PLANS to turn a former leisure centre - which criminals turned into cannabis factory - into a community hub with a cafe, soft play areas and religious meeting facilities have been resubmitted.

Similar proposals for the former Underwood Leisure Centre in Llanmartin have twice been turned down by Newport councillors over flood risk concerns, with an appeal against the latest decision also dismissed by a planning inspector.

But GLY Organisation, the owners of the building since 2016, say they have now commissioned a flood consequences assessment which shows there is “no genuine flood risk” to the building.


The leisure centre is thought to be one of the first built in Wales, but after closing in 2013 it was found to be the site of a major drugs operation, with police recovering more than 2,600 cannabis plants worth £1.6 million from inside.

Plans include providing a community hub with soft play areas and a cafe.

Conference rooms are also proposed, alongside religious and educational meeting facilities.

Indoor sports facilities, use of surrounding areas for play and relaxation, and caretaker accommodation is also planned.

“These proposals seek to bring new life to a building and surrounding land which is clearly needed in the interest not only by providing new facilities for the local community but also enhancing the appearance of the application site as a whole,” a design and access statement says.

Proposed changes to the building include new windows and a new doorway to provide more natural light into the main hall area.

The alterations planned are said to be ‘modest’, but they will enhance the overall appearance of the building, it is said.

Previously the plans were “viewed reasonably favourably” among the community, with no significant objections from residents, the application claims.

It says an appeal against refusal of the plans was dismissed “solely on the basis of flood risk”, which the application has now sought to address.

The building lies within a flood risk zone C2, which is described as described as “areas of the floodplain without significant flood defence infrastructure.”

But the flood consequences assessment, produced by Infrastructure Design Studio Ltd., says the site should be reclassified as a zone C1 -which are areas of a floodplain which are “developed and served by significant infrastructure, including flood defences.”