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CALDICOT NEWS 2022

January
ROADSIDE DELIVERY
Gemma Earle of Caldicot had her baby son delivered at the roadside in Rogiet after he arrived more quickly than expected. She was on her way to the Grange Hospital with her partner, Luke Rawlings, when it became clear that the baby would not wait. Luke stopped and phoned an ambulance but ended up delivering his son just 33 minutes later, guided by an ambulance call handler. With no ambulance available, they returned home, where they were soon joined by a midwife from the Grange.
INDUSTRIAL ESTATE AND BUSINESS PARK
The Severn Bridge Industrial Estate between Caldicot and Portskewett became fully let following a major refurbishment of a unit to be occupied by haulage and logistics company The Lockwood Group. It was confirmed that Beacon Business Park, which adjoins the Severn Bridge Industrial Estate in Caldicot has been sold to Industrials REIT in a deal worth £7.9 million. There were 23 units on the site of which 22 were occupied.
MAIL DELAYS
The Royal Mail warned customers that Caldicot and the NP26 postcode area was one of 50 areas that could face delays in receiving their post due to Covid-related staff shortages.
DRIVERS BANNED
Victoria Fieldsend, 47, of Cae Mawr Road in Caldicot was stopped by police whole driving over the limit in a Fiat Punto between M4 junctions 34 and 35 on 3 November 2021. She was found to be four times over the limit. She pleaded guilty to drink driving at Cardiff Magistrates' Court and due to the very high reading was given an eight-week suspended prison sentence.
Gregory Lewis, 22, of Lapwing Avenue, was banned from driving for 12 months after he pleaded guilty to drug driving with ecstasy in his blood on the A48 in Pwllmeyric, near Chepstow, on May 22, 2021.
HOUSE PRICE WATCH
The cheapest property advertised on www.rightmove.co.uk for sale in Caldicot at the end of January 2022 was a one bedroom first floor apartment in Westfield Avenue at £120,000. The cheapest house was a three bedroom semi-detached in Kestral Close at £239,950. The most expensive was a six bedroom detached house in Deepweir Drive at £569,950.

February
ZONE TO BE UPGRADED
Plans for the refurbishment of the Zone Youth Centre at Caldicot cross were passed by Monmouthshire County Council. The work will be carried out along with further improvements to Church Road as part of regeneration plans for Caldicot. The building is owned by MCC and is operated with funding from MCC and Caldicot Town Council.
CLOSURE PLAN ABANDONED
Monmouthshire County Council abandoned plans to close part of Newport Road near the town centre as part of its ‘active travel’ programme following widespread local opposition. The road had been closed for three weeks in October 2021 as part of a pilot scheme.

March
AID FOR UKRAINIAN REFUGEES
A truck full of supplies travelled from Caldicot to the Ukrainian border following donations from the local community. The scheme was organised by Caldicot Town Team, led by Aaron Reeks. The donations were taken to a boarding school in Poland which had been converted into a home for Ukrainian women and children who had fled their homes following the Russian invasion of the country.
LOWER SPEED LIMITS
Speed limits on all roads within Caldicot were reduced to 20 mph as part of a pilot scheme introduced by Monmouthshire County Council in line with the Welsh Government’s policy of limiting all traffic in residential areas to 20 mph.
PLANS FOR START-UP SPACES
Plans to turn a redundant office site on the Severn Bridge Industrial Estate into ‘high quality’ spaces for start-up and growing businesses were lodged with Monmouthshire County Council.

April
STORE OPENING ABANDONED
Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian discount supermarket chain Mere has abandoned plans to open a store in Caldicot.
COUNCIL NOMINATIONS
Following the closing of nominations for candidates for election to Monmouthshire County Council and Caldicot Town Council it was announced that while all five Caldicot wards would be contested for the County Council, three Caldicot wards would be uncontested. The following would therefore be automatically elected:
Caldicot Cross: Peter Strong (Labour), Kerry Wreford-Bush (Liberal Democrat).
Dewstow: Tony Eswson (Labour), Maxine Mitchell (Labour), Frank Rowberry (Labour).
Severn: Kay Harris (Independent), Jim Higginson (Labour)
Elections for contested wards would be held on 5 May.
LAPTOPS DONATED
Newport-based Convey Law donated 12 laptops to The Zone Youth Centre in Caldicot. The Zone, which is open six days week, planned to use the laptops to help young people with homework or searching for jobs.

