Top councillors slam Newport Passport Office move
7:00am Friday 20th July 2012 in News
TWO senior Newport political leaders have hit out at the decision to take Newport Passport Office out of the city centre.
Council and Labour leader Bob Bright said the council was "incredibly disappointed" while ex-council leader and Tory head Matthew Evans said an offer was made for the office to use the Corn Exchange, on High Street.
Both said the city centre's regeneration would have been boosted by passport office remaining in the district.
The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) is instead planning to move to Nexus House, on Lower Dock Street, next year.
Cllr Bright said while the council was pleased the office will retain a service in Newport, "we are incredibly disappointed that they have not chosen to base themselves at a prime location within the city centre".
“A very strong case was made for offices to be located on High Street which would have been advantageous for the Passport Office, service users and the city itself," he said.
“A central location would have served to both encourage footfall and further boost the regeneration of the city centre.”
Cllr Evans said he was "bitterly disappointed" the IPS decision not to take up an offer made by the council for the authority's Corn Exchange building.
He said: "We spent many months lobbying and trying to campaign to ensure that it stayed in the city centre."
The new location has "extremely limited" parking, Cllr Evans said.
He added: "The obvious location for shoppers and traders would have been for it to relocated in the city centre. It would have greatly assisted in the city centre regeneration proposals."
A IPS spokeswoman said Nexus House was chosen as the best option after detailed consideration of a number of locations.
She said: "It is part of a new Welsh Government development close to the city centre and has good transport links and nearby public parking.
"It is within walking distance of the bus and train stations. It also offers favourable lease terms and will require little maintenance work, providing good value for money."