period, what requirements there will be regarding noise pollution and clearing the site after use, what penalties there will be for non-compliance, how much it will cost and whether protesters were being encouraged to shop locally.

He said he had not yet received a response.

But anti-Nato campaigners insisted the camp would cause a minimum of disruption and said they had tried to consult local people.

Merel Prescott, from No NATO Newport, said: “We wanted to ensure that the peace campaigners spent time in Newport, that Newport could for once be in the spotlight, that local businesses benefited and that the community had events that they could attend, rather than Newport being sold down the river again and everything happening in Cardiff.”

She added a central location meant the least impact on traffic.

But she said: “I think in hindsight that we should definitely have called a public meeting in Pill before agreeing with anything with the Council or the Police. We were wrong in that, but forgive us, we have never organised anything on this scale before.

“I assure you that we did not intend to upset or offend anyone and that if, at the end of the day, the residents of Pill do not want us there, then I will strongly recommend to No Nato Newport that we change location and hold the camp elsewhere, probably in a less populated area.”

The camp would be a drug and alcohol free zone and protesters would hold a clean-up session every morning, she said.

Pippa Bartolotti said she was currently on holiday in Germany so was not aware of concerns raised.

“We have been in dialogue with Pill Mill for a long time. The support was 100 per cent so I don’t know what’s happened. We are not expecting to use the actual sports fields - that’s an overflow.

She added: “We were holding things at Pill Mill anyway so it was a logical decision.

“What I don’t want is our city being overrun by people with nowhere to stay. I want our visitors to be welcomed where they can spend money, which nobody up at the Celtic Manor will.”

The only other location considered was Tredegar House which was rejected because it was too far out of town, she said.

“We discussed with the council what would be best managed by them. They had the chance to say no. To be fair to the council, they would rather nothing was happening at all. They washed their hands of the whole thing.”

Ms Bartolotti said she had booked a room for up to 200 people at the Pill Mill but was not aware of how many protesters would turn up at the camp as a whole, adding past sites had ranged from a dozen to 800.

Volunteers at the Pill Mill would have been aware of the Nato connection as it said so on the agenda, she said.

“To put my hand on my heart, I would have mentioned it but I really can’t remember the conversation right now. I would have said we are having quite a few people come to the peace camp.

“There isn’t going to be anymore disruption than NATO itself is going to cause.”

The fields were not owned by the Pill Mill, she said, adding the council had refused other venues such as the Newport Centre and the Riverfront.

A spokeswoman for the council said: “Newport City Council would like to make it clear that anti-Nato campaigners have not asked for permission to use the playing fields for a peace camp.

“While we recognise that people have a legitimate right to protest, we understand the concerns of residents about the playing fields which are widely used by the community so the council is working with partner agencies and taking steps to mitigate the potential impact.

“We met with community representatives to discuss the situation but must emphasise it is being created by the protestors, not the council, so it was not a consultation. The council has certainly not given a “commitment” to hold a peace camp in Pill.”

A spokeswoman for 10 Downing Street said decisions regarding a protest camp “have been made locally.”

Comments (29)

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7:29pm Mon 11 Aug 14

john.hall1000 says...

Probably Newport will be remembered for all the wrong reasons! .
Probably Newport will be remembered for all the wrong reasons! . john.hall1000
  • Score: 4

7:33pm Mon 11 Aug 14

KarloMarko says...

"Hey you, what's that sound,, ?" The certain sound of bucks being passed. NATO organises a major strategic conference in Wales, it is welcomed with open arms and church bells by all levels of government, 9000 cops are allocated for security and to contain many or equal thousands of protesters. ..and no-one stops to address where these anticipated protesters will stay until now ? Really? Wasn't that part of the essential planning process? Its security planning? The logistics of even deciding to locate the Nato Fest here in the first place? And this is the Nato that polices the world order? It's almost as if it welcomes this chaos. Surely not.
"Hey you, what's that sound,, ?" The certain sound of bucks being passed. NATO organises a major strategic conference in Wales, it is welcomed with open arms and church bells by all levels of government, 9000 cops are allocated for security and to contain many or equal thousands of protesters. ..and no-one stops to address where these anticipated protesters will stay until now ? Really? Wasn't that part of the essential planning process? Its security planning? The logistics of even deciding to locate the Nato Fest here in the first place? And this is the Nato that polices the world order? It's almost as if it welcomes this chaos. Surely not. KarloMarko
  • Score: 5

7:54pm Mon 11 Aug 14

bodlondon says...

