NEWPORT’s residents will have the chance to take over running the town visitor centre, the national park has agreed, after previously deciding to terminate services in the building.

Members of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority agreed on Wednesday, November 29 to dispose of the Long Street building, as decided at their September meeting, with the caveat they would offer the community the opportunity to run the centre before considering the open market.

This process, known as a Community Asset Transfer (CAT), was suggested to the national park when Newport Town Council made an expression of interesting in taking over the building.

Gary Meopham, a national park officer, explained that in order to conduct the CAT process properly the visitor centre would have to be advertised to any community group or individual who felt they could make a business case for the building.

He said he expected the whole process of finding a suitable candidate to run the centre could take between six and nine months.

Cllr Di Clements raised concerns about what presence the national park would have in the visitor centre if it were run by a community group.

“I am impressed with Newport Town Council’s proposal and I think they need to be commended on bringing that forward.

“But I am struggling with the recommendation. We didn’t vote not to have a presence in Newport at the last meeting,” she said.

Tegryn Jones, national park chief executive, said the park was still open to working with groups in Newport to provide tourist information, as part of a new approach to spread tourist support more thinly across a larger area, and using digital technology.

Sandra Bayes, secretary of Save Newport Visitor centre said: “Because members have accepted that they voted for an integrated Library and Visitor Service, albeit in the wrong building, and recognise that is what the community and visitors want, they have agreed that Newport Visitor Centre could now be acquired by a community organisation through a Community Asset Transfer and be used for a Visitor Service and Library.

“Newport Town Council has already submitted an expression of interest in acquiring the building, but the process will take some months.

“The task now is to encourage the national park to keep the Newport Visitor Service operating from the centre in the interim.”

The Save Newport Visitor Centre’s website can be found at