PLANS for a new “state-of-the-art” leisure centre in Newport have been backed by councillors.

The proposed three-floor development will include a pool hall, changing rooms, toilets, foyer, café, gym, studios and a green roof garden.

The new centre will be built on Usk Way, a short distance from Newport Centre – which is set to be knocked down.

Newport Centre was permanently closed in August due to its poor condition, and the site will now be used to build a £90 million Coleg Gwent campus.

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The new site is located near University of South Wales and “will provide a diverse range of sport and activities, catering for all levels of ability and all ages, and encouraging community engagement and participation”.

A live music venue is not included in the plans for the new leisure centre - a move which has been met with criticism due to the fact the former Newport Centre had the facilities for this, with big names including David Bowie, the Manic Street Preachers and Elton John among those to have appeared there.

In a Newport City Council planning committee meeting, held earlier today, Wednesday, Malpas ward councillor James Clarke said: “This is a positive move, not just financially but for the mental wellbeing and health of residents in Newport.”

The committee voted to delegate powers to the council's planning department to give the scheme the final sign-off, assuming Natural Resources Wales (NRW) do not object to the appropriate assessment.

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Cllr Jason Jordan, who represents Bettws, questioned why there was not a plan for live music to be held at the new leisure centre.

In response to Cllr Jordan, planning officer Gail Parkhouse said that this was not a planning matter.

Cllr John Richards, chairman of the planning committee, echoed Ms Parkhouse’s comments: “The live music venue is not a planning consideration. I know there is concerns, but it is not a matter for planning.”

The design and access statement states that the new centre’s proximity to public transport will result in many people visiting and continuing to return to the leisure centre.

Cllr Yvonne Forsey, who represents Rogerstone, did not think the current plans for bicycle parking was good enough, and asked for a condition to be included to make it more secure.

The application was submitted by Kew Planning on behalf of Newport City Council.

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