With its distinctive green dome visible from a distance, the Newport Technical Institute building was opened at Clarence Place in 1910. It's state of abandonment has made it a talking point for the past few years.
- Home to the Newport Art College through the boom years of the 60s/70s, the building fell into a state of abondonment, neglect and serious deterioration following the college's removal (to the new Caerleon campus) many years ago.
- For the past few years the deteriorating state of the building has been a matter of running controversy in the local press and council chamber, as private developer's schemes failed to materialize and the building fell prey to the inevitable "planners blight".
- Finally, through 2007 and 2008, there are signs of the building's development - although people's comments in the local press have challenged the fate of the building as a luxury apartmenst complex, as opposed to its re-use as a public cultural facility for this unique riverside location.
Flickr: Comments on Newport Art College, Clarence Place (Photo taken 27 Feb 2006)
The first class public educational facility provided by the municipal "Newport Technical Institute" (and subsequently Art College) epitomizes the era of local municipal enterprise, and the new building in Clarence Place provided the very cynosure of civic pride. A clear contrast with today's world, beyond municipal enterprise.
Today's city space is re-cast as a template "entrepreneurial city" of the competitive city-region (- policy documents relate Newport's strategy framework to that of the North East of England), with its mix of public-private sector enterprise.
- Early in 2003 the building was entered on the Newport City Council's ‘List ofBuildings at Risk Through Neglect and Decay in the City of Newport’.
- In January 2007 Newport City Council intervened with an Urgent Works Notice in order to stabilize the building fabric of this listed building.
- With serious deterioration to the building fabric the months of 2007 ticked by, with faltering news of imminent building work by developers. The local press reported keenly on the appearance of scaffolding (June 2007) and a temporary roof (June 2008) - and such is its visible state at the time of writing November 2008. - The property developers said that the damage caused by vandalism to the building had added considerable cost to the project, and that this remedial work was the reason that there were no more visible exterior signs of progress with the building to date.
Riverside redevelopment: Luxury apartments ... and a new university campus
Reader's comments highlighted the city council's lack of vision and action to come up with a plan for re-use of this building for public cultural purposes, for the benefit of the people of the city at this unique river-side location.
The final irony is that Newport's city centre and Usk riverside development plans do include a new university campus building on the west bank of the river Usk, to include parts of the Business and Art schools ( - £35m campus building work begins, 30 June 2008; and here).
The following links document some recent responses to the abandoned building of the Newport Technical Institute, ca. 2003 - 2007.
"The Newport Technical Institute, more recently known as the Former Arts College, is a grade ll listed building which is in a serious state of disrepair. Early in 2003 the building was entered on the ‘List ofBuildings at Risk Through Neglect and Decay in the City of Newport’. Since this time, and despite a change of ownership and the grant of planning consent for a major conversion to flats, the condition of the building has continued to decline. At the present time there is uncertainty that the approved development will be implemented and as a consequence prompt action is required to stave off further decay (Newport City Council, Cabinet, Jan 2007)"
+ "newport technical institute" ( x )
South Wales Argus
+ "art college"
Jan 2007 | Newport City Council: Urgent Works Notice relating to the Former Arts College, Newport
Cabinet, January 2007 | Item No. : Additional | Item Subject: The Former Arts College, Clarence Place, Newport Urgent Works Notice - Update | Purpose To update Members regarding the present situation in respect of the Urgent Works Notice relating to the Former Arts College, Newport
1. The Newport Technical Institute, more recently known as the Former Arts College, is a grade ll listed building which is in a serious state of disrepair. Early in 2003 the building was entered on the ‘List ofBuildings at Risk Through Neglect and Decay in the City of Newport’. Since this time, and despite a change of ownership and the grant of planning consent for a major conversion to flats, the condition of the building has continued to decline. At the present time there is uncertainty that the approved development will be implemented and as a consequence prompt action is required to stave off further decay. 2. Section 54 of The Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 empowers local authorities to ‘execute any works which appear to them to be urgently necessary for the preservation of a listed building their area’. 3. The Planning Committee has delegated authority to the Head of Planning and Economic Regeneration to issue an Urgent Works Notice in respect of the former Arts College.
- City of Newport | Press release (nd) | Art College works commence
Work on restoring Newport’s historic former art college has started with scaffolders now on site.
The council has been in extensive talks behind the scenes with the building owners to bring forward the works on the delayed development.
