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<< 2001

CALDICOT NEWS 2002

January
INSPECTORS PRAISE COMPREHENSIVE
School inspectors gave Caldicot Comprehensive School a clean bill of health in its report, published following an inspection in November. The 21 inspectors spent up to five days in the school, examining all aspects of school life. The report stated that behaviour in classrooms was good and that teaching was satisfactory or better in 99% of lessons.
PUPILS JOIN FIGHT AGAINST MENINGITIS
Caldicot Comprehensive School pupil, Hilary Deacon, has organised a campaign within the school to raise awareness of meningitis and to raise money for the Meningitis Research Foundation. Hilary was dangerously ill with meningitis when she was four years old. Assemblies were used to give information about the disease and £900 was raised through raffles and a non-uniform day.
POLICE OFFICERS COMMENDED
Caldicot Police Constables Andrew Smith, Chris Horne, Neil Williams and Matthew Davies were given bravery awards after dealing with an armed man. They were called to a flat in the town last August after reports that a man was threatening to kill himself. They found a drunken man armed with a loaded crossbow. The man began swinging the crossbow around, threatening the officers and barricaded himself into the kitchen. A shot was fired in the direction of the officers. Negotiators were called in and, after several hours, persuaded the man to give himself up. He was later convicted of making threats to kill and was jailed for six months.
VANDALS STRIKE AGAIN
The plague of window-smashing in Caldicot continued. Targets included the new Neptune Appliances shop on Sandy Lane, which has been attacked four times since it opened last November. Total damage to the business is approaching £2,000.

PAVILION SCHEME APPROVED
Monmouthshire County Council has given permission for the erection of a sports pavilion, with a car park and coach turning area at Rogiet playing fields. The go-ahead was granted in spite of complaint from some councillors that the building looked like a "mini Tesco".

February
COUNCIL SUPPORTS GATEWAY PROJECT
Caldicot town council has given its support in principle to a scheme for a university campus, science and business park with warehouses and a railway station on land near Severn Tunnel Junction. The Gateway to Wales scheme has the backing of P&O Developments and could create 10,000 jobs. The council has called for a detailed report to be considered at a future meeting before making its recommendations to Monmouthshire County Council.
ANCIENT FISHING RIGHTS THREATENED
An ancient form of fishing which has been practiced in the Caldicot area for centuries, is under threat following proposals from the Environment Agency to conserve salmon stocks by banning lave net fishing for a decade. The Black Rock Lave Net Fisherman's Association has collected 1,600 names on a petition protesting against the ban and has received an expression of support from Monmouthshire County Council.
CCTV
Mr Scott Young has been appointed to take charge of the closed circuit television scheme being planned for Caldicot and the other towns of Monmouthshire. Monmouthshire County Council hopes to have the scheme operational by the end of 2002.
CRIME INCREASE
The Severnside area of Caldicot was the only area in Monmouthshire to show an increase in crime according to a report received by Monmouthshire County Council . Councillor Jim Higginsion, who represents Caldicot, pointed out that the rise is largely due to thefts from the large number of building sites in the area and does not represent a true picture for Caldicot as a whole.
YOUNG REF
Fourteen year old Andrew 'Ziggy' Niblett, a pupil at Caldicot Comprehensive School, has qualified as a soccer referee after scoring 91% in the Gwent County Football Association exams.
SKATEBOARDERS CLEAN UP
Skateboarders who use the new skate park at Caldicot Leisure Centre have joined together to with staff from Monmouthshire Youth Service to paint out graffiti that had appeared around the park.

