News in brief: Reopening of Newport’s Transporter Bridge moves a step closer
Emily Gill, local democracy reporter
Funding of £8.7 million to repair and restore “the most iconic feature on Newport’s skyline” has been accepted by Newport council, subject to additional Welsh Government funding.
Newport’s Transporter Bridge will be restored and repaired using the National Lottery Heritage Funding of £8.7, subject to the Welsh Government confirming match funding.
The cabinet has also agreed to accept liability of £365,000 for the unconfirmed match funding to provide the heritage fund with the reassurance they need before granting permission to start the project.
Speaking at the cabinet meeting, Cllr Debbie Harvey said it had been a “mammoth task”.
She said: “It has taken a little over four years to get where we are today.
“This is absolutely fantastic.
“It’s a phenomenal application that’s been granted to us in Newport.”
If given the go-ahead by the heritage fund, the funding will repair and restore the Transporter Bridge as well as provide a new visitor centre.
The visitor centre will have a shop, toilets, an exhibition gallery and a café.
Visitors will also have a chance to ride the gondola across the Usk.
The council is also waiting for the Welsh Government to formally approve a £1.5 million grant from the tourism investment support scheme, which will need to be in place for the heritage fund to allow work to start.
£1 million has been allocated from the council’s capital budget to provide a portion of the necessary match funding.
The council aims to start work on the site in May, subject to the relevant permissions.
The project is expected to take 12 months and should be completed in September 22, ready for reopening in spring 2023.
Daily Covid death toll is lowest since September
Public Health Wales has reported just one further death due to Covid-19 today, the lowest daily total since the middle of September last year.
The newly reported death was in the Swansea Bay University Health Board area.
The total number of Covid-related deaths reported by PHW since the start of the pandemic just over a year ago is now 5,344.
PHW also confirmed 170 new cases of the virus in today’s update as infection rates across Wales continue to fall.
14 of 22 local authorities recorded singer figure totals for the number of new positive tests for the virus and there were no new case in Ceredigion.
Cardiff recorded 19 new cases and there were 12 each in Caerphilly and Swansea.
Conwy remains the local authority with the highest infection rate in Wales with a weekly rate of 93.9 cases per 100,000, up from 87.9 on Monday.
Overall, the case rate is down to 60.3 down from 64 yesterday and the positive test proportion is 5.9%, down from 6.1% yesterday.
According to the Office for National Statistics, up to the week ending 19 February there were 7,458 deaths in Wales involving Covid-19.
For the same period PHW estimated 5,273 people have died since the first fatality last March.
Deaths counted by the ONS are when Covid-19 is mentioned by doctors on the death certificate and which occur in all settings – including hospitals, care homes, hospices and people’s homes.
The daily figures released by Public Health Wales only include the deaths of a hospital patients or care home resident where Covid-19 has been confirmed with a positive laboratory test and the clinician suspects this was a causative factor in the death.
Over the seven days covered by the latest study there were 179 deaths involving Covid-19, accounting for 22.7% of all deaths in Wales compared with 28.4% for the previous week.
Overall, the number of deaths from all causes increased from 760 the previous week to 787 and was 65 deaths (9.0%) higher than five-year average for the same week.
In Wales, since the start of the pandemic, the number of deaths is 37,320, of these, 7,406 deaths (19.8%) mentioned Covid-19. This was 5,411 deaths above the five-year average.
FAW welcomes support for World Cup bid
The Football Association of Wales has welcomed Boris Johnson’s pledge of financial support for a potential joint bid from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland to host the 2030 World Cup.
The prime minister has announced £2.8m to support the bidding process.
Mr Johnson told the Sun newspaper: “We are very keen to bring football home in 2030. I do think it’s the right place. It’s the home of football, it’s the right time. It will be an absolutely wonderful thing for the country.”
A statement from the FAW said: “The Football Associations (Wales, England, Ireland, Northern Ireland & Scotland) and government partners of the UK and Ireland are delighted that the UK Government has committed to support a prospective five-association bid for the 2030 FIFA World Cup.
“The FA’s will continue to undertake feasibility work to assess the viability of a bid before FIFA formally open the process in 2022.
“Staging a FIFA World Cup would provide an incredible opportunity to deliver tangible benefits for our nations.
“If a decision is made to bid for the event, the FA’s look forward to presenting our hosting proposals to FIFA and the wider global football community.”
The English FA was previously involved in a disastrous campaign for the 2018 tournament which was hosted by Russia. After spending £19m the bid secured just two votes from Fifa’s executive committee and was eliminated in the first round of voting.
Propel Selects Regional Candidates for South Wales West
Propel has selected four candidates to fight the South Wales West region in the May’s Senedd elections.
The lead candidate is Propel Chair and Bridgend Propel Group Leader, Councillor Tim Thomas, with
Dr Gail John second on the list, with James Henton, a Neath based International Politics student, in third and community activist Lee Fenton in in fourth place.
Cllr Tim Thomas represents the Ynysawdre ward in the Ogmore Constituency. Tim works as a housing Policy Officer and was previously Chair of the cross party ‘Yes for Further Law-making Powers’ campaign in the Ogmore and Bridgend constituencies.
“I am delighted that members have shown their confidence in me from such a strong field of candidates. We have a united campaign team from across the region, with unique and diverse skills,” Mr Thomas said.
“Wales needs champions who don’t do politics as usual. We’re standing to put our communities first. We’ll be putting forward our positive policies of housing justice, Welsh energy independence, achieving modern direct democracy, public service accountability, putting children before profit in care homes and ending Welsh lockdowns.
“We’re all really excited about the election and the opportunity to bring much needed change to Wales.”