PROPOSALS for a new leisure centre in Newport will go before the city council’s planners this Wednesday – and there are concerns the new venue, if built, will close a chapter of the city’s rich musical history.

The existing Newport Leisure Centre, in Usk Way, has hosted some of the most famous names in music since it opened in 1985, including global stars like David Bowie and Elton John.

But there is no provision in the planning documents for the new leisure centre, which is proposed for a site a few hundred metres away, to host gigs.

South Wales Argus:

Music fans are disappointed the new leisure centre will not stage live gigs

Outline planning for the new leisure centre was granted last October, but at the time the council noted there had been concern from some local residents that the plans “do not allow for any form of live music concerns to take place at the new facility”.

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“[I] realise that concerts have not been held at the Newport centre for some time but with Cardiff and Swansea building large arenas there will be a ‘gap in the market’ for a smaller venue similar to the existing Newport centre,” one resident said, according to planning documents. “Not including concert facilities in the new facility will rob the residents of Newport with the chance of local live music.”

The lack of a concert space has prompted complaints from musicians like Goldie Lookin’ Chain’s Eggsy, who told BBC Wales it was “a real shame” for Newport to lose the venue. Since then, other concert-goers have shared on social media their fond memories of gigs at the existing leisure centre.

South Wales Argus:

Newport Leisure Centre has been staging live music since the 1980s

But other aspects of the proposal have been praised. The council’s regeneration officer told planners in their report that “the city centre will stand or fall on the diversification and quality of its offer to visitors, residents and workers”.

“The new leisure provision will clearly benefit these aims in addition to the benefits delivered in terms of local health, wellbeing and access to services,” they said, adding: “The increased footfall from the new development will benefit the hospitality, service and prominent retail offer within the city centre.”

Newport City Council has been contacted for comment.