CONTROVERSIAL plans to build housing on the former University of South Wales (USW) campus in Caerleon have been approved, despite concerns over construction traffic and pollution.

Newport City Council’s planning committee approved the scheme put forward by Redrow Homes for 219 homes on the site.

A previous application for the site, which forms part of the filming location of Netflix’s Sex Education, with 310 homes was rejected in 2018 over traffic and air quality concerns.


These concerns were still put forward in the planning committee, but ultimately councillors decided to approve Redrow's plans for the site.

South Wales Argus:

An artist's impression of what the site could look like. Picture: Redrow Homes

South Wales Argus:

An artist's impression of what the site could look like. Picture: Redrow Homes

In the meeting all three local ward members spoke out against the application. Cllr Jason Hughes said that residents had been vocal about the application, with around 200 people signing a petition against the scheme.

Cllr Hughes said: “You really have to see the daily grind of local residents to understand the depth of concern in regards to this application.

“Nothing has changed since you last considered an application on this site and I would strongly suggested neither have the figures.”

South Wales Argus:

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

Traffic and the movement of HGVs around the site was a major concern for the local ward members due to “sweeping and dangerous bends”.

The planning committee heard an objection letter from the chairman of Caerleon Civic Society, Chris Thomas.

South Wales Argus:

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

Mr Thomas said he wasn’t against the development of the campus site in principle but is “serious about air quality”.

He said it was about “basic health and safety” because of ongoing concerns over air quality in the area.

Several councillors suggested a site visit; however, they were told it wouldn’t be possible under current restrictions due to Welsh Government regulations on gatherings.

The development at the former university site will be completed in six phases, where the listed buildings on the site would be converted into housing before new build homes are occupied.

A ‘fallback’ position had also been agreed, which outlines a potential alternative use of a conference centre, dentist’s, doctor’s surgery and gym for the site if the homes plan had been rejected.

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

The route was seen as “not ideal” by planners, but had been recommended for approval because it was 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.

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 planning director for Redrow South Wales, Jane Carpenter said the decision is a “reflection of the careful and collaborative approach that we have taken to this development”.
Ms Carpenter said: “We will continue to work closely with our statutory stakeholders to develop this high quality residential site with a landscape led approach that will demonstrate our commitment to good placemaking. Importantly, we will restore and convert the main Edwardian building, its lodges and historic gate piers.
“Caerleon is a highly sought after location with real heritage and archaeological importance. The 219 new Redrow homes will form a new community that benefits from superb landscaping, green open spaces and excellent pedestrian and cycle connectivity.
“We’re really looking forward to starting work on site.”