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CALDICOT NEWS 2019

January
DOGS RESCUED FROM FIRE
A house in Clos Rheidol was seriously damaged following a fire believed to be caused by an electrical fault. Four fire engines attended the scene. Local construction worker Ryan Cole was hailed a local hero when he rescued dogs from the burning house by breaking in and leading them to safety.
SCHOOL BANDINGS
The Welsh Government announced its banding results fro local schools. Ysgol Gymraeg Y Finn was the only Caldicot School to achieve a top ‘green’ banding. Dewstow school was rated in the second tier ‘yellow’ band. Caldicot Comprehensive, Durand and Castle Park were rated ‘amber’. There were no Caldicot schools in the lowest ‘red’ band

February
HOUSING DECISION REVIEWED
Monmouthshire County Council revealed that it would reconsider its decision to grant planning permission for 130 homes to be built near Church Road after discovering that its decision had been based on incorrect information relating to housing targets.
TRAINING COSTS
Caldicot couple Ros and Josh Hannam have raised with the Welsh Government the issue of the cost of training in British Sign Language for parents of deaf children after discovering that it could cost them £6000 to have sufficient lessons to allow them to communicate effectively with their child.
HOUSE PRICE WATCH
The cheapest property advertised on www.rightmove.co.uk for sale in Caldicot at the end of February 2019 was a one bedroom ground floor flat in Church Road at £123,500. The cheapest house was a two bedroom semi-detached bungalow in Dunlin Avenue at £179,950. The most expensive was a five bedroom detached house on the site of the former Tippling Philosopher public house, at £499,950.

March
SCHOOL APPOINTS EXECUTIVE HEAD
The Governing Body at Caldicot School appointed Mr Marc Belli as ‘Executive Head’.  His role was to be in addition to his work as Head of Bishop of Llandaf School in Cardiff.  The move followed the Governors’ decision not to appoint following two rounds of applications and interviews, following the retirement of Susan Gwyer Roberts at Easter 2018.
HOUSE PRICE WATCH
The cheapest property advertised on www.rightmove.co.uk for sale in Caldicot at the end of February 2019 was a one bedroom ground floor flat in Church Road at £123,500.  The cheapest house was a one bedroom terraced house in Keats Raod at £140,000.   The most expensive was a five bedroom detched house in monk’s Close off Sandy Lane at £489,950.

April
EASTER CELEBRATIONS
Large crowds visited Caldicot castle on Good Friday to take part in Easter events, including an egg hunt and an Easter bonnet parade. The event was organised by local community group Caldicot Community Working Together.
EMERGENCY HELP
It was announced that a defibrillator for public use would be installed outside Caldicot police station and all other police stations in Gwent.

May
CHARITY SHOP BREAK-IN
Thieves broke into St David’s charity shop in Caldicot. They failed in their attempt to steal money from the safe but caused damage valued at several thousand pounds and left part of the shop spattered with blood.
SCHOOL CUTS
Teachers unions reported that Caldicot Comprehensive School’s funding had been cut by £1.3 million -£456 per pupil since 2015.

June
PROMISE ON POLICING
Chief Superintendent Ian Roberts of Gwent Police admitted that the closure of front desk services at several police stations, including Caldicot, had a ‘psychological effect’ on communities but promised that policing would not be ‘watered down’ and that police would be drafted in from Newport if necessary. He pointed out that Monmouthshire remained a low crime area with three crimes a day being dealt with by police from Caldicot and Magor Police Stations.
INCREASED USE OF FOODBANK
Caldicot Foodbank made an appeal for donations of food after an upturn of use led to a fall in its stocks. The appeal came after a visit to the foodbank by local MP Jessica Morden.

July
REVAMP FOR LEISURE CENTRE
Monmouthshire County Council announced that a £127,000 feasibility study would take place in advance of its plan to carry out a £6 million modernisation programme at Caldicot Leisure Centre. The programme would include a new viewing area for the swimming pool, new changing rooms, a soft play area and spa facilities. Work was due to begin in mid 2020 and completed by mid 2021.
FOODBANK SEEKS NEW BASE
Caldicot Foodbank announced that it was seeking a new store for its food collection. Its existing premises, in the Healthcare Centre in Cae Mawr Road, would be required for use by health workers.
CRASH AT CO-OP
A collision between two cars outside the Co-op store at West End, Caldicot, led to debris being scattered across the road. Both cars were badly damaged but no injuries were reported.
ROYAL PERFORMANCE FOR CHOIR
Caldicot Male Voice Choir sang at an event attended by King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, King of the Zulu Nation. The event was held at Brecon barracks to commemorate the 140th anniversary of the Anglo-Zulu War.
TALENT SHOW
Twelve year old Caldicot rapper Imogen Watling, who has autism, organised a talent show at Severn View Club. The event raised £313 for Caldicot Town Team.

August
MANHUNT NEAR CASTLE
A police helicopter and dogs were called in to assist in the search for the driver of a car that had failed to stop and then been abandoned near Caldicot castle. The driver was not found but enquiries were ongoing.
THEATRE GROUP SEEKS NEW HOME
Caldicot Musical Theatre Society was seeking a new home after it was faced with an unaffordable threefold rent increase at its existing base at Castlegate Business Park. The site had recently been purchased by Monmouthshire County Council with the intention of converting it into offices which would be let at a profit.
TOWN CENTRE FOOTFALL UP
It was reported that in spite of a national decline in high street retail trade, footfall in Caldicot shops had been showing a slight increase. Three shops in the town were currently empty, including the large Store 21 unit.
EXAM PASSES
Caldicot School reported improved A Level pass rates, with 39% of its students gaining A* or A grades.
BADGER RESCUED
A badger was rescued by the RSPCA after falling into a concrete pit at the firing range at Rogiet Moor in Caldicot. The animal was not injured and was released into the wild.

