Press Release by the Save Newport Campaign


What price for public art?

The supermarket store Aldi has applied to Telford & Wrekin Council for planning permission to demolish the old Focus DIY store and build a new foodstore on the edge of Newport. As part of their application, Aldi have submitted a list of the financial contributions they are intending to make under what is known as a Section 106 agreement to secure improvements to the local infrastructure and to benefit the local community. Included in this list are planned revenue contributions to support the Newport Town Team, who like many towns across the country are working hard to support and revitalise the High Street in these difficult economic times, and the local radio station Nova Radio. The Town Team is supported by local Newport businesses putting their own time in and by a part-time manager. Nova Radio is also a labour of love by local people.

However, despite over 1000 people writing in support of Aldi coming to Newport, Telford & Wrekin Council planning officers. quoting Council policy, have objected to Aldi wishing to provide £10,000 for the Town Team and a contribution to Nova Radio, and instead are requesting that Aldi give £25,000 to the Council for a piece of public art, the details of which are yet to be determined.

The suggestion that what Newport really needs is a piece of public art, particularly given the town’s previous failed attempt to agree, deliver and maintain similar to celebrate the Millennium, would suggest that Telford Council is either completely out of touch with the needs of Newport or at worst determined to block anything which does not fit with their own retail model for the town.

“Support for the Town Team will bring far more benefit to our High Street and our local radio station” said local councillor Adrian Meredith. “This lack of co-operation by our Borough Council is starting to make us feel there is almost an active bias against the town. 106 agreements are meant to support local community infrastructure.”


Surely a vibrant High Street, secured by a funded and pro-active Town Team, is worth more than a piece of unwanted public art foisted on the local community by Telford & Wrekin Council?


Issued by Save Newport Campaign February 12 2014

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