KarloMarko wrote:
"Hey you, what's that sound,, ?" The certain sound of bucks being passed. NATO organises a major strategic conference in Wales, it is welcomed with open arms and church bells by all levels of government, 9000 cops are allocated for security and to contain many or equal thousands of protesters. ..and no-one stops to address where these anticipated protesters will stay until now ? Really? Wasn't that part of the essential planning process? Its security planning? The logistics of even deciding to locate the Nato Fest here in the first place? And this is the Nato that polices the world order? It's almost as if it welcomes this chaos. Surely not.
"Hey you, what's that sound,, ?"

The sound of rats, scurrying around....

Pippa going with plausable denial and "I can't remember as I've had too much liebfraumilch"
Council denying they said "go ahead, it's only Pill"

Staff at the Pill Mill are the ones I feel sorry for - they took a booking in good faith and were sold a patsy

Good to see Ibrahim has finally come out of hiding, thought he had forgotten where Pill was....
[quote][p][bold]KarloMarko[/bold] wrote: "Hey you, what's that sound,, ?" The certain sound of bucks being passed. NATO organises a major strategic conference in Wales, it is welcomed with open arms and church bells by all levels of government, 9000 cops are allocated for security and to contain many or equal thousands of protesters. ..and no-one stops to address where these anticipated protesters will stay until now ? Really? Wasn't that part of the essential planning process? Its security planning? The logistics of even deciding to locate the Nato Fest here in the first place? And this is the Nato that polices the world order? It's almost as if it welcomes this chaos. Surely not.[/p][/quote]"Hey you, what's that sound,, ?" The sound of rats, scurrying around.... Pippa going with plausable denial and "I can't remember as I've had too much liebfraumilch" Council denying they said "go ahead, it's only Pill" Staff at the Pill Mill are the ones I feel sorry for - they took a booking in good faith and were sold a patsy Good to see Ibrahim has finally come out of hiding, thought he had forgotten where Pill was.... bodlondon
  • Score: 6

7:55pm Mon 11 Aug 14

grumpyandopinionated says...

Well it would have been planned, just they kept Joe public in the dark until the final hour as usual so we have to like it or lump it. Just remember how labour and conservatives have treated us over the years and vote for a different party. If your not prepared to do this then I suggest that you all stop whining about the way the gov both local and national make decisions and bend over and take it.
Well it would have been planned, just they kept Joe public in the dark until the final hour as usual so we have to like it or lump it. Just remember how labour and conservatives have treated us over the years and vote for a different party. If your not prepared to do this then I suggest that you all stop whining about the way the gov both local and national make decisions and bend over and take it. grumpyandopinionated
  • Score: -6

8:04pm Mon 11 Aug 14

GardenVarietyMushroom says...

Not to put too fine a point on it but I suspect that most of the younger people of Pill are all for it.
Not to put too fine a point on it but I suspect that most of the younger people of Pill are all for it. GardenVarietyMushroom
  • Score: -10

8:08pm Mon 11 Aug 14

Katie Re-Registered says...

Since they all believe in peace I guess parents can feel free to let their children play in the park as normal because after all the adults there believe in love not war;) On that note, let's clear up one thing shall we: yes, there is a photo on the internet of Pippa Bartolotti waving the Syrian Socialist Nationalist flag. Don't have nightmares though kiddies, because the organization that Pippa is promoting is not the same as the national socialists - because these are clearly the socialist nationalists. Totally different, see:)
Since they all believe in peace I guess parents can feel free to let their children play in the park as normal because after all the adults there believe in love not war;) On that note, let's clear up one thing shall we: yes, there is a photo on the internet of Pippa Bartolotti waving the Syrian Socialist Nationalist flag. Don't have nightmares though kiddies, because the organization that Pippa is promoting is not the same as the national socialists - because these are clearly the socialist nationalists. Totally different, see:) Katie Re-Registered
  • Score: -5

8:26pm Mon 11 Aug 14

Mr Angry says...

The Minister of State responsible for Policing is The Rt Hon Mike Penning MP, Conservative MP for Hemel Hempstead. Being MP for Hemel Hempstead makes him fully qualified to control Policing in Newport South Wales.
The Minister of State responsible for Policing is The Rt Hon Mike Penning MP, Conservative MP for Hemel Hempstead. Being MP for Hemel Hempstead makes him fully qualified to control Policing in Newport South Wales. Mr Angry
  • Score: 6

8:28pm Mon 11 Aug 14

KarloMarko says...

