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Eyesore leisure centre site ‘not considered dangerous’

30 Apr 2024 2 minute read
Underwood Leisure Centre in Newport. Photo via Google

Nicholas Thomas, local democracy reporter

A disused leisure centre which was previously dubbed a “blot on the landscape” has been given a clean bill of health, despite its dilapidated condition.

Underwood Leisure Centre in Newport shut down 10 years ago and a proposal to revive the site as a “community and conference facility” was rejected in 2019 by city council planners.

The building has also fallen foul to “unauthorised” criminal activity, and police busted an illegal cannabis growing operation there in 2014. Thousands of cannabis plants were being grown on the site, which was described as “one of the largest cannabis factories in Gwent”.

In January this year, local councillor Ray Mogford sought clarity from the council over the now privately-owned site’s future, including possible enforced maintenance of the former centre.

At the time, James Clarke, Newport Council’s cabinet member for planning, confirmed he would send officers to “visit the site and explore if any action should be taken”.


This week, Cllr Mogford pressed for an update on that site visit, telling the local authority that “residents remain concerned about this deteriorating eyesore”.

Cllr Clarke confirmed officers had visited the old leisure centre, “and they confirmed the site was secure and not open to trespass”.

“Neither was there any tipping or overgrown vegetation on the site,” he added.

Cllr Clarke said officers recommended that “the appearance of the site did not warrant action” under planning legislation “and was not considered a dangerous structure”.

“I was satisfied with the advice provided at that time by qualified officers,” the cabinet member explained. “I can also confirm that no further complaints have been received in respect of the appearance of the site.”

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