Caldicot and District Historical and
Archaeological Society

affiliated to the Gwent County History Association

Home A Short History
of Caldicot
News Archive      

CALDICOT NEWS 2020

January
DISMAY AS FLORAL SIGN DESTROYED
Caldicot people voiced their dismay at the destruction, seemingly by utility contractors, of a floral sign which spelt out the name Caldicot. The sign had been made by volunteers with support from local businesses. Investigations were continuing in an attempt to discover how it had happened.
CALDICOT WOMAN FOUND DEAD
Jennifer Davidson, 39, from Caldicot, who had been missing for several days, was found dead. Police said her death was not being treated as suspicious, Gwent Police.
ROW OVER LEISURE CENTRE REVAMP
Residents protested that Caldicot was being ‘short-changed’ by a decision to scale back plans for the renovation of the town’s leisure centre. Monmouthshire County Councillors rejected the original plans, projected to cost £8.3 million, and instead approved plans for a £6.3 million revamp which would include new fitness facilities, a soft play area, a new skate park design and an improved spa and sauna but would not replace existing squash courts or extend the size of the centre.
MIXED PICTURE IN SCHOOL BANDINGS
The school bandings released by the Welsh government in January revealed a mixed picture in Caldicot. Ysgol Gymraeg Y Finn was given the top (green) rating; Caldicot Comprehensive and Dewstow were rated yellow, Castle Park and Durand amber. No schools were in the red band.
NEW BASE FOR FOODBANK
Caldicot Foodbank moved its warehouse into new facilities in Mill Lane. The property, which has been let by Monmouthshire County Council at a peppercorn rent, was redecorated with assistance from property maintenance company Capsel, Monmouthshire Housing Association's community benefits team and Crown paint. Food parcels would continue to be distributed from the Caldicot town council offices in Sandy Lane as before. David Flint, Chair of the foodbank volunteers, called upon people to continue their generosity in making donations to the usual points including local supermarkets, Caldicot One Stop Shop, Caldicot Library or any local churches.
RAVE BROKEN UP
An alleged illegal rave at the Severn Bridge Industrial Estate, Symondscliffe Way was broken up by police in the early hours of New Year’s Day. Around 2,000 people were reported to be attending the event.
BROTHERS ON ASSAULT CHARGES
Three Caldicot brothers, Jacob, Jamie and Joshua Hodge, pleaded not guilty to charges of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and affray. Jacob Hodge faced a further charge of having an offensive weapon, a baseball bat. A trial date was set for June 29 and all three defendants were granted unconditional bail.
ARRESTS AFTER POLICE CHASE
Five teenagers including one from Caldicot, were arrested on suspicion of burglary and theft after they allegedly fled from police following a crash involving a stolen vehicle in Rogiet. The police helicopter was deployed in the chase.
HOUSE PRICE WATCH
The cheapest property advertised on www.rightmove.co.uk for sale in Caldicot at the end of January 2020 was a one bedroom apartment in Sandy Lane at £124,950. The cheapest house was a two bedroom terraced house in Grove Gardens at £169,950. The most expensive was a four bedroom detached house in Newport Road at £489,000.

February
FLOODING HITS CALDICOT
Although Caldicot was not as badly hit by flooding as some parts of south Wales, houses in Castle Lea and several businesses on the trading estate fell victim. The Neddern Valley flooded between Caldicot and Caerwent turning the area around the castle into a huge lake.
FACTORY CLOSING
Tinmasters at Caldicot Pill announced that it was planning to close its factory and move production to its branch in Swansea, with up to 70 jobs being lost. The factory originally opened in the 1860s as Caldicot Wireworks.
FOODBANK COMPLETES MOVE
Caldicot completed the move of its warehouse into a site in Mill Lane. The transfer from its former premises involved moving 170 cases of food. The new site was provided by Monmouthshire County Council, while Capsel, MHA's trading arm, helped renovate their new premises.
HOUSE PRICE WATCH
The cheapest property advertised on www.rightmove.co.uk for sale in Caldicot at the end of February 2020 was a one bedroom apartment in Sandy Lane at £134,950. The cheapest house was a one bedroom terraced house in Grove Gardens at £149,950. The most expensive was Llanthony Secunda Manor in Church Road, an 800 year old former manor house with five bedrooms at £875,000. A four bedroom detached house in Church Road was on offer at 475,000.


