Plans to make Newport community ‘safer and greener’ receive approval
A masterplan to make Pillgwenlly a safer, greener and “vibrant” place has been given the seal of approval by Newport’s senior councillors.
The masterplan also sets out proposals for community facilities that would reflect Pill’s diverse community.
A multicultural community facility is proposed for Commercial Road. Another proposal is to refurbish the former Cattle Market buildings to create a “heritage and education site for the community to use”.
At a cabinet meeting on Wednesday May 10, council leader Jane Mudd said the council wanted to deliver on the proposals and not “over-promise” – but later added that the masterplan did not mean a commitment to financial investment.
Deputy leader Deb Davies said the plans aim to “improve Pill and make it a prosperous place to live”.
Pill is “one of the most culturally rich places in Wales” and the masterplan wants its community facilities to reflect this. The diversity of the community requires facilities to be inclusive to different cultural, social and religious needs.
The area has over 30 languages spoken and it is also one of the youngest places with a population of under 16-year olds that is larger than both the national and city-wide average.
According to the report, young girls in particular have few local places where they can go to safely socialise. The YMCA previously provided youth services but has since closed.
Pill Mill is the largest community facility and is well used, but is often fully booked and cannot meet local demand alone.
The council intends to explore the viability of creating a multicultural community facility on Commercial Road. The report states the facility could be “a place where community groups can meet, but is also a place where different groups can come together to work together; a place that helps to make Commercial Road the heart of Pill”.
The need to address criminal and anti-social behaviour in Pill was identified as an “essential priority” by the community during the consultation process.
According to the report large groups of men and youths, unlicensed HMOs, and the location of a hostel and homeless accommodation all contribute to people feeling unsafe on Commercial Road.
CCTV is proposed to be installed on Commercial Road, Francis Drive, and Alexandra Road, which are problem areas for anti-social behaviour.
Natural surveillance is also proposed to be increased, by bringing vacant buildings back into use.
The masterplan states: “Success of businesses on Commercial Road is impacted by local people not visiting due to criminal and anti-social behaviour, but the business premises are also left vulnerable to criminal behaviour due to limited CCTV, lighting and security shutters.”
The masterplan also recommends more “visibility of people enforcing the law” to make women and children feel safe.
Additionally, diversifying businesses in the area aims to increase footfall and create a “welcoming, safe, and vibrant atmosphere”.
As part of the consultation, a Pill resident said: “There should be more opportunities for us to celebrate the different cuisines in Pill such as food festivals.”
Drop-in support services for vulnerable people dealing with drug and alcohol issues was also put forward as an idea during the consultation.
According to the consultation, anti-social behaviour and fly-tipping is impacting resident’s use of their local parks. Regular littering is said to prevent Ruperra Park and Pill Park being used by families – the masterplan proposes to regenerate both these parks.
One Pillgwenlly School pupil said: “We want modern and well-equipped play facilities like Tredegar Park.”
The masterplan states a potential to deliver “pocket play and green areas” on unused and derelict public spaces, such as Castle Street.
In the council’s budget for 2022/23, £2.5 million was put towards parks and open spaces across the city.
Other ideas proposed include a new eco park as part of the Whiteheads and Steelworks site, Pill Park being turned into an inclusive multi-purpose sport and recreational destination, and placing a green community garden around St Stephen’s grounds.
By BBC LDRS
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