THE controversial peace camp at Pill Mill looks set to not go ahead after a lively meeting at the community centre last night.

Both Pill Mill chairman Tracey Holyoake and peace campaigner Merel Prescott said the peace camp will not go ahead, but neither represent umbrella protest group No Nato Newport.

Around 150 residents turned up for the heated meeting, with many targeting Sheila Davies of Newport City Council, who was among a panel, for not being consulted about the plans.

But the evening came to a confusing end, with no-one taking responsibility for the camp and whether any protestors will turn up.

The meeting was called at Pill Mill after a row broke out over the proposed peace camp earlier this week.

Pill community centre volunteers said protestors had booked the venue claiming it was for a family fun day, with no mention of a camp accommodating potentially thousands of people.

Green Party leader Pippa Bartolotti, who is currently on holiday and could not attend the meeting, said she was clear about the booking for an ‘alternative summit’ from the outset.

A panel including peace campaigner Merel Prescott, councillors Bob Poole, Ray Truman, Ibrahim Hayat and Omar Ali, Ms Davies, Father Edward Mathias-Jones of St Stephens Church, and chairman of Pill Mill Ms Holyoake took questions from rowdy members of the crowd.

On several occasions shouting broke out, with interruptions during a number of speeches.

Gwent Police Superintendent Mark Warrender began proceedings by giving background information on the summit.

But he too was interrupted by a member of the public saying he did not come to meeting to hear about the police operation and he wanted to know why campaigners were planning to camp in Pill.

Newport City Council was said to have previously met with umbrella group No Nato Newport to discuss the camp and whether they can provide toilet and water facilities.

Ms Davies, of Newport City Council, was among those who was interrupted multiple times while she was speaking at the meeting.

Peace campaigner Ms Prescott said: “I love the people of Pill. I will not have anything to do with a peace camp being set up on your fields.”

Councillor Ibrahim Hayat said: "Merel said herself that she won’t be coming but she can't guarantee others won't be."

Father Mathias-Jones, of St Stephen Church, said after an hour and half no-one was any the wiser who is responsible.

He added: “My proposal is come to Newport, have your protest but for god’s sake don’t come to a residential area and for god’s sake will whoever is in charge make sure it’s not in a residential area.”

Joyce Giblin, a supporter of No Nato Newport, spoke out against the council.

She allegedNewport City Council knew of the plans in June and that No Nato Newport had spoken with the council’s solicitors in a bid to make the camp legitimate.

Ms Davies said that the council did not know about the camp that early.

But Ms Giblin said something needed to be done, as protesters were coming from across Europe and needed somewhere to stay.


Watch video from the meeting on the Argus Facebook site