March
LOCKDOWN
In common with the rest of the country, Caldicot was placed in ‘lockdown’ due to the Covid-19 virus. Local volunteers formed a Covid-19 group to help those facing difficulties and there were numerous examples of individual initiatives. Caldicot Foodbank reported that it issued more than twice its usual number of parcels on the last Friday in March and that it was expecting heavy demand during the next month.


April
LOCKDOWN CONTINUES
Caldicot remained subject to Welsh Government ‘lockdown’ regulations designed to combat the spread of the Covid-19 virus. A range of community groups supported vulnerable residents. Volunteers from the Caldicot Area Covid-19 group were busy, amongst other activities, doing shopping for people who were self-isolating. Caldicot Community Working Together, formed in 2018 by Rachel Furmage, worked with the town council, local restaurants and others to make sure no-one in the town was left feeling isolated by organising the cooking and delivery of hundreds of meals. Quizzes and online music sessions were organised to raise funds. Caldicot town council also made a large donation. In a separate initiative, Selina ‘Slinky’ Gregory organised deliveries of ‘bags of basics’ for those in need, while a group of home bakers she coordinated were busy baking cakes which were delivered to members of the community who had been helping others during the crisis.
Only 13 crimes were reported in Caldicot during the month. Of these 12 were anti-social behaviour and one was a public order offence. This represented fall in other crimes but a steep rise in reports of anti-social behaviour, the highest for any of the previous six months being four. Police had not revealed how far the increase was due to breaches of lockdown regulations.


May
CALDICOT WOMAN DIES IN HOUSE FIRE
Charmaine Slater, aged 56, died after her house in Deepweir, Caldicot, was engulfed in a fire on 28 May. Numerous fire engines were sent to the scene but were unable to save Mrs Salter. The house was extensively damaged and partially collapsed. Neighbours were evacuated for much of the day. The cause of the fire was not revealed. Her family has released the following tribute:
"There are no words to describe how we, as a family, are feeling. For those who knew Charmaine knew she was a loving mother, grandmother and wife. Charmaine absolutely loved her music and would often ride her mobility scooter to the shops, blasting her favourite reggae tunes. She was well known around the castle grounds where she liked to go to feed the ducks and other wildlife, often stopping off at the local pub for a nice cold drink. Charmaine thrived off having a simple life, spending time with her beloved dogs and enjoying her favourite soaps. We cannot thank the community enough for all their kind words and gestures, but ask for privacy during this time so we can begin to process our shock and grief."
LOCKDOWN STILL IN PLACE
Although some changes to lockdown regulations were announced to come into effect on 1 June, lockdown continued throughout May. Community groups and members of the town council continued to support vulnerable residents (see April).
Caldicot teenager Imogen Watling created a video to highlight Mental Health Awareness Week with the message that ‘it is okay not to be okay’. She explained that she hoped the video would inspire people to speak out and get help if they are struggling. She was helped by her friends Sophia Emms, 14, Chloe Williams, 14, Jocelyn Clough, 14, Amelie Fettis, 15, Shania Johnson, 14, Katie Seymour, 13, Cerys Fry, 13, and Milly Godfrey, 13.
Kre8tive Theatre Kidz, a children’s theatre company in Chepstow and Caldicot put together its own video to raise funds for the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board. The video, involved some of the 70 children that attend Kre8tive Theatre Kidz, singing Love Shine A Light by Katrina and The Waves.

