PLANS to build housing on the former University of South Wales (USW) campus in Caerleon could get the green light next week, despite “significant concerns” remaining over the impact of construction traffic on residential streets.

Newport council planners have recommended the proposal by Redrow Homes for 219 homes on the site - where parts of Netflix's Sex Education are filmed - is approved, saying the “significant merits” of the scheme outweigh concerns.

A previous application to build 310 homes on the site, put forward by USW, was rejected in 2018 over traffic and air quality concerns.


But a planning report says the new scheme addresses previous concerns.

Several differences are highlighted from the previous application, including a phased programme agreed with Redrow to convert listed buildings on the site into housing before new build homes are occupied.

Retaining and converting the site’s heritage assets – including the main Grade II-listed former campus building to provide homes – is “a merit of the scheme afforded significant weight”, the report says.

South Wales Argus:

An image showing how the scheme could look looking towards the main listed building. Picture: Newport council/Redrow Homes

Unlike the previous application, a ‘fallback’ position which outlines a potential alternative use for the site if the homes plan is rejected has also been agreed.

This has been used by the council to assess traffic and air quality impacts of the housing scheme against the fallback, which includes a conference centre, dentist’s, doctor’s surgery and a gym.

Other ‘merits’ of the scheme include that an electric vehicle charging point would be installed in all new build homes and 36 sheltered bike spaces provided.

Twenty-two affordable homes would be included and it is claimed the scheme will have regeneration benefits, with the current site described as ‘unsightly’ with former student blocks lying empty.

South Wales Argus:

An image showing the proposed new housing. Picture: Newport council/Redrow Homes

But new concerns over plans for construction traffic to use College Glade and other residential streets to access the site have emerged.

A petition objecting to the route has been signed by 194 residents, with the ward’s three councillors also voicing concerns over the plan directing traffic through residential areas.

Planners say the route is “not ideal”, but it is considered to be the only option available for development to avoid Caerleon’s Air Quality Management Area, where pollution levels are above government targets.

Concerns remain over the impact of the development on air quality in Caerleon, which is breaching targets for nitrogen dioxide levels.

South Wales Argus:

An image showing the junction of St Cadocs Close and Lodge Road with the proposed new development. Picture: Newport council/Redrow Homes

But a report says air quality is “slowly improving”, and that the agreed fallback position for the site would have a similar impact on levels.

The report also says the impact of the development on traffic congestion is expected to be ‘minimal’, with new surveys from 2019 indicating “zero traffic growth around the one-way system”.

Changes are also proposed at the College Crescent/Ponthir Road junction to improve visibility.

Newport council’s planning committee will decide the plans at a meeting next Wednesday.