March
SEVERED FEET FOUND BY RIVER
A pair of severed feet inside size seven Diadora trainers were discovered by a fisherman on a sandbank in the River Severn near Caldicot. Police launched a search for the rest of the body but found nothing. At one stage it was suggested that the feet could have belonged to the missing rock star, Richey Edwards of the Manic Street Preachers, who disappeared in 1995. This has, however, been ruled out. Police now believe the feet had been in the water for about a year.
NEW MOTORWAY PUT ON HOLD
Welsh Assembly Transport Minister Sue Essex announced that the proposed M4 relief road across Caldicot Moors would not be built in the near future.
SEVERN TUNNEL GETS FACELIFT
Landscaping work at Severn Tunnel Junction is underway. A small lake has been constructed and a large number of saplings planted as a first stage in the creation of a 30 acre country park, costing a total of £500,000.
CALDICOT MAN SAVES COUPLE FROM FLOOD
Joshua Klein, a Monmouthshire youth worker from Caldicot, helped to save an elderly couple who were stranded in floods near Usk. The couple, from Cwmbran, were stranded in their car when it stalled in four feet of water at Llantrissant. They left their car but found the water was getting deeper and they were in danger of being swept away. Mr Klein, aged 19, and his colleague Barry Englefield successfully guided them to safety.
COUNCILLOR CENSURED
Controversial councillor Graham Powell was censured in a motion passed by Monmouthshire County Council following his false claims that Phil Cooke, Director of Education, did not have O Levels or A Levels. The censure, the first of its kind by Monmouthshire County Council, followed an investigation by the council's Standards Committee.
SPRING IN THEIR STEP
More than 70 people joined the launch of "Step Out Caldicot", a scheme to encourage people, including those who might be "not-so-fit" and "not-so-young" to adopt a healthier lifestyle. The scheme involves a series of short guided walks.
VANDALS STRIKE AGAINST FOOTBALL CLUB
In spite of spending thousands of pounds on security measures, Caldicot Castle Football Club has found itself the victim of repeated vandal attacks. Control barriers, including their concrete foundations have been ripped up , a satellite dish has been ripped off the clubhouse and an attempt made to prise open steel shutters with a crowbar.


April
PARENTS DEMAND NEW SCHOOL
Parents in Caldicot have responded to Monmouthshire County Council's plans to close Green Lane Junior School by demanding that a new school be built on the site. Following a "strategic review" the council proposes an expansion of Sandy Lane and West End infant schools to cater for the displaced children. This was rejected by a number of parents at a 200 strong consultation meeting. At the meeting, Phil Cooke, Director of Education, pointed out that a new primary school would cost £3 million.
CHEERS FOR THE CUP
The Haywain in Caldicot is among the pubs taking advantage of a recent legal ruling by applying for permission to serve drinks during early morning World Cup matches.

May
PLANS FOR FOOD DRIVE THROUGH
A planning application has been submitted for a drive-through restaurant, a 'bulky non-food retail outlet' and offices on the Severn Bridge Industrial Estate at Caldicot. The developers, Beacon Estates, claim that the new units could create 'hundreds' of jobs but local traders have opposed the scheme, arguing that it will further damage businesses in the struggling town centre.
MOTORWAY LINK CAMPAIGN
A special meeting of Caldicot Town Council was called to discuss a motorway link with the B4245 near Caldicot to improve access and to cut congestion through Rogiet, Undy and Magor. It was pointed out that the traffic flow on the B4245 is 90% of the M48 and that the volume of traffic was causing long queues through the villages. The council called for the Welsh Assembly to conduct a feasibility study.
TWINNING
Officials from the French town of Morieres have asked to be twinned with Caldicot. Representatives of the French town had visited Caldicot incognito earlier in the year. Caldicot Town Councillors then organised a return visit. A decision will be made in September.
NEW PLAY AREA
The play area in the King George V playing fields, which was closed last year after failing a safety inspection, has been reopened following the installation of new play equipment and a safety surface. The play equipment, which cost £23,000, was paid for by Caldicot Town Council, while the safety surface was sponsored by Wilkinson's.

