ONGOING plans to turn the former public toilets in Maindee into a café are set to receive a boost later this week.

Work to transform the public conveniences at Maindee Triangle - a section of land between Chepstow Road and Livingston Place - have been progressing well, though the impact of the pandemic has forced a change to be made.

With covid changing the perception of enclosed indoor spaces, Maindee Unlimited, the group behind the project, submitted an application to Newport City Council to install a retractable awning onto the side of the building, to allow for additional seating to be put in place outside the café.

And, at this week’s planning committee meeting, to be held on Wednesday, March 2, it will be recommended that these plans be approved.

Initially, a request to install an awning here was refused in July 2021 as it was considered a material change to the plans, and would require a full planning application to be considered.

Though it is not a major planning application, Maindee Triangle is council-owned land, and as a result, it is required that the application be brought before the planning committee.

Café plans for former toilets – what we know so far

Last year, the Argus reported that Maindee Unlimited, a local community group, was looking for people to run the new community café.

The group is a charity set up to protect community assets and transform Maindee into a sustainable community, having saved and taken over the running of the local library, before turning its attention to Maindee Triangle.

In 2020, it received £204,177 in grant money from the Welsh Government’s community facilities programme to carry out the project, along with other funding from the National Lottery and Natural Resources Wales.

South Wales Argus: Work to transform the toilets is well underwayWork to transform the toilets is well underway

What’s more, Newport City Council agreed to grant the charity a 99-year lease of the land to allow a community asset transfer of the site to take place.

Since then, work has been carried out on-site, with the toilet block now looking unrecognisable.

What has been said about the project?

Supporting the project, John Hallam, of Maindee Unlimited, said: “Our goal is to support the development of a welcoming and inclusive café space in our multicultural and diverse community.

"A place where people can safely socialise and enjoy meeting up, surrounded by green space and nature. We’d like an operator to bring their own vision, ideas and initiative to the space and we will work in partnership to help them realise this vision.

South Wales Argus: An artist impression of what the café will look likeAn artist impression of what the café will look like

“Here in Maindee, we have strong ambitions to become a much more sustainable community. We are greening our neighbourhood and looking at ways to reduce, reuse and recycle.

“We also support our local businesses and are supporting the growth of more local circular economies. We see the cafe and the wider Maindee Triangle community garden as an intrinsic part of these wider aspirations.”

A final decision on the plans for the former toilets is set to be made at Newport City Council’s planning committee meeting on Wednesday, March 2.