The works are set to take around 12 weeks and will include installation of a temporary roof to allow the building to ‘dry’. Following this the construction of
luxury flats and leisure facilities will commence.
The council has been involved in detailed negotiations with the owners of the building to resolve issues over car parking arrangements and scaffolding.
Councillor Bob Bright, leader of the council, said:
”This is something we have waited a long time to see and we expect to see the development now proceed swifty and smoothly and this landmark building brought back into use.
“There is no doubt that in everyone’s mind the regeneration of the riverside area would not be complete without this building’s restoration. The city council has driven this forward through extensive negotiations to prevent further delays – it has been frustrating at times but we have always made our intentions clear that this building will be retained and developed.”
The council ensured that George Wimpey’s City Reach development of around 400 apartments is to include a open public square on land in front of the college to showcase the former art college building.
- South Wales Argus | Art College scaffold finally goes up | 11:51am Friday 29th June 2007
South Wales Argus
+ "art college"
Roof goes up on Art College
4:27pm Tuesday 3rd June 2008
WORK to protect one of Newport's much-loved buildings from further damage is under way.
A temporary roof is being installed on the former art college and technical institute.
It is another step towards the proposed refurbishment and conversion of the landmark building into luxury apartments.
Community leaders and residents have expressed concern over the future of the former college for a number of years.
About £1 million worth of damage was caused to the much-loved building by vandals and the broken windows left the inside of the grade-ll building vulnerable to the weather.
Specialist scaffolding took some months to erect but the temporary roof is finally being put in place.
Final decision imminent on art college
10:16am Thursday 8th May 2008
A FINAL decision on the main contractor for the conversion of Newport's former art college is "imminent", says the project's architect.
Mr Merritt also revealed that all the costings of the project had to be reviewed because of the £1 million worth of damage caused to the former technical institute and art college by vandals.
"It is a significant amount of money and will, therefore, come as no surprise to realise that, while the client is very keen that the end product is going to be something they and the city are going to be proud of, it has been necessary to review the the costings of just about every item."
He added that because the building was grade-ll listed, any potential savings or variations had to go through a number of council departments although he praised the co-operation given by the authority.
He said work on installing a temporary roof should have begun last week.
Art college work set to start (yes, really!)
2:29pm Sunday 30th September 2007
LONG running saga could be near an end
WORKERS are set to move into the former Newport Art College next week in the next stage towards its restoration.
Proposals to covert the landmark into luxury apartments were announced in and given the go-ahead.
Some scaffolding has gone up recently but this has paused for design work on a temporary roof, explained architect Michael Merritt.
It was felt this was the best way to be able to carry out repairs to the roof, roof lights and windows.
But clearing out of the building is now due to start at the beginning of next week and is likely to take several weeks, he told the Argus.
He said it was hoped to recover a lot of the original features from the grade-ll listed building.
"It has to be done with a little bit more sensitivity and we have to make sure that we keep any bits that can be returned to effective use."
He accepted it was frustrating for people waiting to see progress on the much-loved building.
"Everybody has to appreciate that because it is a listed building it is not like an ordinary building and even the scaffolding, which has to be put up for safety reasons, cannot go up without reference to the council's conservation officer," said Mr Merritt. (...)
Art College scaffold finally goes up
11:51am Friday 29th June 2007
THE first sections of scaffolding are being erected outside the former Newport Art College - the first step on the path towards the building's restoration.
After lengthy delays, sub-contractors yesterday began putting up scaffolding along a section of the building fronting the river Usk.
The work is due to take 12 weeks and will include installation of a temporary roof to allow the Grade II-listed building to "dry".
Following this, 63 one-to four-bedroomed apartments will be built, along with a swimming pool, gym and spa complex, and sauna and steam rooms.
Work had been due to begin last week, but no progress was made, and the delays led to increasing concerns being voiced by Newport city council and residents.
It is more than eight months since the council lost patience and issued an urgent repairs notice requiring developers First Investment and Finance to carry out work to protect the building from further damage.
Gaping holes in the roof and damage through water, fire and vandalism have gradually weakened the Clarence Place building, which has lain empty for several years.
Project architect Michael Merritt has told the Argus there have been complications due to the building's listed status.
Council leader Bob Bright said: "This is something we've waited a long time to see and we expect to see the development now proceed swifty and smoothly and this landmark building brought back into use.
"It's been frustrating at times but we've always made our intentions clear that this building will be retained and developed."