June
HOURS CUT AT MITEL
Mitel Networks, Caldicot's largest employer, responded to cashflow problems by cutting the hours of its workforce by ten per cent. The cuts, which will initially be in force for three months, apply to the 600 workers at Caldicot and to those in its other plants around the world. Some workers at Caldicot criticised the decision, pointing out that, only days before, Mitel had announced that it would be sponsoring the Wales Open golf tournament at Celtic Manor. Celtic Manor is owned by Terry Matthew's, who is also part-owner of Mitel.
PAPER MILL PLANS EXPANSION
St Regis Ltd has applied for planning permission to build a waste paper recycling plant next to its paper mill at Sudbrook. The company reported that the new plant will not create any more jobs but would make the existing mill more competitive, thus helping to secure the jobs of existing employees. The proposal has been opposed by Portskewett Community Council on the grounds that it would lead to unacceptable increases in noise and traffic.
BY ROYAL COMMAND
Caldicot Male Voice Choir performed in front of the Queen at Buckingham Palace during the Jubilee celebrations. Their songs included Llef (a Welsh hymn) and When the Saints Go Marching In. Television pictures of their performance were broadcast to crowds in the Mall and to audiences across the world.
ALL SMILES AT TROUBLED SCHOOL
St Mary's Primary School, Caldicot, which hit the national headlines when its headteacher was prosecuted and finally acquitted on charges of assault against a pupil, has received a good report from school inspectors.

July
SCHOOL CLOSURE CONFIRMED
The decision to close Green Lane Junior School and to turn West End and Sandy Lane Infant Schools into all through Juniors has been confirmed by Monmouthshire County Council.
The decision has split the local community. A group of parents from Green Lane have created a pressure group Pact (Parents and Children Together) and intend to approach the Welsh Assembly after the County Council rejected their 1,000 signature petition. A smaller petition was submitted from parents supporting the council's proposals. Green Lane parents have levelled much of their criticism at local councillor Bill Edwards who, although a governor of Green Lane, voted on the council for its closure. He has argued that by retaining the two other schools, parents will ultimately have greater choice.
There have been suggestions that the Green Lane site will be used for a new Welsh Medium School in place of the temporary accommodation at Sudbrook.
IN WITH THE NEW, OUT WITH THE OLD
A new £1 million science block has been opened at Caldicot Comprehensive School. The opening came just before the retirement of head teacher John Norwood, who retired at the end of term after 22 years at the school.
POLICE DOWNPLAY SYRINGE FIND
Caldicot police have said that a used syringe found in the park at Birbeck Road was more likely to have been used by a diabetic than by a drug addict.
GOING LIKE A BOMB
Jenny Frost of girl band Atomic Kitten was banned for driving and fined £400 by Chepstow magistrates after being caught speeding at 110 mph on the M4 at Caldicot.

August
SUDDEN CLOSURE OF TRAVEL AGENT
Forest Travel, which has been based in Caldicot town centre for over 20 years, closed suddenly after its parent business, Swifta Travel, ceased trading. Five jobs will be lost.
COUNCIL TO OPEN ADVICE CENTRE
Monmouthshire County Council plans to open a "one stop shop" advice centre at its offices in Woodstock Way in the autumn. A team of customer service advisors will help residents access the various council services and deal with problems arising from any department of the council.
MITEL FLOATATION
Sir Terry Matthews is planning a floatation of Mitel Networks, which he reacquired last year. Mitel has its European, African and middle Eastern Headquarters in Caldicot.
THE FIGHT AGAINST CRIME
A government grant is to help four shops in Caldicot improve their security. A £12,000 grant from the Treasury's Capital modernisation Fund will be spent on facilities such as CCTV cameras and burglar alarms.

September
TOWN MOURNS YOUNG ADAM
Adam Burchill, aged 7, was tragically killed when he was hit by a car in Green Lane, Caldicot on September 26th. He was rushed to the Royal Gwent Hospital, Newport and then to the University of Wales Hospital, Cardiff, but died in his mother's arms the next day.
Adam was described by his mother as a "clever and funny" boy. He had just begun playing for Portskewett and Sudbrook F C and will be buried in his football strip.
NEW PLANS FOR LLANWERN
A consortium led by Chepstow based property developers Broadhall Hamton Ltd has put forward proposals for the redevelopment of parts of the Llanwern Steelworks site, 600 acres of which is to be sold by Corus. The consortium claim that their proposals for factories, houses, a school and leisure facilities would create 7,000 jobs, replacing many of the jobs lost to Caldicot people during the years of cutbacks at Llanwern.
NEW HEAD AT COMPREHENSIVE
Mrs Susan Gwyer-Roberts has taken over as headteacher at Caldicot Comprehensive School following the retirement of Mr John Norwood. Mrs Gwyer-Roberts, an expert on school improvement strategies has pledged to insist on high standards of discipline and to build upon the school's existing achievements to improve its performance still further.


