PLANS for a new visitor centre at Newport’s iconic Transporter Bridge – a key part of a £12 million scheme to protect the structure’s future – have been formally approved.

The proposals will see the existing visitor centre replaced with a modern, bigger one, designed to be contemporary, while also reflecting the area’s industrial history and architecture.

Newport council’s planning committee gave its backing to the plan at a meeting last month, subject to flooding fears being overcome.


Natural Resources Wales (NRW) had raised an objection to the scheme, saying the proposals failed to provide sufficient information to show flooding could be addressed.

South Wales Argus:

An artist's impression of the new visitor centre

But an updated flood consequences assessment, providing more details, has now been accepted by the NRW.

In an updated response recommending approval, the NRW said the applicant has now “adequately demonstrated that the risks and consequences of flooding can be managed to an acceptable level.”

A formal notice granting permission for the plans was issued on Monday, March 30.

South Wales Argus:

An exhibition space within the visitor centre will celebrate the iconic bridge\'s history. Picture: Creative Core

The scheme is part of a £10 million Heritage Fund project to secure the future of the iconic structure - one of just five remaining operational transporter bridges worldwide.

Its ambitions include making the bridge “the best visitor attraction in Wales”, bringing national and international visitors to the city.

Currently around 16-20,000 people visit the attraction every year, but the project aims to boost numbers to 55,000 in the first year and 45,000 thereafter.

The plans aim to ensure there is something for everyone who visits the attraction, including those who cannot climb the 277 steps to the top.

A walkway in the centre will recreate the experience of walking across the bridge, including wind and sound effects.

The new visitor centre will also act as a resource for the community, with community rooms, event spaces and a new café overlooking the bridge.

It will come with an exhibition space to provide a “proper interpretation” of the bridge and its history.

Repairs and restoration work which will extend the operational life of the bridge by 25-30 years are also being proposed as part of a separate application to Welsh Government and Cadw.