Fortunes on the up with regeneration
STRETCHING from Newport city centre across to Caldicot and the Second Severn Crossing, Newport East sits at the gateway to Wales.
And in our modern world where location is everything, this spot by the M4 is not just attracting commuter belt residents, but new business arrivals which could signal a change in the area's fortunes.
When the Corus steelworks in the Newport East ward of Llanwern announced the end of steel-making, along with massive job losses in 2001, many thought the area would be devastated.
But, already, plans for a new business zone and residential developments in the area are taking shape and a total of £300 million is due to be invested in Newport East in the next five years, through a mixture of private and public investment.
The Assembly has already contributed £20 million, £10 million indirectly through the Welsh Development Agency, to Newport Unlimited, the urban regeneration firm which is responsible for spearheading the city's regeneration and attracting outside investors.
Traditionally a safe Labour seat both at Westminster and in the Assembly, Newport East has had a succession of Labour members.
It is nonetheless a constituency, with a population of 75,220, of wide-ranging influences from the ethnically diverse, urban Victoria ward of Newport to the more rural areas of Rogiet.
Six per cent of the area falls into the 10 per cent of most deprived areas in Wales, including areas of Alway and Ringland, which have benefited from Assembly initiatives like Communities First in the past.
With more children than the Welsh average leaving schools in Newport East without any formal qualifications, and larger class sizes than the Welsh average, education is likely to be a key area of interest to local voters.
|NEWPORT EAST STATISTICS|
Band D council tax: £850.74 (£852.32 in Monmouthshire areas)
Proportion of population who are Welsh speaking: 9.5%
Born in Wales: 80.1%
Non-white ethnic group: 4.1%
Migrant population: 10.2%
Never worked and long-term unemployed: 4.3%
Employed in routine and manual work: 33.6%
|Welsh Assembly election May 2003 results|
|Charles Edward Townsend||LD||2,768||16.2||2.2|
|Neal Reynolds||UKIP||987||5.8 %||5.8|
|Turnout||17,212||30.4%||-5.4 on 1999 election|
|Labour majority||3,484 votes||20.4%|
|Trefor Puw||Plaid Cymru|
|Ed Townsend||Liberal Democrat|