Anyone who has had any experience of "organising" anything even very well short of this scale of protest knows its a nightmare. Without knocking the Welsh Greens and Ms.B, they have problems even organising a local canvas. I hope she's not going to carry the can' for any wider foul ups. The Council, whose turf this is, seem oblivious to what may be about to happen. They want the profile, the stage, so start making some noise....its been official dripfeed all the way.
Anyone who has had any experience of "organising" anything even very well short of this scale of protest knows its a nightmare. Without knocking the Welsh Greens and Ms.B, they have problems even organising a local canvas. I hope she's not going to carry the can' for any wider foul ups. The Council, whose turf this is, seem oblivious to what may be about to happen. They want the profile, the stage, so start making some noise....its been official dripfeed all the way. KarloMarko
  • Score: 3

9:57pm Mon 11 Aug 14

Thomas O'Malley says...

GardenVarietyMushroo
m
wrote:
Not to put too fine a point on it but I suspect that most of the younger people of Pill are all for it.
Why ?
[quote][p][bold]GardenVarietyMushroo m[/bold] wrote: Not to put too fine a point on it but I suspect that most of the younger people of Pill are all for it.[/p][/quote]Why ? Thomas O'Malley
  • Score: 3

10:04pm Mon 11 Aug 14

rmh1989 says...

always some idiots trying to cause problems for everyone!
always some idiots trying to cause problems for everyone! rmh1989
  • Score: -1

11:28pm Mon 11 Aug 14

mikewelsh says...

Think about it. Its a strategic plan all along, you put the protesters as far away from the Celtic Manor as possible, without causing any disruption to Motorway traffic en route, hence choice, Pill. The protesters wont get anywhere near the Nato Meeting. Nearest they will get will be, Corpo rd, Chepstow rd or Caerleon rd.
Think about it. Its a strategic plan all along, you put the protesters as far away from the Celtic Manor as possible, without causing any disruption to Motorway traffic en route, hence choice, Pill. The protesters wont get anywhere near the Nato Meeting. Nearest they will get will be, Corpo rd, Chepstow rd or Caerleon rd. mikewelsh
  • Score: 4

7:31am Tue 12 Aug 14

arjwain says...

WHY CAN'T THEY USE THE FIELD BY LLANWERN ..BIG FIELD THERE WERE THE PUB BURNT DOWN ..OUT OF THE WAY AND NOT DISRUPTING ANYONE . SHOPS DOWN THE ROAD FOR THERE FOOD ..
WHY CAN'T THEY USE THE FIELD BY LLANWERN ..BIG FIELD THERE WERE THE PUB BURNT DOWN ..OUT OF THE WAY AND NOT DISRUPTING ANYONE . SHOPS DOWN THE ROAD FOR THERE FOOD .. arjwain
  • Score: 7

7:51am Tue 12 Aug 14

Woodgnome says...

It's a pity Ms Bartolotti and NCC don't put residents first. That's what they are elected for - not to advance their own pet projects.
It's a pity Ms Bartolotti and NCC don't put residents first. That's what they are elected for - not to advance their own pet projects. Woodgnome
  • Score: 14

8:32am Tue 12 Aug 14

Paxman's Army says...

Family fun day? Oh Pippa. I'm so ashamed.
Family fun day? Oh Pippa. I'm so ashamed. Paxman's Army
  • Score: 3

9:15am Tue 12 Aug 14

blackandamber says...

Funny how the Peace protesters are protesting against NATO who have kept the peace in Europe for the last 70 years.
Funny how the Peace protesters are protesting against NATO who have kept the peace in Europe for the last 70 years. blackandamber
  • Score: 4

9:16am Tue 12 Aug 14

Dai Rear says...

"The camp would be a drug and alcohol free zone and protesters would hold a clean-up session every morning, she said"
Oh, just like the Boom Town Fair at Winchester. That's alright then.
Actually best solution 3 or 4 people with DWP armbands and cameras. Watch the hairy smellies evaporate.
"The camp would be a drug and alcohol free zone and protesters would hold a clean-up session every morning, she said" Oh, just like the Boom Town Fair at Winchester. That's alright then. Actually best solution 3 or 4 people with DWP armbands and cameras. Watch the hairy smellies evaporate. Dai Rear
  • Score: 0

9:52am Tue 12 Aug 14

KarloMarko says...

MONOMANIA : Illness especially when limited in expression to one idea or area of thought/excessive concentration on a single object or idea. See also "Daily Mail"
MONOMANIA : Illness especially when limited in expression to one idea or area of thought/excessive concentration on a single object or idea. See also "Daily Mail" KarloMarko
  • Score: -1

10:04am Tue 12 Aug 14

Dai Rear says...

