THE service that runs Newport passport office is hoping to move the office to a new site in the city next Feburary, the Argus has learned.

Last week we revealed two sites the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) is thought to be looking at for its planned relocation.

An email to staff from a manager at the service has now revealed that it is looking to relocate in or around February next year.

The message said earlier in the year it had hoped to make an announcement about the new site for the Newport customer service centre at the end of May.

It read: "The project team is working hard on the analysis and approvals required before we can commit to new premises, but it is taking longer than we anticipated due to the complexities of the cross government approval process.

"This delay shouldnÕt affect the overall timescales and we are still looking to relocate in or around February 2013."

The email added that the new office in Newport "underlines the IPS' commitment to operations here".

Last week union rep Ben Rapier revealed that the IPS was considering moving the passport office to Nexus House on Lower Dock Street or the Corn Exchange on High Street.

IPS chief executive Sarah Rapson announced last May that current site Olympia House would cease to be used by the regional office in 2013.

Despite plans to close the site last May IPS decided to keep 150 of 300 jobs there, following a campaign by the Argus and people across Wales.

More than 26,000 people signed a petition against the proposal.