June
FUND RAISED FOR FIRE VICTIM
Caldicot residents collected £4000 for the family of Charmaine Slater, who died on Thursday 28 May after a fire broke out at her home in Deepweir.

July
RUGBY CLUB’S CHARITY EFFORT
After the cancellation of its tour of Canada due to Covid-19, Caldicot Rugby Club members decided to put their efforts into raising funds by walking, running, riding and swimming the distance they were due to travel on their trip –a total of 8,300 miles within 30 days. The scheme raised £4100, to be split equally between Caldicot RFC and local charity Caldicot Community Working Together.
ALDI ON THE WAY?
Discount supermarket chain Aldi announced that Caldicot was amongst the towns where they were hoping to open new branches.

August
BROTHERS SENTENCED
Three Caldicot brothers were sentenced following a “sickening attack”. Jacob Hodge, who won a million pounds on a lottery scratch card in May 2018, his twin Joshua Hodge, and their brother Jamie Hodge, knocked car-wash owner Bahroz Saeed unconscious and attacked him with a baseball bat, following allegations about damage to a car. Joshua Hodge is also alleged to have used racist language to Mr Saeed.
Judge Daniel Williams told the defendants: “The three of you went mob-handed and you set upon your victim. You kicked and punched him. It was a sustained assault with the use of a weapon. This was mindless group violence.”
All three were jailed for 12 months, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work. Jacob Hodge was ordered to complete a six-day rehabilitation activity. Joshua Hodge was ordered to complete a 30-day rehabilitation activity. Jamie Hodge was ordered to complete a 15-day rehabilitation activity. All three were ordered to pay £500 costs and a £140 victim surcharge.
The judge said the three may have been sent straight to jail had it not been for the “inept” handling of the case by Gwent Police, which led to a “substantial” delay in the case coming to court.
WELCOME TO THE WORLD
Sammy-Jo Panacci from Caldicot gave birth to her baby at the side of the road on 9 August as she and her partner were on the way to Nevill Hall Hospital at Abergavenny.
OPENING UP
Covid-19 restrictions were further relaxed with the reopening of Caldicot Castle, which had been closed since March. Monmouthshire County Council also announced that Caldicot ‘hub’ at the library would reopen on 7 September.

September
SUPERMARKET TO CLOSE
Waitrose announced that it would be closing its Caldicot store. The move was regarded as a major blow to the town and particularly to the remaining shops in the town centre. Shopkeepers expressed concern that the resultant loss of footfall would have a serious impact on their businesses. The company announced that the decision had been made after it had been unable to make the store “profitable in the long term”.
CROSS REOPENS
The road at Caldicot Cross reopened after the completion of the first phase of a £10m town centre regeneration project. Work to renovate Caldicot Cross began in October 2019 but was seriously delayed by Covid-19 and technical issues. Residents expressed concerns that the positioning of the bus stops and the elimination of curbs to create a “shared space” would lead to accidents.
ANGER AT SALE OF LAND
Monmouthshire County Council was criticised for being “discreet” over discussions to sell 150 square metre of land at Heol Teifi next door to the Church Road housing development to Barrett Homes. The land is a public open space, but the council has stated that it intends to sell it to allow access to the site at Church Road, and to increase income for the council. Residents of Heol Teifi complained that consultation had been inadequate and that it would open their road up to additional traffic.
MIXED VIEWS OVER FUNFAIR
Some residents complained that Danter’s funfair, which has visited Caldicot every year for 35 years, was allowed to visit Caldicot again during the month. They feared that it would bring Covid-19 into a low infection area. Visitors to the fair, however, pointed out that stringent precautions had been put into place and they felt safe.
APPEAL FOR ROBBERY WITNESSES
Police appealed for witnesses following a robbery on a path through the park at the rear of Cas Troggy on 21 September. A 22-year-old man reported that he was cycling along the path at around 5pm when he was approached by four men who stole his wallet and keys. He sustained a minor head injury and bruising in the incident. The four suspects were described as all being in their late 20s: two white men and two black men. One of the white men had brown hair and a beard.
NEW MURAL
Bellway Wales – builders of new homes at Greystone Meadows in Undy- donated £300 towards a new mural in the children’s waiting area at Caldicot Health Centre.
HOUSE PRICE WATCH
The cheapest property advertised on www.rightmove.co.uk for sale in Caldicot at the end of September 2020 was a two bedroom flat at The Grove, Caldicot Cross, at £115,000. The cheapest house was a one-bedroom terraced house in Grove Gardens at £139,950. The most expensive was a five-bedroom detached house in Heol Glaslyn at 479,000.