KarloMarko wrote:
MONOMANIA : Illness especially when limited in expression to one idea or area of thought/excessive concentration on a single object or idea. See also "Daily Mail"
And indeed "Guardian" So good to know you, like me, are a Daily Sport fanatic, Marks & Sparks.
[quote][p][bold]KarloMarko[/bold] wrote: MONOMANIA : Illness especially when limited in expression to one idea or area of thought/excessive concentration on a single object or idea. See also "Daily Mail"[/p][/quote]And indeed "Guardian" So good to know you, like me, are a Daily Sport fanatic, Marks & Sparks. Dai Rear
  • Score: 0

10:23am Tue 12 Aug 14

DaiiWatkins says...

Talk about showing our "good side"
Talk about showing our "good side" DaiiWatkins
  • Score: 0

12:02pm Tue 12 Aug 14

Dai Rear says...

Mr Angry wrote:
The Minister of State responsible for Policing is The Rt Hon Mike Penning MP, Conservative MP for Hemel Hempstead. Being MP for Hemel Hempstead makes him fully qualified to control Policing in Newport South Wales.
It's worse than that Mr Angry: Andrew Selous MP has never been banged up by HM Prison Service, yet he's Prisons Minister!
[quote][p][bold]Mr Angry[/bold] wrote: The Minister of State responsible for Policing is The Rt Hon Mike Penning MP, Conservative MP for Hemel Hempstead. Being MP for Hemel Hempstead makes him fully qualified to control Policing in Newport South Wales.[/p][/quote]It's worse than that Mr Angry: Andrew Selous MP has never been banged up by HM Prison Service, yet he's Prisons Minister! Dai Rear
  • Score: 0

1:08pm Tue 12 Aug 14

mikewelsh says...

arjwain wrote:
WHY CAN'T THEY USE THE FIELD BY LLANWERN ..BIG FIELD THERE WERE THE PUB BURNT DOWN ..OUT OF THE WAY AND NOT DISRUPTING ANYONE . SHOPS DOWN THE ROAD FOR THERE FOOD ..
To near to the Celtic Manor.
[quote][p][bold]arjwain[/bold] wrote: WHY CAN'T THEY USE THE FIELD BY LLANWERN ..BIG FIELD THERE WERE THE PUB BURNT DOWN ..OUT OF THE WAY AND NOT DISRUPTING ANYONE . SHOPS DOWN THE ROAD FOR THERE FOOD ..[/p][/quote]To near to the Celtic Manor. mikewelsh
  • Score: -1

1:13pm Tue 12 Aug 14

mikewelsh says...

arjwain wrote:
WHY CAN'T THEY USE THE FIELD BY LLANWERN ..BIG FIELD THERE WERE THE PUB BURNT DOWN ..OUT OF THE WAY AND NOT DISRUPTING ANYONE . SHOPS DOWN THE ROAD FOR THERE FOOD ..
Its to near to the Celtic Manor
[quote][p][bold]arjwain[/bold] wrote: WHY CAN'T THEY USE THE FIELD BY LLANWERN ..BIG FIELD THERE WERE THE PUB BURNT DOWN ..OUT OF THE WAY AND NOT DISRUPTING ANYONE . SHOPS DOWN THE ROAD FOR THERE FOOD ..[/p][/quote]Its to near to the Celtic Manor mikewelsh
  • Score: 0

1:33pm Tue 12 Aug 14

arjwain says...

mikewelsh wrote:
arjwain wrote:
WHY CAN'T THEY USE THE FIELD BY LLANWERN ..BIG FIELD THERE WERE THE PUB BURNT DOWN ..OUT OF THE WAY AND NOT DISRUPTING ANYONE . SHOPS DOWN THE ROAD FOR THERE FOOD ..
Its to near to the Celtic Manor
thought that would be a good thing ..not so far to walk :)
although not up on all this NATO stuff ..all a waste of time just an excuse for a few millionaires to talk ..( swear word deleted )
[quote][p][bold]mikewelsh[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]arjwain[/bold] wrote: WHY CAN'T THEY USE THE FIELD BY LLANWERN ..BIG FIELD THERE WERE THE PUB BURNT DOWN ..OUT OF THE WAY AND NOT DISRUPTING ANYONE . SHOPS DOWN THE ROAD FOR THERE FOOD ..[/p][/quote]Its to near to the Celtic Manor[/p][/quote]thought that would be a good thing ..not so far to walk :) although not up on all this NATO stuff ..all a waste of time just an excuse for a few millionaires to talk ..( swear word deleted ) arjwain
  • Score: -2

2:14pm Tue 12 Aug 14

grandmammamia says...

