March 2008

PROTESTS OVER CASTLE CONTRACT
A decision by Monmouthshire County Council to award the catering contract, including that for medieval banquets, at Caldicot Castle to a new company came under severe criticism from local politicians and members of the public. The contract, which had for the last twelve years been held by a locally-based company, Caldicot Castle Entertainments Ltd, which employed around 50 people, was awarded to Bristol-based Jamesons catering company. Jamesons already holds the contract for catering at the nearby David Broome Event Centre. Fears were expressed that local jobs would be lost as the company would bring in an outside workforce. County Councillor Ron Stewart stated, “It does not seem right that a company from Bristol is preferred to a local company in Caldicot”, while a correspondent to the Wye Valley Review claimed that the castle had been “parcelled up and handed over to Bristol”. Monmouthshire County Council defended its decision on the grounds that it was based on the recommendations of an independent body after an extensive tendering process.

CARNIVAL TO RETURN
Caldicot town council began steps to revive the town’s carnival, which was cancelled in 2007 largely as a result of financial difficulties. A meeting of the carnival committee was held in mid-March and initial plans made for the bank holiday at the end of May.

PAIR DEFECT TO LABOUR
Caldicot town councillors John Marshall and Julie Roberts publicly declared that they had left Plaid Cymru and joined the Labour Party. According to Plaid, both councillors left the party some years ago.

RAIL CAMPAIGNERS TAKE FIGHT TO WESTMINSTER
Members of the Severn Tunnel Action Group held a meeting at Westminster with local MPs as part of their campaign for improved services from the station.

JOBS LOST AT BREWERY
In Bev, the Belgian brewing company, announced that it was seeking to shed 80 jobs at Magor brewery. The brewery, which produces Stella Artois and Boddingtons, employs around 400 workers.

NO CHANGE IN SUPERMARKET SAGA
In spite of continued rumours fuelled in the local press, no significant developments have taken place in attempts by Caldicot Regeneration Group and Monmouthshire County Council to sell off four acres of the comprehensive school playing field for a second supermarket.

MACK STANDS DOWN
One of Caldicot’s longest-standing charity workers retired from his post. Arthur McAteer has been ‘poppy co-ordinator’ for Caldicot branch of the Royal British Legion for 30 years, during which time he helped to raise over £300,000.

ROADWORKS AHEAD IN POETS CORNER
Monmouthshire County Council announced that a major programme of road resurfacing would take place from June. The roads to be resurfaced were listed as Longfellow Road, Wordsworth Close, Keats Close, Tennyson Close, Tennyson Road, Shelley Close, Kipling Road, Burns Crescent, Shakespeare Drive and Park Road.

HOUSE PRICE WATCH
The cheapest house advertised in the local press for sale in Caldicot at the end of March 2008 was a two-bedroom house in Estuary View at £134,950. The most expensive property was a five-bedroom barn conversion at the old Church Farm (Llanthony Secunda) at £550,000.

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