Just as April Fool’s Day came and went, something else arose to test my credulity.

County Hall, I read (CP, 02-04-21), could be destined for the chop, to make way for housing.

What’s more, the time-worn Guildhall is ear-marked for the new IW Council meeting chamber.

As if this is not hard enough to swallow, the police, fire and ambulance headquarters would also be part of the siting remix.

It must be the over-statement of the year when the Conservative majority acknowledges ‘there is much work to be done’ to achieve these objectives.

I fully acknowledge there needs to be a fundamental re-think over Newport’s high street, as with high streets across the country.

The most sensible approach, is to reduce each end of the street that is given over to shops, allowing those premises outside of the inner ‘retail strip’ to be used for homes.

If this is done with great care, the centre would hopefully be much less blighted, clearly becoming more prevalent through people purchasing on-line.

As for the shops that remain, there is a strong case for putting pressure on the government and landlords to ensure empty flats above the retail outlets are once again brought back into use, with their own front doors.

I was much impressed at how this has been widely achieved in other countries; it seems almost criminal for so many empty spaces to be left vacant.

When I was a local journalist, I well remember meetings at Newport Guildhall. And in later years I covered many court and inquest hearings there. The replacement of these facilities with a new court building in Quay Street was widely seen as long over-due.

Now, for the authority to even contemplate holding their meetings there flies in the face of all logic. Apart from the grossly inadequate facilities, what about parking for cars and staff?

County Hall

County Hall

When, prior to retirement, I worked in County Hall as public affairs manager I was only too aware of the short-comings and strengths.

On the plus side, here was a building — for all its faults — that housed much of the unitary authority’s administration, in a near town-centre location, with significant parking.

Council tax-payers could no doubt think of many better ways of achieving re-generation than this highly questionable County Hall demolition; to say nothing of a proposed new fire, police and ambulance headquarters.

More homes for local people are clearly needed, but not at any cost.

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