THE former Orb Steelworks plant in Newport could be divided into a number of smaller units, in a bid to bring the now-closed factory back into use.

Located just off Stephenson Street in the city, the huge factory has stood empty since July 2020.

But, even before then, it was a shadow of its former self, with just 11 workers remaining on site on its final day of operation.

A number of plans have since followed in a bid to bring either the factory aspect of the site, or the administration building back into use, but, to date, none have yielded results.

Now, there is hope that a new scheme could find use for more than 68,000 square foot of industrial space.

On Monday, June 27, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) scoping opinion for a proposed change of use of the site was submitted to Newport City Council for their consideration.

While it does not constitute a formal planning application at this stage, it outlines what could happen to the site.

According to these plans, the huge industrial building would be divided into five smaller buildings.

Further documents suggest that these individual buildings could then be further divided into smaller units.

While limited information has been provided at this time, there is some suggestion that it is hoped that creating smaller units will increase the likelihood of finding a use for the site.

Why is the site currently empty?

On July 3, 2020, the final workers left the Orb Steelworks site, ending 122 years of industry here.

For half a century it was owned by Lysaght before eventually becoming part of British Steel, and later European Electrical Steels in 1991.

The factory was so important to the city that Newport’s Transporter Bridge was constructed adjacent to it, in order to move steel down the Usk.

It then became part of Tata's Cogent division in 2001.

But, despite being the only producer of electrical steel in the UK, Tata put the site up for sale and, failing to secure a buyer, the site ceased operations in 2019.

The Argus led a campaign to save the steelworks from closure and launched a petition in 2019, in a bid to help around 400 people who stood to lose their jobs. Hundreds of people also joined a march through the city that year.

The EIA screening application can be found online here.