New plans filed for former Orb Steelworks site in Newport

The former Orb Steelworks plant in Newport could be divided into several smaller units, with the aim of bringing the now closed factory back into operation.

Located just off Stephenson Street in the city, the huge factory has been empty since July 2020.

But, even before that, it was a shadow of its former self, with just 11 workers remaining on site on its last day of operation.

A number of plans have since followed to attempt to reuse either the factory aspect of the site or the administration building, but, to date, none have yielded results.

Now there is hope that a new program could find use for more than 68,000 square feet of industrial space.

On Monday, June 27, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) notice for a proposed change of use of the site was submitted to Newport City Council for consideration.

Although not a formal planning request at this stage, it describes what might happen to the site.

According to these plans, the huge industrial building would be divided into five smaller buildings.

Other documents suggest that these individual buildings could then be divided into smaller units.

Although not much information has been provided at this time, it appears to be hoped that creating smaller units will increase the likelihood of finding a use for the site.

Why is the site currently empty?

On July 3, 2020, the last workers left the Orb Steelworks site, ending here 122 years of industry.

For half a century it was owned by Lysaght before finally becoming part of British Steel and then European Electrical Steels in 1991.

The plant was so important to the city that the Newport Conveyor Bridge was built beside it, in order to move steel over the Usk.

It then became part of the Cogent division of Tata in 2001.

But, despite being the UK’s only electrical steel producer, Tata put the site up for sale and, failing to find a buyer, the site went out of business in 2019.

The Argus led a campaign to save the steel mill from closing and started a petition in 2019, aiming to help around 400 people who were at risk of losing their jobs. Hundreds of people also joined a march through the city that year.

The EIA screening application can be found online here.