September
STEEL FIRM PROSECUTED
Celsa Manufacturing Ltd was prosecuted for failing to make a suitable risk assessment after Mark Sim, 41, from Caldicot, and Peter O'Brien, 51, from Llanishen, were killed in an explosion at the Celsa steelworks in Cardiff in November 2015.
SAFETY ROUTE PLANNED
Monmouthshire County Council announced that it would be bidding for funding for a walking and cycling path alongside the B4245 between Rogiet and Undy. It was said that £70,000 and the land had already been secured. The bid followed the death of a cyclist from Caldicot who was killed in a ‘hit and run’ collision on the notoriously dangerous stretch of road in August 2019.
SCHOOL TRANSPORT PROBLEMS
Parents of pupils at Caldicot Comprehensive School complained about changed transport arrangements for the new school year. It was stated that some pupils had not received their passes from Monmouthshire County Council and that they had not been informed of changes to bus timetables and stopping points. MCC issued an apology and stated that it was working hard to resolve the situation.

October
REGENERATION WORK BEGINS
Work began on the first stage of the renovation of Caldicot town centre, joint-funded by Monmouthshire County Council and the Welsh Government. Its stated aim was to encourage people to use the town centre for a range of purposes, with a particular focus on local produce, small enterprises, dining and entertaining, and a balanced daytime-night time economy. The first stage of the project, covering the Cross area, was scheduled to last for 30 weeks and would include a new road surface, new bus shelters, lighting, benches, trees and renovated shop fronts. The estimated cost is £1.57 million.
INTREPID CYCLISTS
Two Caldicot cyclists, Andy and Nathan Reeks, completed a 1,000-mile ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats. The journey took them 11days and raised money for St David’s Hospice Care.
AWARDS FOR CALDICOT MEN
Danny Hodges from Caldicot was named Young Apprentice of the Year at the Monmouthshire Business Awards. He was praised by judges for his commitment to his trade of bricklaying and for encouraging others to take up apprenticeships.
The mayor of Caldicot, Cllr David Evans, presented a bravery award to Ryan Cole, who had gone into a burning house to rescue trapped dogs.
RING RECOVERED
Recycling staff at the Five Lanes site spent four hours searching through hundreds of bin bags after Jo Carter of Caldicot realised she had lost her engagement ring in a batch of 15 bags taken to the recycling centre. The search was eventually successful, much to the joy of Mrs Carter, who thanked the workers for their great kindness.  They were rewarded with trays of beer.

November
OBJECTIONS TO HOUSING PLANS
Around 50 residents objected to a planning application to build 130 houses on land off Church Road. Objectors pointed out that the proposed development was next to a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) and the land was not allocated for housing in the council’s Local Development Plan. There were also concerns over traffic and inadequate infrastructure. The developers stated that the site would include a community park with a trim trail and woodland at the boundary of the site to protect the SSSI. 35 residents attended a public meeting with planning officer to discuss the plans.
DRUGS BUST
Jonathan Mayo of Heol Ithon, Caldicot, was fined £320 after pleading guilty to the possession of cocaine. He was also ordered to pay £85 in costs and a £32 victim surcharge.

HOUSE PRICE WATCH
The cheapest property advertised on www.rightmove.co.uk for sale in Caldicot at the end of November 2019 was a one bedroom apartment in Sandy Lane at £124,950. The cheapest house was a one bedroom terraced house in Alianore Road at £149,999. The most expensive was a five bedroom detached house in Castle Gardens at £399,950.

December
HONOUR FOR RENATE
86 year-old Renate Collins, from Caldicot, was awarded a British Empire Medal in the New Year’s Honours for her services to Holocaust education. As a five year-old Renate was on the last ‘Kindertransport’ train, which took Jewish children to the UK, to leave before World War Two broke out. She was put on board the train from Prague by her mother with just a few possessions, including her ice skates. The Nazis subsequently killed 64 members of her family. Mrs Collins has spoken at many Holocaust commemoration events and frequently gives talks to schools, universities, churches and community groups. Her story has been preserved at the Imperial War Museum in London.
CHARITY SHOP BURGLAR JAILED
Caldicot burglar Richard Simmonds was jailed for 34 weeks after being found guilty of breaking into St David’s Hospice Care Shop in the town centre (See May 2019). He was also found guilty of stealing more than £500 in cash when he broke into The Cellar bar and restaurant in November.
AWARD FOR CARER
Rita Martin, a Q-Care worker from Caldicot was honoured at the 2019 Wales Care Awards. She won a gold award in the 'community living care practitioner' category. Mrs Martin was described as providing exceptional care, empathy, and patience with the people she cared for.
FOODBANK MOVING
Caldicot Food Bank temporarily stopped collecting food donations during the Christmas and New Year period in preparation for its move into a new warehouse.
FIRM EXPANDS
Caldicot Group vehicle recovery and maintenance business based on the Severn Bridge Industrial Estate in Caldicot, announced that it was planning to create 15-20 new jobs as part of its expansion programme.
HOUSE PRICE WATCH
The cheapest property advertised on www.rightmove.co.uk for sale in Caldicot at the end of Decvember 2019 was a one bedroom apartment in Sandy Lane at £124,950. The cheapest house was a one bedroom terraced house in Alianore Road at £149,999. The most expensive was  Llanthony Secunda Manor in Church Road, an 800 year old former manor house with five bedrooms at £875,000.

 
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