PLANS to improve Newport Civic Centre’s clock tower, making it safer and easier to clean have been lodged.

The Grade-II listed building is among the best-known landmarks in the city - but its dirty appearance has recently been highlighted by several people on social media.

Now plans have now been submitted which could make it much easier and safer to maintain.


South Wales Argus:

An existing ladder which is to be replaced. Picture: Newport council/Alwyn Jones Architects

Proposed changes and improvements to the building include providing a new steel ladder, and removing the existing one, to access the roof around the clock tower base.

This will allow “much better and safer access for maintenance and inspection” of the tower – and will “enable better conservation of the building”, according to a heritage impact statement.

Scaffold-tube handrails to the sides of the clock tower could also be replaced with a new lanyard-type fall protection cable system, which would allow workers to clip on to the new cable when accessing the flat roof area.

South Wales Argus:

Handrails which are to be replaced. Picture: Newport council/Alwyn Jones Architects

The current arrangement to access the clock tower is “extremely hazardous” as there is no guarding around its perimeter, and the system falls “far short of current health and safety (including HSE [Health and Safety Executive]) requirements and expectations.”

The new cable system will be designed to be “as visually unobtrusive as possible,” it is said.

A new roof covering could also be installed and doors which provide maintenance and inspection access into the clock tower replaced.

The existing door, dating to 1964 when the clock tower was built, is allowing “large quantities” of rainwater to pool the clock tower floor, the heritage impact statement says.

South Wales Argus:

The existing access is "extremely hazardous" with no guarding around the perimeter. Picture: Newport council/Alwyn Jones Architects

Proposals also include replacing a water tank from inside the clock tower which is “at the end of its life,” and installing new steel stairs.

“Access (into the clock tower) will be significantly improved so that it will be safer and to current standards, whereas it is not currently,” the plans add.

It says that doing nothing risks allowing the tower to “fall into disrepair and disuse” because of an “inability to safely maintain and inspect” it.

The application for listed building consent is due to be considered by Newport council in the coming months.