May
LABOUR SWEEPS THE BOARD IN COUNTY ELECTIONS
Labour won all five Caldicot seats in the Monmouthshire County Council elections held on 5 May. Tony Easson held Dewstow Ward, Maria Stevens held Severn Ward and Jill Bond took West End after longstanding Labour councillors Jim Higginson and Dave Evans retired. Rachel Garrett defeated the sitting Liberal Democrat, Jo Watkins, in Castle Ward. The newly created Caldicot Cross Ward was taken by Jackie Strong.
LABOUR CONTINUES TO DOMINATE TOWN COUNCIL
Following elections on 5 May and one subsequent co-option to a vacant seat in Caldicot Cross Ward, Labour held eleven of the sixteen seats on Caldicot Town Council, with the Liberal Democrats holding three, the Conservatives one, and one Independent.
UNHAPPY MOTORISTS
Many motorists who use the B4245 from Caldicot through to Magor expressed frustration at the introduction of a 20 mph speed limit on the road as part of a pilot scheme pending Welsh Government legislation to make 20 mph the default limit for all roads in residential areas in order to make them safer for pedestrians and cyclists.  While there was widespread support for the scheme on all other roads in Caldicot, many residents felt that as an arterial route, the B4245, and in particular the Caldicot by pass, should not be included.
A WALK TO THE PARK: John Griffith MS joined children from Castle park Primary School in a ‘Walk to School Week’ event.
CRIMINAL DAMAGE: Kevin Ring, 53, of Caerphilly, was ordered to pay £199 in a fine, costs and a surcharge after he admitted causing criminal damage to a double-glazed window in Caldicot on September 28, 2021.

June
CALDICOT CYCLIST KILLED:
Popular Caldicot sportswomen Rebecca Comins, 52, was killed after being hit by a van while cycling on the A40 near Raglan on 2nd June.  Mrs Commins was well known in Caldicot, having been a teaching assistant at Caldicot School before setting up her own sports massage business. She was masseuse at Caldicot Rugby Club.  A competitive cyclist and triathlete, she was due to compete in the British Sprint Championship. A man from the Abergavenny area was arrested on suspicion of causing death by careless driving, but was released under investigation.
DISUSED LINE TO BECOME SHARED PATH: Monmouthshire County Council revealed plans to open up part of the disused railway line between Portskewett and Caerwent, which runs along the edge of Caldicot Castle Country Park, as a cycleway and footpath as part of its ‘active travel’ programme. The railway line  was originally built to supply the Royal Naval Propellant Factory at Caerwent, which opened during World War Two, but has been unused for over 30 years. The scheme would open the line from Portskewett to Caldicot, with future plans to extend the shared path to Crick.
FLASHER JAILED: Julian Harris, 55, of Caldicot, was jailed for nine months after being convicted of exposing himself in front of children in a busy area of Caldicot. He had previously broken a number of court orders.
HOUSE PRICE WATCH: The cheapest property advertised on www.rightmove.co.uk for sale in Caldicot at the end of June 2022 was a one bedroom end of terrace in Keats Road at £179,950.    The most expensive was a six bedroom detached house in Deepweir Drive at £569,950.

July
LAST BANK TO CLOSE
Lloyd’s, the only bank remaining in Caldicot, announced that it would be closing in January 2023 as a result of declining use, with most of its customers switching to online banking. Customers were advised to use the post office for banking services.
MISSING MAN FOUND DEAD
The body of Caldicot man, Dean Upton, who had been missing since November 2021, was found in wasteland near Magor.
POLICE ACT AGAINST ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR
Police issued a dispersal order for Caldicot town centre for a number of weekends over the summer in an attempt to deal with outbreaks of anti-social behaviour.


August
BYPASS TO REVERT TO 30MPH
It was announced that after pressure from local councillors and members of the public, parts of the B4245 Caldicot bypass between Wooostock Way and the Mitel Roundabout, which had been reduced to 20 mph under the Welsh Government pilot scheme, would revert to 30 mph. It was pointed out that the stretch of road did not meet the criteria for 20 mph since houses lining the route did not have direct access to it.
ACTIVE TRAVEL SCHEME PROGRESSING
Work was progressing on the conversion of the disused railway line serving the old military site at Caerwent into a cycle path and walking route. Phase one would run from the ‘Cornfield’ at Portskewett to Caldicot Castle Country Park, while phase 2 would extend it as far as the A48 at Crick/Caerwent.
CHIP SHOP CLOSING
Jones’ Plaice, a popular Caldicot fish and chip shop, announced that it would be closing due to mounting costs.