Turv, Newport&Cwmbran says...
1:43pm Fri 29 Jun 07
I think the building should have been CPO'ed years ago, and brought into use as a public facility - this fine old building could be fronted by a green space onto the river and used as an arts centre/theatre instead of the eyesore contraption on the other side of the river.
In my opinion the development of expensive apartments, well out of reach of the average Newportonian, is a waste.
etheridge, newport says...
2:03pm Fri 29 Jun 07
Hear, hear Mr Turv! - the long neglect of the Art College building has been a scandal and the site should have been secured as a public cultural facility.
Where's the vision?
The waterfront should be opened to the people of Newport.
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3:38pm Fri 29 Jun 07
Etheridge, clearly you've not read "The Vision". It's available at Newport Unlimited's web site.
FIRST step taken towards building's restoration
Further delay to art college work
3:00pm Friday 22nd June 2007
Contractors fail to erect scaffolding at Newport landmark
Relief as Art College work set for start
10:53am Monday 18th June 2007
REPAIR work due this week.
ARGUS COMMENT...Hope at last for Art College
11:31am Friday 15th June 2007
WE hope frustrations are finally over for restoration of city's historic building
Art College repair work to start
10:17am Friday 15th June 2007
LONG-AWAITED work to save Newport's Art College due next week
Buyers line up for college apartments
9:19am Friday 6th April 2007
Comments (8) Have your say »
IT might not look like your dream home right now, but already more than 1,000 people are queuing up to buy luxury apartments in Newport's former art college.
And given the alluring promises from architects and developers it is not surprising.
The 63 one to four bedroom apartments - many with river views - will share a communal swimming pool, gym and spa complex with sauna and steam rooms.
The grand entrance will keep its original coliseum pillars, terrazzo flooring and sweeping staircase, while the apartments will blend traditional features with modern fittings.
Three penthouses will have roof gardens and one will include the building's iconic dome, which will offer the owner a 360 degree panoramic view of the city.
Developers say the crumbling building could be transformed before the end of next year.
They are keen to put an end to scepticism about the future of the Grade II listed building which overlooks the river in Newport's city centre.
The former college, built in 1910 as a technical institute, has huge holes in the roof, water damage, and has been plagued by vandalism and fires.
In October, Newport council lost patience with developers First Investment and Finance, and issued the company with an urgent repairs notice to carry out work to protect the building from further damage.
But developers say full permission was only granted six months ago and that massive amounts of behind the scenes work was needed before work could start.
Bristol-based architect Michael Merritt said: "There has been hundreds of thousands of pounds of damage caused to this building. If we could have started building work three years ago, we would have done it."
Developers also rejected rumours they plan to sell the building without carrying out the work.
David Bance of First Investment and Finance developers said: "We are totally committed to this building.
"Over the last two and a half years we have had eight approaches from people wanting to buy the building. But we did not want to sell then and we don't want to sell now."
Next, workers needed to remove vast amounts of debris on the site left by squatters and vandals, and get construction underway.
FLATS START FROM £129,000
It is hoped work will start within 12 weeks and will take an estimated 15 months.
The flats will be launched in coming weeks by Savills selling agents.
One-bedroom flats are expected to start from £129,000 but no price has been fixed for the unique penthouses.
To join the 1,000 people who have already applied for an apartment contact Savills on 01179 100352.
Work starts on former Art College
11:14am Monday 5th February 2007
Workmen have now moved onto the site of city landmark.
Shocking state inside art college
3:01pm Thursday 11th January 2007
PICTURES show how bad landmark has deteriorated.
Huge holes in the roof and smashed windows mean that rain pours through into the fabric of the old Art College building at Clarence Place.
Frustrated Newport council chiefs have given developers who want to tun the building into luxury flats a repairs notice which ends tomorrow and council planning officials were meeting today to decide whether to take further action.
The council issued the developers with the repairs notice in October, which will force them to carry out work on the Grade II-listed building.
The repairs notice, under The Planning Act 1990, is the first step towards a compulsory purchase order of the building.
It forces the owners to carry out preservation works, which, if ignored, will lead to an urgent works notice being issued under which the council will carry out the work and bill the owners.
The council has lost patience with the developers, who were granted planning permission two years ago for 63 luxury flats with swimming pool, gym and sauna.