The centre would be quite in the right to now cancel the booking, since it was made under false representation.
Pippa's response is disingenuous, to say the least and highly suspect.

As to the rest, I agree. Set it up at the Celtic Manor.
The centre would be quite in the right to now cancel the booking, since it was made under false representation. Pippa's response is disingenuous, to say the least and highly suspect. As to the rest, I agree. Set it up at the Celtic Manor. grandmammamia
  • Score: 3

2:36pm Tue 12 Aug 14

Frankfurt says...

Woodgnome wrote:
It's a pity Ms Bartolotti and NCC don't put residents first. That's what they are elected for - not to advance their own pet projects.
I don't recall Ms Bartolotti being elected to anything. Not the Council nor the WAG nor parliament
[quote][p][bold]Woodgnome[/bold] wrote: It's a pity Ms Bartolotti and NCC don't put residents first. That's what they are elected for - not to advance their own pet projects.[/p][/quote]I don't recall Ms Bartolotti being elected to anything. Not the Council nor the WAG nor parliament Frankfurt
  • Score: 5

3:06pm Tue 12 Aug 14

KarloMarko says...

Must have missed the big vote on Nato coming to Newport...when was that then? Postal ballot or just Terry Matthew's bankers ticking the box
and counting the coin? A big turn out was there when they decided to close all the local schools and access? Or just a "mumble mustn't grumble" from the Council? Democracy, so good its rationed.
Must have missed the big vote on Nato coming to Newport...when was that then? Postal ballot or just Terry Matthew's bankers ticking the box and counting the coin? A big turn out was there when they decided to close all the local schools and access? Or just a "mumble mustn't grumble" from the Council? Democracy, so good its rationed. KarloMarko
  • Score: 1

3:14pm Tue 12 Aug 14

Stevenboy says...

arjwain wrote:
mikewelsh wrote:
arjwain wrote:
WHY CAN'T THEY USE THE FIELD BY LLANWERN ..BIG FIELD THERE WERE THE PUB BURNT DOWN ..OUT OF THE WAY AND NOT DISRUPTING ANYONE . SHOPS DOWN THE ROAD FOR THERE FOOD ..
Its to near to the Celtic Manor
thought that would be a good thing ..not so far to walk :)
although not up on all this NATO stuff ..all a waste of time just an excuse for a few millionaires to talk ..( swear word deleted )
'all a waste of time just an excuse for a few millionaires to talk'

A bit like the Shadow Cabinet.
[quote][p][bold]arjwain[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]mikewelsh[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]arjwain[/bold] wrote: WHY CAN'T THEY USE THE FIELD BY LLANWERN ..BIG FIELD THERE WERE THE PUB BURNT DOWN ..OUT OF THE WAY AND NOT DISRUPTING ANYONE . SHOPS DOWN THE ROAD FOR THERE FOOD ..[/p][/quote]Its to near to the Celtic Manor[/p][/quote]thought that would be a good thing ..not so far to walk :) although not up on all this NATO stuff ..all a waste of time just an excuse for a few millionaires to talk ..( swear word deleted )[/p][/quote]'all a waste of time just an excuse for a few millionaires to talk' A bit like the Shadow Cabinet. Stevenboy
  • Score: 1

8:36am Wed 13 Aug 14

Jack Land says...

Perhaps they decided to put it in pill because then the 'campers' would be so worried about leaving their stuff unattended whilst they go off protesting for the day, they won't leave the camp at all?
Perhaps they decided to put it in pill because then the 'campers' would be so worried about leaving their stuff unattended whilst they go off protesting for the day, they won't leave the camp at all? Jack Land
  • Score: 2

11:58am Thu 14 Aug 14

lemonadey66 says...

Am very relieved to know the camp is not settling in a residential area. I would have thought that Coronation park would be a viable option as then Newport could make extra revenue by folks using the transporter bridge. The bridge could open for longer hours which would then pay for the bridge workers. Also the camp could then party away without disturbing residents .
Am very relieved to know the camp is not settling in a residential area. I would have thought that Coronation park would be a viable option as then Newport could make extra revenue by folks using the transporter bridge. The bridge could open for longer hours which would then pay for the bridge workers. Also the camp could then party away without disturbing residents . lemonadey66
  • Score: 0

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