NEW plans have been unveiled for a key city centre site which has been vacant for several years, with potential uses including a college campus to bring hundreds of students and staff into Newport.

Proposals for a new development on land at Usk Way, between the University of South Wales (USW) city campus and Castle Bingo, have been lodged with Newport City Council.

The outline application, submitted by Newport council, proposes either offices, a hotel, education or a leisure use.

This is the latest in a series of plans for the site, with Newport council currently working with Coleg Gwent and the Welsh Government on a proposed city centre campus, in a £90 million investment which could bring hundreds of students and staff into the city centre. Although no final decision has been made about where the campus will be located, but it has been confirmed the Usk Way site is being considered.


USW previously planned a Newport School of Art, Media and Design building on the site and potentially a teaching space or students union.

But plans never came forward for the development and the land was only used as a building site for the university between 2009 and 2013.

It has been left vacant and not accessible to the public since then.

In its application, Newport council says the development will “breathe new life into the neighbourhood” and make it “a more desirable location”.

“Each of the proposed uses would boost the economy, by creating jobs and contributing to local expenditure,” a planning statement says.

“Furthermore, education and leisure uses would provide new, state-of-the-art facilities for the local community, thus improving the local environment and creating a safer, healthier city.

“Overall, the development would contribute to the regeneration of this section of Usk Way, complementing the USW campus to the north and bringing vitality and interest to the application site.”

Almost all of the site site would be used under the plans, to provide 995 square-metres of floorspace, with the new building facing Usk Way.

The building is planned to be three- to four-storeys high, higher than Castle Bingo, but not as the tall as the USW building.

Vehicles would enter the site from an existing access at the back and pedestrians from Usk Way.

Car parking spaces are not considered necessary as the site is served by public transport, but cycle spaces will be provided.

Cllr Matthew Evans, Newport council’s Conservative group leader, said he was ‘disappointed’ previous plans for the site have not materialised.

“Having said that, leisure, education or a quality hotel would all be welcome to help the city centre which is in desperate need of stimulation and investment,” he said.

Dr Mike Hamilton, a former lecturer at the university and Liberal Democrat candidate for Newport East in the Senedd election, has voiced concern if the site is not used for educational purposes.

“We were told Usk Way was going to be protected for educational purposes,” Dr Hamilton said.

“This latest development isn’t surprising but it is the final nail in the coffin for all of Labour’s promises over the Caerleon Campus and their pile of broken words.”

Newport Centre is another site which has been considered for the new Coleg Gwent city centre campus.

Minutes of a pre-application meeting held in October suggested plans were being made to demolish the venue to make way for the development – but Newport council has said the report is incorrect.

The minutes said Mark McSweeney, of Newport Norse, explained in the meeting “Coleg Gwent would be moving to the Newport Centre on the corner of Usk Way”.

“The existing building is noted as being irreparable and now needs to be demolished,” the minutes said.

A spokeswoman for Newport council said “no final decisions” have been made on where the campus will be sited, but the Newport Centre site is “one of a number of locations that have been considered”.

“We are aware that there are issues with a building that is nearly 40-years-old but condition surveys are still ongoing so we do not know that it is beyond repair,” the spokeswoman said.

“The council are committed to retaining leisure facilities in the city centre.

“The document contained within the planning statement is incorrect and we regret that this was the impression given by the report of a pre-planning meeting.”

A spokeswoman for Coleg Gwent said it is looking to develop “a brand new campus to be able to provide high quality further education for Newport”.

“The current campus at Nash Road is difficult to access for many learners and many of the buildings will need replacing soon,” the spokeswoman said.

“Some four years ago the college, Newport City Council and the University of South Wales came together to look at developing a ‘Newport Knowledge Quarter’ in a more central location, which would improve access to lifelong learning for the whole city and add value to the recent USW and city centre developments.

“The concept was identified in the city centre masterplan and the college has been working with Newport City Council to look at potential sites in the city centre for a new campus.

“However, nothing has been agreed and the college is fully aware that the council has given no formal commitment to any site.”

USW was contacted for comment.