September
NEW ORDERS IMPOSED
Police continued to use dispersal orders in their attempts to quell anti-social behaviour in the town centre,
RESIDENTS CALL FOR CUTS TO SPEED
77 residents of Birbeck Road presented a petition to MCC’s Place Scrutiny Committee complaining about speeding along the road. Cabinet member with responsibility for roads, Catrin Maby, reported that monitoring showed that average speeds were only just above 20 mph and recommended continued monitoring.

October
NEW HOUSING
Monmouthshire County Council announced that it would be selling land near Caldicot Comprehensive School to Monmouthshire Housing Association for the building of social housing.
GUILTY PLEA
Sam Wagner, aged 22 of Pill Row, Caldicot, was remanded in custody after pleading guilty to stabbing Corey James and to two separate counts possessing a bladed weapon.

November
POST OFFICE TO CLOSE
It was announced that McColl’s convenience store in Caldicot would close after the chain of shops was taken over by the Morrison’s supermarket chain. This would also mean the closure of the town’s main post office, which was based in the store. Residents pointed out that they had recently been advised to use the post office for banking services following the forthcoming closure of the Caldicot branch of Lloyd’s bank. It would also mean that there were no cash machines in the town centre, the nearest one being at the Asda store. Attempts were being made to find another outlet willing to host the post office.
REMEMBRANCE PLANS CRITICISED
Plans for Remembrance events to take place on the morning of Remembrance Sunday were criticised because the event did not include a parade. Town councillors pointed out that the arrangements had been made in full consultation with the Caldicot branch of the Royal British Legion and that services would take place at the Cross in the morning and at sunset. The morning service at the Cross would be followed by a church service at St Mary’s Church for those who wished to attend. In the event, all services were well attended.
NEW STORE
Caldicot Town Team announced that it would be leasing the old ‘Store 21’ following the collapse of Russian supermarket chain ‘Mir’ to open a branch in the building. The new store would be similar to an indoor market with a variety of stalls. It was also planned to provide activities for young people.

December
HUGE HOUSING DEVELOPMENT PLANNED OR CALDICOT
In unveiling the Replacement Local Development Plan (RDLP), Monmouthshire County Council announced plans for a development of 900 houses in an area referred to as ‘East Caldicot’. If approved, the development, which would be subject to wide consultation, would be on land currently part of the David Broom Equestrian Centre and Bradbury Farm at Crick. It would be built over the next 12 years and would include 68% socially rented housing. It would be accompanied by an infrastructure plan covering issues such as roads, health care and schools.
COUNCILLORS SUPPORT POST OFFICE
At its December meeting Monmouthshire County Council passed a motion pledging support for attempts to reopen a post office branch in the centre of Caldicot (See November 2022).
Proposing the motion, Councillor Jackie Strong (Caldicot Cross Ward) said: “Caldicot Post Office is a thriving business which is heavily used by residents. It is only homeless because of the decision by Morrisons to close the McColl’s store in which it is based. For many local people, as well as local businesses having access to cash, being able to bank cash deposits and make use of the many services a main post office offers is vital to them. Not everyone has access or is able to use online banking. The situation is particularly serious given that Lloyd’s, the only bank remaining in the town, is closing in January.”
Cllr Maria Stevens (Severn Ward) said: “I have been approached by local groups, small businesses and local residents who are very concerned about how they will be able to get access to the range of services the main Post Office is able to offer.
Cabinet member for a sustainable economy, Cllr Paul Griffiths, added that the council’s business support officers were working with the Post Office and businesses in Caldicot to test whether other businesses could host the Post Office.
TRIBUTES TO FORMER MAYOR
Tributes were paid to David Evans, a long standing town councillor, who died shortly before Christmas.
Caldicot’s current mayor, councillor Maxine Mitchell, said the council was “deeply saddened” by the death of the councillor. She added: “Dave has given so much of his life to serving Caldicot and also chaired the events committee, managed the carnival, Christmas lights and firework events for the community. The council are extremely grateful for his guidance, loyalty and commitment. His work and influence on council will leave a long legacy. He will be truly missed. Dave taught me a great deal and gave me his encouragement and support. I am very proud to have worked with him and honoured to have had his friendship.”
Councillor Evans was mayor of Caldicot on eight separate occasions and, until May 2022, represented West End Ward on the county council.
LOCAL AWARDS
Caldicot Town Team director Aaron Reeks was named ‘Volunteer of the Year’ at the South Wales Argus ‘Pride of Gwent’ awards. Caldicot School maths teacher Emma Baker was named as secondary school teacher of the year in the national Personal Finance Teacher of the Year Awards.
CATCHING THE TRAIN
In 2021/22 56,838 passengers used Caldicot train station.

 

<< 2021
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