The scheme's architect claims work will begin by the end of the month, but the council's planning committee heard from officers that unless action to weatherproof the landmark is taken by the end of the week an urgent work notice will be served. (...)
4:52pm Thu 11 Jan 07
The council should be discusted with them selves leaving this go on for so long. The building is beautiful and the council should take firm action to restore this building and use it to promote Newport not as just another council downfall in protecing listed buildings but to restoring some of our history.
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4:58pm Thu 11 Jan 07
Laura well said!!
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Jeff Parry, says...
5:04pm Thu 11 Jan 07
This is an oft-repeated story. A developer buys a listed building and applies for planning permission. Then the building is left unattended for a few years before being demolished as it is to far gone to repair.
We've already had the problems of the redevelopment of the Westgate Hotel, Westgate Chambers and the demolition of other old Newport buildings. What next?
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5:11pm Thu 11 Jan 07
Yet another example of our beloved Council 'looking after' our Cities heritage. Sold or given to developers for what was probably a pittance, developers who promised much and delivered so very little while the good people of Newport have to put up with one of the few worthwhile buildings in the City turning into an eyesore. So we hear that a small fortune is to be spent by our Council on of all things new doors for the Museum and Library in John Frost Square. Why not compulsary purchase the Art College and return it to it's former glory to house the Museum, Art Gallery and Library? Come on Newport Council, do something that we can be proud of for a change!
7:48pm Thu 11 Jan 07
What a brilliant idea from stuart!
I cant believe that that newport council has let this stunning resource come to this..I went to college there in the early 80's and felt priviliged to study in such an awesomely beautiful building.What is so shocking-they spent 5 million paying for such a useless, incongruous, footbridge. Butthen Isuppose there was no lucrative contract for mr Hoppe in the art college?
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john sicola, says...
8:31pm Thu 11 Jan 07
I have contacted the council about turning the old college into a leading music venue, i have plans to call it the john peel studios, and as we see in tj's lots of under18's getting teenage kicks.
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9:41am Fri 12 Jan 07
I think that turning the old art college into an art gallery or museum is a brilliant idea!! If they turned the area in front into a plublic place with benches etc.and some nice arty sculptures it would be a lovely place to go to!!
NOMENCLATURE: "NEWPORT TECHNICAL INSTITUTE"
newport.ac.uk | History of the University
Significant Dates and Events
This webpage contains the significant dates in the history of the University of Wales, Newport
1841 Opening of Mechanics Institute, Newport
1872 Classes in Art and Science begin under the Free Library Committee
1882 New building opened in Dock Street, Newport
1886 Teacher training classes begin
1889 Technical Education Act
1891 Newport Technical School opened
1894 - 5 Single institution created for Art and Science
1898 New premises opened at 24 Bridge Street Separation of Art Department and Science, Technology & Commerce Two Heads appointed
1899 Clarence Place land bought from Lord Tredegar
1908 Teacher training college at Caerleon suggested
1909 Foundation stone laid at Clarence Place
1910 Newport Technical Institute opened at Clarence Place
1912 Foundation stone laid at Caerleon Training College
1914-18 World War One 12 Caerleon students killed in the war
1915 Schools of Art and Science, Technology and Commerce combined under single Principal
1919 Newport Technical Institute renamed “The County Borough of Newport Technical College and Institute”
1923 Ordinary National Certificates offered for the first time
1934 Name changed to “Newport Technical College”
1938 Higher National Certificates offered for the first time
1939 – 45 World War Two College used to troop lectures and evacuees 19 Caerleon students killed in the war
1940 – 41 Classes run by Ministry of Labour
1944 Education Act
1950 Board of Governors given more power to run Caerleon College of Education
1958 Opening of Newport and Monmouthshire College of Technology. Closure of Newport Technical College.Clarence Place continues as Newport and Monmouthshire College of Art.
1962 Female students admitted to Caerleon College of Education for the first time
1972 White Paper “Education for Expansion” suggests merger of colleges
1975 Colleges merge to become “Gwent College of Higher Education” Four new faculties created
1985 New Art and Design building opens at Caerleon Campus
1987 First degree ceremony held at Newport
1992 Fire at Caerleon Campus GCHE leaves Gwent County Council control
1994 Student Village opens at Caerleon Campus
1995 GCHE granted taught degree awarding powers
1996 GCHE formally changes to University of Wales College, Newport
2003 Becomes a full Constituent Institution of the University of Wales and is renamed the University of Wales, Newport