October

DISPUTE ON FUTURE OF PLAYING FIELDS
An argument has broken out amongst town councillors over the future of Caldicot's George V Playing Fields. Newly-elected independent councillor James Harris has called for discussion on proposals to develop part of the site for a supermarket as part of the town's regeneration plans. The majority of councillors, however, believe that the playing fields, which are held in trust under a constitution that states that they should be held in perpetuity for leisure purposes, should remain untouched.
DRUGGIES TO BLAME FOR CAR THEFTS
Caldicot police say that they believe a gang of drug users from outside the area were responsible for a spate of thefts from cars in Caldicot and Rogiet. CD players, electrical tools and fishing equipment were amongst the items stolen.
In a separate operation earlier in the month, eleven people were arrested following drugs raids in Caldicot. Police report that there are now 30 registered heroin addicts in the town.
LOVE TRIUMPHS
Caldicot fireman Daren Austin and his Turkish wife Emel have been reunited after fears that she would not be granted permission to live in Britain. After a long delay, immigration officials decided that Emel should be allowed to join her husband in Caldicot.
SKATEPARK LAUNCHED
Professional skaters performed at the new Caldicot Skatepark as part of the official opening. Youth workers welcomed the park as a way of getting youngsters off the streets and out of the town centre.


November
RETAIL PLANS FOR CALDICOT
Plans have been put forward for a retail park on the Caldicot Trading Estate. The plans include provision for stores such as Comet or Curry's and a large DIY store, but not for a food store. There would also be additional office space. In a separate development. Governors of Caldicot Comprehensive School have been approached by the Caldicot Regeneration Group to determine their attitude to the possible sale of approximately four acres of school playing fields for the building of a supermarket.
CRIME UP
Figures released by Gwent police show that between April and September 2002 the number of crimes in the Caldicot area increased by 11% compared to the same months of 2000. Violent crimes fell from 152 to 120 but burglaries increased from 23 to 45.
SIGN OF THE TIMES
A sign illustrating some of the features of Caldicot's history is to be erected near the Cross. It was designed by Ron Lapthorn and has been approved by Caldicot Regeneration Committee. The £3,000 cost will be met by a grant from Monmouthshire County Council.

December
FATHER GUILTY OF MURDERING BABY
A Caldicot man was found guilty at Cardiff crown court of murdering his six-month old son and attempting to murder his second child. He murdered the first child at his home in October 1998 by smothering him with a pillow. In November 1999 he attempted to smother his other child while in a cubicle at the Royal Gwent Hospital. The murdered child was found to have suffered repeated physical abuse including a number of fractured ribs.
The man, who was placed in care when he was 15, has a string of previous convictions, including affray, burglary, theft, false accounting and drink driving. Mr Justice Pitchford described him as "a very dangerous man". 
Monmouthshire Social Services have launched an internal inquiry into the death to determine whether more could have been done to protect the children.
YOUTHS FRIGHTEN PENSIONERS 
Pensioners living at Cwrt Severn sheltered housing complex in Caldicot have complained that they are being "terrorised" by local youths. The youths have allegedly smashed windows, sworn at residents, broken gates and damaged cars. Residents have formed a committee to liaise with police and the council on ways of dealing with the situation.
TOWN TOPS LEAGUE
Caldicot Town Football Club finished 2002 at the top of Welsh League Division Three, following a series of six wins in seven games, including a 2-0 victory over Chepstow.
HOUSE PRICE WATCH
In this new feature we look out for the cheapest house advertised for sale in Caldicot. This month: £74,950 would have bought you a two-bedroom "starter home" in Railway View.

<< 2001
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