9:16am Monday 9th July 2012
By Alison Sanders
HUNDREDS of houses could be built on the site of a former metal plant.
Land at the former Novelis site in Rogerstone has been empty since the factory closed in 2009.
But the new owners of the site, who bought it in March, are looking into how they can regenerate it.
Walters Land (Rogerstone) Limited, part of the Aberdare based Walters Group, says the site has significant potential for regeneration.
The factory was demolished last year and technical assessments are now being carried out on the land, looking at things such as the ecology and local infrastructure.
A masterplan will then be created which the owners say is likely to focus on the potential for houses, a new primary school, open space and community facilities.
Newport City Council’s Local Development Plan allocates 700 houses for the site, but the owners say a final figure on the number of proposed houses has not yet been decided. The Walters Group intends to open up Mandrake House as a project office shortly.
Plans will eventually go on show there and staff will be able to answer questions and speak to residents.
It said it will also be demolishing the office block on the site later this month and will be preparing a planning application over the next few months.
The owners say they want to get the views of local residents and a newsletter has been sent out, with another planned in around two weeks.
Meryl Lewis, from Savills, which is project managing the development, said they would continue to liaise with the community.
She said a consultation exercise and public exhibition would start when they had the proposals in place.
Rogerstone councillor Chris Evans said: “At this stage, what they’re doing is really good. Ultimately, they’ve bought the land and it’s important that people make the distinction that this is a private enterprise.
“Residents need to get involved in order for their opinions to be heard.”
Cllr Evans said he had met the owners on a couple of occasions and had negotiated for the car park on Tregwillym Road, which belongs to the company, to continue to be used by residents at this stage.
Site used to employ 8,000
THE Novelis factory, pictured, closed in 2009 with the loss of 440 jobs.
It supplied aluminium sheet and coils to the building, construction and engineering trades.
The site goes back to the Second World War, when the Alcan factory, which had been built by 1944, was producing parts for aircraft including the Spitfire.
More than 8,000 people once worked at the factory.
Novelis was created in 2005 as a spin-off from Alcan to carry on most of the aluminium rolled product businesses.
In 2007, it was acquired by India-based Hindalco.
EDITORIAL COMMENT: It’s right to tell people
IT IS perhaps a sad indictment of our times that a site which used to house a factory employing tens of thousands of people, is likely to end up as a new housing estate.
No longer, it seems, can we safeguard jobs at factories like Novelis, which closed in 2009. The hundreds of jobs lost then were a shadowof the workforce which, when the site was owned by Alcan, once topped 8,000.
Now the owners of the Rogerstone land are looking at the possibility of building hundreds of homes and even a primary school on the site.
It is a shame that a once proud industrial site, which dates back to the Second World War when the factory was producing parts for Spitfire aircraft, has ended in this way.
But the owners have to find a way to recoup their investment and it is obvious to them the only way to do that in this economic climate is through house building.
What is welcome is the way the company is communicating with residents who live near this significant plot.
All too often firms draw up plans without first considering the effect on the wider local area. So Walters Land Limited is to be commended for sending out a newsletter to local resident letting them know their ideas.
It appears public exhibitions and consultation will take place before anything is finalised.
This seems to us like a good way of doing business.
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