Council secures future of Transporter Bridge with £8.75m National Lottery heritage grant

Posted on Friday 22nd January 2021

Newport City Council has successfully secured an £8.75m grant to help turn the Newport Transporter Bridge into a major tourist attraction.

The successful bid from the council to the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) will allow us to repair and preserve the structure and open a new visitor centre at the site.  

The council has also allocated £1m from its capital budget to the project, without which we would not have been able to secure the bigger grant, and is exploring a number of other avenues with the aim of securing further funding.

The new centre, which will be linked to the bridge via a walkway, will allow us to bring the history of the bridge to life through showcasing the personal stories of those who designed, built and use the bridge.

Facilities at the centre will include a café, toilets and changing facilities, shop, exhibition gallery and community space.

There will also be more car parking spaces for visitors and an exciting activities programme including theatrical performances, art classes and mindfulness sessions.

The restoration of the bridge will include work on the gondola, which will see the reinstatement of a number of its architectural features, as well as improvements to the approach road on the eastern side of the bridge.

Refurbishment will also be carried out on the main boom, and a number of cables will be replaced.

Cllr Jane Mudd, leader of the council, said “The Transporter Bridge is an icon of Newport, and a significant part of the story of Wales’ industrial past, one that we need to preserve for future generations so that we can tell the stories of our shared history. I’m therefore delighted that we have been able to secure this funding from NHLF which will allow us to do exactly that.

“The restoration of the bridge is also important from a regeneration perspective. The development of a new visitor centre has the potential to create both job and volunteering opportunities, and enhance the city’s reputation as a visitor destination, both of which will bring wider economic benefits to Newport.”

Andrew White, director of The National Lottery Heritage Fund in Wales said:

“Thanks to National Lottery players, Newport Transporter Bridge – one of the most important historic landmarks in Wales - has been safeguarded for future generations.

“This investment, the third largest we have ever made in Wales, will help sustain jobs, support economic growth, drive tourism and create a sense of pride in Newport’s unique heritage.

“We are proud of the investment we have made in Wales – more than £410 million over the past 26 years. After a year of providing emergency support to Welsh heritage organisations hit by COVID-19, we will shortly be reopening applications for National Lottery project grants and look forward to funding many more important heritage attractions across Wales.”

Cllr Debbie Harvey, cabinet member for culture and leisure, said: “We have worked incredibly hard to get to this point and our thanks go out to every single person who has supported, contributed and helped us raise awareness of this important project.

“I can’t wait for the work to begin and see a reinvigorated transporter bridge emerge on our city’s skyline.”

The bridge will remain closed to visitors while the work is carried out, and is expected to reopen in March 2023. An engagement programme will offer residents the chance to be involved in the redevelopment project during the closure, and you can follow the bridge on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates during the project.

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