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Newport council leader clarifies role of new city centre manager

General view of Newport (Pic: LDRS)

THE NEW city centre manager for Newport “should not be confused” with the Newport Now Business Improvement District (BID), the council leader has said.

The council appointed its former deputy leader, Roger Jeavons, as the first-ever city centre manager for Newport, following a commitment during the 2022 local elections.

Council leader Jane Mudd said Mr Jeavons would be “the point of contact for businesses in respect of council services such as CCTV, waste collection and [cleaning]”.

The city centre manager’s role also involved “working with Gwent Police on anti-social behaviour issues, and other council officers on matters such as place marketing, running of events including the Newport Food Festival, and empty property enforcement,” Cllr Mudd said.

The city centre manager role was shrouded in mystery earlier in 2023 when the council declined to comment on whether an appointment had been made.

Mr Jeavons was later named as the city centre manager by a senior Gwent Police officer in a full council meeting, during which he confirmed the former Lliswerry representative was playing a key role in helping the force crack down on illegal cannabis factories in central Newport.

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In a written question to the leader, Langstone ward councillor Ray Mogford asked Cllr Mudd to “help your members and [the] public understand the roles” of the new city centre manager and the existing BID, which has been in place since 2015.

“In particular, it would be interesting to understand the ways in which the roles and responsibilities overlap and the budgets available to both Newport BID” and the city centre manager, Cllr Mogford said.

Cllr Mudd said the BID was a “private, not-for-profit company financed and administered by eligible businesses in Newport city centre” which was “financed via an annual levy paid by” some of those traders involved.

“The role of the BID and the local authority should not be confused,” Cllr Mudd said. “The BID provides services and projects which complement the statutory, facilitating and delivery role the council takes in the city centre”.

BID services include street ambassadors, training courses for members, the city’s annual Christmas lights switch-on, and supporting other events such as the Big Splash, Pride in the Port, and the half-marathon.

The city centre manager role, on the other hand, was created “to coordinate the strategic management and function” of central Newport.

The manager “takes a lead in respect of the collective functions and responsibilities of the local authority” and “does not have an allocated budget,” Cllr Mudd said.

“Both the Newport Now BID and the city centre manager have a role to play in supporting the effective management and operation of the city centre,” she added. “Their roles are different but complementary and this additional resource will seek to benefit all businesses and users of the city centre.”