WHAT great news it was to read the suggestion by the ReNewport Committee Chairman, Simon Gibson, that the Westgate Hotel be renovated to act as a training centre for the hospitality industry.

There is a long standing desperate need for such a facility and this idea provides the opportunity to develop a true ‘Centre Of Excellence’ or Academy. With at least a dozen award winning chefs in Gwent, ‘master classes’ by guest chefs could form a core activity for developing skills for those in the industry already, as well as providing a first class stimulus for newcomers. Not only would the city centre be rejuvenated but also much would be done to aid employability and high level skill development. With the planned conference centre, we will need many more skilled people to enable its success and we already have a need for many more skilled workers in this sector.

There is also a unique chance to link a Chartist based tourist centre to such a development, particularly with suitable properties available nearby. Will a better chance ever become available? Now let’s see if the city council and the Welsh government do the logical thing by fully backing ReNewport’s vision – it’s an investment that would soon pay off for the people of Newport and surrounds, as well as the many visitors it seeks to attract in coming years.

John Hathaway Bettws Newydd Usk