Westgate Hotel 'excellent venue' for hospitality school
6:29am Monday 10th February 2014 in Gwent news
THE chief of the Newport city taskforce says it would be fabulous if the grade II listed Westgate Hotel could be used for a five star hospitality school.
Simon Gibson, chairman of the ReNewport business taskforce, said the idea could be combined with a visitor attraction about the Chartist movement.
A hospitality school was one of the recommendations proposed by the ReNewport report, which could include a working hotel staffed by the school’s students.
Mr Gibson said the taskforce were agreed that Westgate Hotel, which was the site of the Chartist Rising in 1839, would be a prime location for the idea.
“It would be fabulous," he said, adding: “There’s no better location in the whole of Newport for a five star hospitality school".
He suggested it could be combined with a “visitor attraction on the Chartist movement".
Surveyors would need to cast an eye at the idea for the Commercial Street building, which is grade II listed and has been empty for years.
In 2011 the Argus reported it is on Newport council’s register of buildings at risk.
According to the ReNewport report the school would "create a broad pool of talent and expertise to feed the region’s growing hotel and hospitality industry.”
The report said: “Delivering professional knowledge through a dynamic combination of study and hands-on experience, this school would offer the perfect environment in which to experience all the challenges and possibilities of modern hospitality management".
It added: “This unique environment will immerse aspiring hotel managers, chefs, event co-ordinators, spa managers, restaurant managers and many others, in a vibrant community of students, industry professionals and academic staff who share a genuine passion for hospitality and for learning.”
The taskforce hope this could be established by 2015.
Welsh Government minister Edwina Hart announced last week that funds would be made available to undertake feasibility work needed to progress some of the recommendations in the ReNewport report
On November 4, 1839, thousands of Chartists led by John Frost marched to the Westgate Hotel, where fellow chartists were being kept imprisoned.
Soldiers opened fire on the protestors, killing 22 of the protestors.