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Green light for redevelopment of Newport’s historic Orb Steelworks

The former Orb Steelworks in Newport, pictured in August 2023 (Pic: Google)

NEWPORT’S historic Orb Steelworks could be turned into a major warehousing and industrial estate, after city council planners gave new plans the green light.

Despite protests from current and former steelworkers, the Orb closed down in 2020, ending 122 years of production at the site in Stephenson Street.

Newport Council’s planning committee agreed unanimously on Wednesday (April 3) to grant planning permission for part of the site to be redeveloped.

Yet a final decision on the application will be delayed because the former steelworks sits next to the River Usk, on land deemed prone to flooding.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) objected to the redevelopment, arguing the site fell short of national planning rules on flood risk, council planning officer Grant Hawkins told the committee.

The council’s decision to grant planning permission means it must give NRW another opportunity to raise any concerns, before development can begin.

Mr Hawkins noted the site had been used for industry for more than a century, and said applicant Starburst UK Ltd’s assessments had predicted a two-day warning of any future flooding, meaning the risks “could be mitigated to a degree”.

If NRW decides not to raise any fresh concerns about the redevelopment, part of the former steelworks could be turned into a mixed-use site comprising light industry, general industrial use and – mainly – storehousing and distribution.

Plans show 49 units could be built in two terraces, with the same number of parking spaces for lorries (HGVs) provided.

Mr Hawkins said several existing buildings would be demolished as part of the plans, which mark the “first phase” of work to redevelop the wider Orb site.

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