THE AXE FALLS
of waiting, worrying, rumour and counter-rumour came to a head on 31st
January with the announcement by Corus Steel of savage job cuts at Llanwern.
The company announced that steel-making would end at the plant, with the
closure of the 'heavy-end'. As a result 1,340 directly employed workers
will be laid off, with as many people again likely to lose their jobs
as a result of the knock-on effect. Processing of steel will continue,
but there is a widespread feeling that the final closure of the plant
is likely within the foreseeable future.
The news is a real blow to Caldicot. The community grew from a village
to a town as a result of providing homes for Llanwern workers. In the
1960s the plant employed over 10,000 people. In spite of severe cutbacks,
particularly in the 1980s, the works remained a major employer for the
MPs and union leaders have called upon Corus to re-think their decision,
but the company has shown a marked reluctance to consult with workers,
unions or government.
Ten redundancies have were announced at Mitel Telecom's
Caldicot plant. Graham Bevington, Mitel's managing director blamed "a
drop in sales of key products in particular in Spain and Italy". The redundancies
were said to be unconnected to the sale of part of the company to Mr Terry
Matthews, one of its founders. The sale is due to be completed in February.
FOR FUTURE OF SHOPS
A meeting called to discuss ideas for the regeneration
of Caldicot shopping centre was warned that one of the town's main stores
would close within a decade if more trade did not come to the town. The
warning was made by Tim Washbourne, whose family have owned stores in
the town since before the Second World War.
The meeting heard that in order to bring more shoppers to the town centre,
Caldicot needed a new foodstore to woo people away from the larger stores
in Chepstow and Newport. Consultants had identified two suitable sites.
The first was on the town football field, including the area occupied
by the scout hut, and the second on a corner of Caldicot Comprehensive
School playing fields. Opposition was expressed to the football field
site because it had been created as a community leisure facility after
30 years of work by local people and is held in trust for that purpose.
Governors of Caldicot Comprehensive School are to consider the proposals
at their next meeting.
ANGER OVER WELSH
Campaigners for a Welsh medium primary school in the Caldicot
area are threatening to take legal action against Monmouthshire County
Council following its decision to postpone plans for the school. The county's
"life long learning" committee (formerly the education committee) had
recommended that the school should be based at Sudbrook Junior School
when its pupils move to a new school at Portskewett in September. The
full council, however, rejected the recommendation because it regarded
the 1880s building as unsuitable and because it believed plans for the
new school should wait until the reorganisation of all primary education
in the Caldicot area had been fully considered.
Planning permission has been granted for a former coalyard
on the Severn Bridge Industrial Estate at Caldicot Pill to be developed
for business or light industrial use. Permission was originally refused
by Monmouthshire County Council but the decision was overturned by an
independent inspector. The 840 square metre site is owned by the Welsh
Assembly but will be sold to private developers.
Bethany Baptist Church, Caldicot, has opened a new annexe.
The annexe, which cost £68,000, will be used for the church's youth and
Vandals have been responsible for a series of attacks on windows and pipes
at Elim Pentecostal Church in Longcroft Road.
A rockery is to be removed so that vandals cannot use the stones to cause
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