NEWPORT Town Council looks set to take over the running of the town’s former visitor centre at Long Street.

The council has been in talks with the building’s owners, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, which voted to close the visitor centre in November last year and proposed selling the building on the open market.

However, before doing this it was agreed that the authority should invite local groups to make applications under the principle of Community Asset Transfer (CAT).

Now a meeting of the Park Authority on Wednesday May 16 is being recommended to allow the town council to step in to run the building.

A report to authority members states: “The council have long advocated the importance of the subject building as a hub for the delivery of local public facing services and an opinion that information to visitors should be available from the premises during the economically important summer visitor season via a traditional face-to-face approach.

“Members are reminded that the building is presently shut. To facilitate the reopening of the premises under the long term control and management of the council, your officers have now reached an early agreement with the council in their capacity as a prospective tenant.

“In summary the proposed lease terms would see the Authority’s now operationally surplus premises passing into the control of the council for a term of 30 years on full repairing and insuring terms at a peppercorn rental. The permitted use of the building will be limited and restricted to the council’s community aims and objectives

“Members are advised that despite selecting the council as a preferred party, the authority is under no obligation to proceed with them and that during the period since the March 2018 NPA meeting, your officers have made clear to the council that the proposed lease terms as outlined above have been offered subject to obtaining a resolution of the authority.

“If members grant the proposed new lease, the authority will still retain its pre-existing freehold interest.”