October
COVID OFFENCE
Council worker Dean Bowles from Caldicot pleaded guilty at Newport Magistrates Court of spitting at a police officer who was attempting to enforce social distancing rules during a VE Day party in Kipling Road on 8 May.
FREE MEALS
Curry Mahal in Caldicot was one of a number of Monmouthshire takeaways providing free meals for vulnerable people during the Covid crisis.
CASTLE AWARD
Caldicot Castle again won a Green Flag Award as a green space which provides the highest possible environmental standards, is beautifully maintained, and has excellent visitor facilities.
DRUGS ARREST
A Caldicot man stopped by police for driving without insurance was also arrested for driving under the influence of drugs.

November
ALDI TO REPLACE WAITROSE
The discount supermarket Aldi announced that it would be opening a new branch in the building vacated by Waitrose. Pending planning discussions with Monmouthshire County Council it was planned to open the new running of the building by Christmas 2021. The move was widely welcomed by members of the public and independent shopkeepers in the town.
FOODBANK PREPARES FOR CHRISTMAS
Supporters of Caldicot Foodbank were busy preparing Christmas parcels containing festive food, sweets, crackers and gifts for deprived families. Exceptionally high donations left at the town’s supermarkets and other stores in the Caldicot area plus collections from churches and other donors, allowed the foodbank to meet a growing demand. New foodbank manager Danielle Cadden expressed gratitude to Caldicot Male Voice Choir for making its choir hall available for storing and sorting items for the parcels.
PUPILS KEPT HOME
‘Bubbles’ of pupils from several local schools were told to stay home after cases of Covid-19 were confirmed within their bubbles.

HALLOWEEN TREATS TO HOSPITAL
A Caldicot group set up to ensure that youngsters had a safe way to celebrate Halloween during the Covid crisis organised a collection of sweets and chocolates that were donated to staff and patients at the Royal Gwent Hospital. The gifts were presented to the hospital by Catherin Mayo, leader of the - #caldicotpumpkins2020 group.

December
COUNCIL TO BUILD HOUSES IN CALDICOT
Monmouthshire County Council announced its intention to set up its own building company to help deal with the shortage of affordable homes in the area, building 14 houses adjacent to Caldicot Comprehensive School to trial the scheme. A council spokesman pointed out that there was a growing disparity between house prices and income, with the average house price in Monmouthshire at £336,760, while average earnings for those living and working in the county stood at £29,640. There are 117 homeless households in the county staying in temporary accommodation.
SCHOOLS TO EXPAND
Monmouthshire County Council announced that it was beginning the consultation process to expand school places at Durand School, Caldicot, and Archbishop Rowan Williams School in Portskewett from 210 to 280 per school.
OVERSEAS VISITOR
A hoopoe, a bird normally only seen in Africa and continental Europe, was spotted in a garden in Caldicot.
COVID OFFENCE
A Caldicot man was fined after breaking Covid regulations by travelling to Barry Island to take his dog for a walk.
FROM PINTS TO PARSNIPS
Robert Steed, landlord of the Measure pub in Caldicot, responded to the closure of his business due to Covid by opening a fruit and veg shop in the building.

 

 

Caldicot News Archive

2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019

The old News archive can be accessed here.

© Caldicot and District Historical and Archaeological Society