UPDATE: Tredegar Park will be the new location of an anti-Nato ‘peace camp’, campaigners say.Joyce Giblin and Edward Clarke, from No Nato Newport, said the decision was made this afternoon after a meeting with representatives from Newport City Council, police and the fire brigade.
After site visits to both Tredegar Park off Cardiff Road and Coronation Park near Somerton, the former was chosen as a suitable location.
Mr Clarke said this was preferable to the planned camp on Pill playing fields as there was “much more space” and the park was not as close to houses.
“We will not be encroaching on any of the park amenities,” he said. “It’s ideal in that sense.”
He said Pill playing fields were no longer under consideration: “We have sent out emails to everybody we invited, from many, many different groups in this country and abroad. We told them Pill is not the site and they should await further instructions.
“I do believe a solution has been reached.”
UPDATE: Protesters have cancelled plans to camp on Pill playing fields for the duration of September’s Nato summit and are currently on site visits to Coronation Park and Tredegar Park to consider alternatives, a campaigner said.
Joyce Giblin from ‘No Nato Newport’ said she and other campaigners met council officers and representatives from the police and the fire brigade at the Civic Centre this afternoon.
She said protesters would be putting the word out that Pill playing fields were not an appropriate place to camp.
“We will never involve the fields by Pill Millenium Centre”, she said. “That’s completely out. Anyone to do with CND or Greenpeace – there’s no way anybody will go on that site. If people want to go there they would have nothing to do with us and we would be very angry.”
This follows an impassioned public meeting at Pill Millennium Centre on Tuesday night when residents said the park, used by sports teams and local children in a residential area, was unsuitable for potentially 1000s of protesters to set up camp.
A spokesperson for the umbrella group ‘No Nato Newport’ posted on Facebook today: “There will be no peace camp in Pill by any of us.”
Campaigners are now scouting new sites - Newport council has not given them permission to be on any of its sites.
Mrs Giblin said: “A few people have gone to do a site visit to two proposed sites: Coronation Park and Tredegar Park.”
She said other sites including the Glebelands and Belle Vue Park had been ruled out by campaigners due to concerns about accessibility and water supplies.
A decision on the new location has not yet been made.
A Newport council spokeswoman said: "The council and partners have today met again with individual protesters regarding their intentions to hold a peace camp in Newport.
"They confirmed that they no longer intend to use Pill playing fields and a number of council-owned sites were raised by the protestors for discussion. They are still unclear of their intentions, are continuing to explore options and have committed to come back to the council with their preferences.
"Although the council were made aware some time ago of a general intention of holding a camp somewhere in Newport, no further details such as locations were provided. The first time that protesters announced their plans to locate a camp in Pill was at a meeting on July 27 which was being held to discuss protest marches in the city.
"The council asked if they would consider alternatives, but at no time made specific recommendations. The protester group at the time stated they would not be looking at other possible sites.
"The council have made clear at every stage that they have no legal duty to provide a camp. However, the priority for the council is to protect Newport citizens and property and we will continue to liaise with the protesters and consider the measures we can put in place to minimise possible disruption or damage."
A PROPOSED ‘peace camp’ set up by anti-NATO campaigners will no longer be pitched in Pill, a tweeter from No Nato Newport has claimed.
With three weeks to go until the summit at the Celtic Manor, the location of a ‘peace camp’ is still unclear.
When asked by Argus editor Kevin Ward if protesters still intended to camp on the Pill playing fields used by several local sports teams, the ‘No Nato Newport’ tweeter said: “No, Pill site was always unsuitable.”
It is not clear if the spokesperson is speaking on behalf of the whole group or not, so others could still intend to camp on the fields.
The anonymous person tweeting today from the ‘No Nato Newport’ account said the original decision to camp in Pill was made because the “council, in consultation with police were willing to facilitate toilets and water there.”
They said: “There will be a peace camp in Newport to confront NATO. The location is to be confirmed.”
At a public meeting at Pill Millennium Centre last night, campaigner Merel Prescott said she would no longer be camping in Pill but could not speak for others in the umbrella group ‘No Nato Newport’.
Chairwoman of the Pill Mill Tracey Holyoake said last night that the centre would close if protesters camped outside.
Meanwhile Rogerstone councillor Chris Evans said the issue of how to accommodate protesters “could have been dealt with better”.
“Newport is one of the birthplaces of modern democracy. We respect people's right to voice their opinions, and, let's remember, protesters need to eat too. Let's help put everyone's pounds in local traders’ tills.
As Paul Flynn has said, Pill isn't the right spot for a peace camp but what I won't endorse is protestors being kettled into some field in god knows where.
“We needed to embrace the challenges and also the golden opportunity Nato Wales presented from the start.
“We could have turned the whole protest thing into a 'festival of ideas' for example, embracing all opinions.”