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Newport Politics South Wales

Council opted to demolish ‘unsightly’ fire-hit community centre rather than rebuild

The Mary Dunn Community Centre, pictured In 2012 (Pic: Google)

NEWPORT City Council opted against rebuilding a fire-ravaged community centre, choosing instead to spend £50,000 of insurance money on demolition.

Fire destroyed the Mary Dunn Community Centre in May 2016, leaving it in a “dangerous and unsightly” condition.

The centre, on Jenkins Street, Lliswerry, had closed down two years earlier, but in a question to the council this week, Lliswerry ward representative Andrew Sterry asked why the Mary Dunn had not been rebuilt.

Despite the centre’s 2014 closure, the council was “still considering possible future uses of the building which could have benefited the community”, he said.

“The land is currently being used as a temporary car park for teachers during the rebuild of St Andrew’s School,” Cllr Sterry said. “Seven years have passed and residents are asking me why the community centre wasn’t rebuilt from the building and contents insurance.”

In response, Laura Lacey, Newport’s cabinet member for infrastructure and assets, confirmed the insurance money claimed after the fire totalled £48,801.46 and was spent on “the costs of the demolition and clearance works”.

Asked how the insurance money benefited the residents of Lliswerry, Cllr Lacey added: “The demolition and clearance of the site removed a dangerous and unsightly structure.”