Save Newport Visitor and Information Centre
Newport Visitor Centre

This is the website of the Newport Visitor Centre Action Group.
The Action Group was formed in October 2016 at a Community Meeting, in response to the threatened closure by the National Park of the building on Long Street with the objective of Saving the Information Centre for the Community. See history

ACTION NEEDED URGENTLY PLEASE

If you oppose the closure (see details below) please write urgently to the Members of the National Park, ahead of the next meeting of the Authority on 29th November. Members need to be persuaded by the weight of public opinion to reconsider.

You could consider making the following points:

  1. The Authority’s decision to move the Visitor Service into the library should not stand because Members were Officer-led to vote for an Option that did not exist.
  2. The statement by Tegryn Jones, Chief Executive, that because the library cannot accommodate a visitor service in the current building there will be No Visitor Service in Newport is deeply insulting to the community and shows a lack of respect for the community library and a lack of sympathy with what both the local Community and our visitors want.
  3. The Authority is ignoring their own commitment to put the needs of customers at the heart of decision making. The new approaches to assets - that is, promoting a consensus based approach and joint management with communities, charities and private groups is not being followed as far as the Newport Centre is concerned.
  4. Why is the Authority talking about spending £10,000 this year on providing visitor services in the out-of-the-way Castell Henlys site, instead of keeping a viable and successful service going in Newport (for what could be the same cost) where it will reach far more people?
  5. Some of the points in our summary below are still applicable.

We need as many people as possible to approach the Members directly asking that they revisit their decision on the future of the Centre. Contact details of National Park Members are here and you can just click a link to send an email from this document. It is a copy of the details to be found at http://www.pembrokeshirecoast.wales/default.asp?PID=354

While it may be a waste of your time in writing to the Chief Executive, you are also encouraged to write to the two Assembly Members for the area. You might wish to express your feelings about the value of the Centre in supporting the tourist economy and how the wishes of so many are being ignored.

Paul Davies AM Member for Preseli Pembrokeshire 20 Upper Market Street Haverfordwest. SA61 1QA
   Paul.Davies@assembly.wales (01437) 766425
Lady Eluned Morgan AM Regional Member. 19 Cartlett Haverfordwest Pembrokeshire SA61 2LH
   Eluned.Morgan@assembly.wales or National Assembly for Wales, CF99 1NA Phone: 0300-200-7310

LATEST NEWS

The Community Library Group have written to the Chief Executive to explain in detail why their option (running an integrated Visitor and Library service from the current library building) is not and never has been an option; the building is inadequate in many ways especially on grounds of health and safety. There has been no reply.

We reported below our letter to the Chief Executive and the Chairman pointing out that, as the Members’ decision cannot be implemented, there is no valid resolution as to the future of the Newport Visitor Centre. In his reply, the CEO states that he has every confidence in the procedure and as the Library now rejects the approved option, "this now means there will be no tourist information provision of any kind in Newport". We condemn this attitude and remind him that this is not the members wish. They thought that they were agreeing to the provision of an integrated Visitor and Library Service. The Officers’ intention is to replace Newport’s Visitor Service and building by making Castel Henllys the hub for information in the North East, and £10,000 is already being spent there in 2017/18. Another is by providing information about the National Park in the new state of the art library in Haverfordwest

PUBLIC MEETING: Thursday 16th November - Report

We called a Public Meeting on the 18th November to consider the present position. The meeting was packed, and those present were again unanimous in their desire to keep the National Park Visitor Centre in the present building and expressed their frustration that the Members could not see the value of the Centre to the town and tourism in this part of the Park.

The Officers were heavily criticised for their short sightedness, failure to pay any attention to the wishes of their visitors and community and their lack of business acumen in closing a successful service which is vital to the local economy. If it isn’t broken why mend it? The untested alternative means of delivery of information were met with astonishment, ridicule and anger. Please see the Officer's report dated 20th September which discusses the options particularly the last pages which describe the proposed new initiatives.

There was wholesale condemnation of the attitude of the Chief Executive in threatening that Newport would now have no tourist information of any kind because the Community Library would not agree with the Officers’ Option to move National Park Visitor Services into library premises which are inadequate to receive them.

Responding to the wishes of the meeting, the Town Council stated that, if the Centre does close, then their intention is to continue to seek to acquire the building for both the Visitor Service and the Community Library to occupy together.

13th November: Please see our reply to the letter from the CEO (Tegryn Jones) which is referenced below. Our reply points out the errors of procedure in the meeting which took the decision, attempts to corrects some of the statements in the letter and invited Tegryn Jones to attend the meeting on 16th November.

6th November: Our views on the closure.

The National Park Authority Members voted on a last minute proposal, put forward by Officers as their recommendation – to move a tourist information service into the library premises - which had not been consulted upon at all.

Both the Chairperson, Gwyneth Hayward and the Chief Executive knew that this was not a valid proposal. They had been told so before the meeting by the Community Library Group, who are the tenants of the building and who had rejected any proposal that the Visitor Service move there.  The officer responsible for the Report, the Director of Delivery and Discovery, assured the Group he would inform Members of this at the Authority’s meeting, but he did not do so.

Thus, the decision to close the Centre has been reached by means of irregular procedure. The resolution was invalid.  It should fall. We have written to the CEO and Chairperson (see our letter) regarding the invalid resolution and received this reply from the CEO which does not acknowledge the shortcomings of the vote, claims the consultation was adequate and states that "there will be no TIC provision of any kind in Newport" now.

We believe that the National Park should now review the whole situation and that the community’s proposals should be revisited.

26th October: The Tivyside Advertiser reports on our plans to continue the fight.

28th September 2017: PARK AUTHORITY VOTES TO CLOSE CENTRE: On 27th September, the National Park Authority meeting voted to accept the recommendation, sprung upon us at the last moment, and close the Centre no later than 28th February. We were present at the meeting but not allowed to speak. None of the members present effectively presented our case; in fact most of the information we had sent was ignored – for example the fact that the Community Library Group, as lessees of their building, had written to the National Park insisting that the proposal to move the information centre into the library premises was unworkable and it should not be presented to Members, to be told that their view would be communicated to the Members. It was not. Instead he recommended it as the preferred option. We feel very let down by the National Park.

Following the meeting we were sent the following press release, dated 27th September.

Newport Tourist Information Centre.   A Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority spokesperson commented: "At today’s (27 September) meeting of the National Park Authority, Members voted to close Newport Tourist Information Centre by the end of February 2018 and to refocus its visitor service provision in North Pembrokeshire. The Authority will now engage in discussions with Pembrokeshire County Council and the community of Newport to explore the option of delivering a joint library and tourism service at the existing library premises in Newport. A report on the future of the Authority’s building in Long Street, Newport, will be presented to a forthcoming meeting of the Authority".

The closure is now reported in the Tivy-Side Advertiser here, and the Western Telegraph here.

Older news has been moved to the NEWS page.

You can still sign the petition!    (We have well over 1,200 signatures - thanks! But please keep them coming at this critical time)

 

SUMMARY

Read our history page for more background details.

This site will be updated with more information as we get it.

Last updated 20th November 2017