NEWPORT'S iconic Transporter Bridge is to stay closed during the winter despite calls to keep it open.

City council cabinet member Debbie Wilcox says although she recognises the importance of the bridge it is not possible to reverse a decision to seasonally close the bridge.

The previous administration had decided to develop the bridge as a tourist attraction and close it from September to Easter.

Councillor Wilcox, who is cabinet member for leisure and culture, responded to calls by former councillor David Hando to keep the structure operating all year around.

"Like all councils, we are facing increasingly challenging economic conditions. Our priorities have to be about meeting statutory responsibilities, especially protecting and support the more vulnerable members of our community," she said.

She highlighted that the decision itself was taken by a former cabinet colleague of Mr Hando, when he was in the Tory-Liberal Democrat coalition that ran the council before May's election.

Mr Hando, chairman of the Friends of Newport Transporter Bridge, said the city should make the most of the bridge and not tuck it away.

He said it should be opened at weekends and bank holidays at the least.

Meanwhile it has emerged that the council is seeking to redeploy two members of staff that worked on the bridge, and could face redundancy.

The council said that four members have staff were employed at the bridge.

One maintenance worker is to continue in his current role while another, who was at the bridge on a temporary basis, was returned to his previous position, according to the council.

However the council is looking to redeploy the remaining two. They could face redundancy, it is understood, if opportunities are not found for them.