WILD-LIFE WORRIES AS VALE COUNCIL SCALPS THE PENARTH ESCARPMENT

The scalped escarpment. And no one knows what's happened to the wildlife.

The scalped escarpment. And no one knows what’s happened to the wildlife.

Residents of the St Augustine’s Ward in Penarth are raising concerns this week after the apparently-arbitrary felling of scores of trees growing on the steep escarpment overlooking Penarth Marina .

A firm of tree surgeons – working under contract to the Vale of Glamorgan Council – had started work last week on what was then assumed to be a modest tree-trimming and pollarding operation, and just an ancillary operation to the clearance of the Dock Hill Woodland Path (http://tinyurl.com/p4zes3a)

The reason given for felling scores of trees is to "improve the view" from this public bench.

The reason given for felling scores of trees is to “improve the view” from two small public benches.

The stated idea of the tree surgery was to “improve the view” from two small public benches on  Paget Terrace both of which overlook the controversial children’s play area – that’s the one in which the Vale Council controversially wants to built a 105 foot long concrete skateboard park  (see http://tinyurl.com/kaemabf)

What actually happened to the trees was something very different from what local residents were expecting. Rather than a modest bit of tree-surgery the operation has turned out to be a wholesale tree-felling operation.

An entire stand of trees has been reduced to sawdust - or firewood

An entire stand of trees has been reduced to sawdust – or firewood

Chainsaws have been deployed to fell a well over a score of healthy trees which are then lowered by crane to the commandeered boatyard below where they are being  reduced to sawdust or sold to firewood contractors.

The natural habitat of many of  the birds and animals that lived in the woodland appears to have been destroyed – leaving just a vista of tree stumps.

Another tree receives the attention of a contracted woodman

Another tree receives the attention of a woodman

One resident said “I have no idea how the Vale of Glamorgan Council can justify  the removal of scores of trees. I was told that maybe up to three Ash trees may have to be removed due to disease and other trees would be pollarded. How did the Vale Council assess the impact upon wildlife? The bats have now disappeared from around Penarth Marina. What has happened to the foxes? I thought that Bats were a protected species?”

There appears to have been no consultation with local people on this project and  no record of Penarth Town Council having discussed the plan.

 

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PLUNGE IN SHARE PRICE OF PENARTH-BASED PLC EKF

A 6 month share graph of EKF showing this morning’s dramatic plunge

The price of shares in EKF – the medical diagnostics company based in Penarth –  plunged by 15% on the stock market today following a statement from the  firm warning that  financial results for the year ended 31 December 2014 are “expected to be below consensus expectations“. 

At midday the share price was down at 23 pence from a closing price of 27 pence yesterday.

EKF Diagnostics logo

EKF Diagnostics logo

The company – based at Avon House in Stanwell Road – expects that unaudited revenues for the year to 31 December 2014 will show “at least an increase of 24% on the previous year to £39.5m” and the second half is expected to show a “substantial improvement on the growth seen in the first half of the year, despite the continued negative impact of exchange rates”  – estimated at around £1.9m over the year.

The firm's HQ is at Avon House, in Stanwell Road Penarth

The firm’s HQ is at Avon House, in Stanwell Road Penarth

The company says its cash position remains strong, with unaudited cash balances as at 31 December 2014 expected to be in excess of £8.5m , with a net cash position of around £3.0m.

EKF says it “remains confident of strong growth in 2015, both from the continued strong organic growth, but also through a full year contribution from the three recent acquisitions”.   A more detailed year-end trading update will be issued before the end of January 2015.

EKF's CEO - Penarth's Julian Baines

EKF’s CEO – Penarth’s Julian Baines

Julian Baines, CEO of EKF commented: “We are expecting to deliver a solid performance over the year with earnings still expected to be up by nearly a third. In particular, the final quarter revenues of 2014 are expected to be at least £14.2m, by far our strongest performing quarter ever and this is a good indication of the momentum that we are building across the Company. We are now well placed to drive further growth in the next financial year and I look forward to providing a further update following the year-end.”

 

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CRIME IN PENARTH INCREASES BY OVER 30% IN JUST A MONTH

Police patrolling on Windsor Rd Penarth today

Police patrolling on Windsor Rd Penarth in November – a month in which crime rose

Penarth Town Council was told last night that there has been a 30% increase in crime in the town – with the number of crimes rising from 54 in October 2014  to 71 in November 2014.

Briefing councillors and the current crime situation, Sergeant Ioan Jones of Penarth Police station reported large increases in the incidence of shoplifting and in theft from motor vehicles  – plus an increase in crimes of violence.

The crimes reported in November are listed below with the figure for October in brackets alongside:-

  • Burglary 6 (6)
  • Criminal Damage 10 (11)
  • Drugs 1 (2)
  • Other offences 1 (2)
  • Other Theft (mostly shoplifting) 22 (12)
  • Sexual Offences 2 (2)
  • Theft from Motor Vehicles 7 (3)
  • Theft of Motor Vehicles 2 (0)
  • Violence against the Person 20 (16)

The figures include 11 “domestic incidents” (7 in October) and 8 “assaults with injury” (5 in October) .

Sgt Ioan Jones of Penarth Police Station

Sgt Ioan Jones of Penarth Police Station

Sergeant Jones told councillors that in the operation to clamp-down on shoplifting the use of the single phone number issued to retailers and pubs (the so-called “Batphone” carried by duty Police Community Support Officers)    had been very successful in eliminating switchboard delay.

Sgt Jones said of the 12 shoplifting incidents reported in the period from December 1st to 6th , 8 had been “detected” and 3 people had been arrested and charged. Two suspects had been identified for other outstanding offences who were also linked to thefts in Whitchurch ,Cardiff.  There had been a shoplifting case in WH Smiths in which a pen had been stolen.

Sgt Jones said that all the shoplifters came from the Cardiff area – none came from Barry or Penarth. He told councillors that in the same category of “other thefts” a female had been remanded  and an outstanding suspect – a male – had been involved in making off without payment from filling stations and using stolen number plates in Dinas Powys and in the Tesco’s Penarth. The female, he said, had been charged. They had been what he described as a “two person crime wave“.

The filling station at Tesco Penarth where drivers wearing hoodies filled jerrycans with "free" petrol

The filling station at Tesco Penarth where drivers wearing hoodies filled jerrycans with “free” petrol

Sgt Jones said the police had also had an “issue with Tesco’s” who were – he said – authorising the dispensing of fuel without looking to identify to whom they were serving the fuel –  and were even permitting unidentified “customers” to fill their tank and then fill jerrycans in their boot.

The fuel thieves were wearing “hoodies” he said – and “not showing themselves”  . At no time had Tesco stopped the fuelling. The supermarket has now been given “crime prevention advice”.  The activities of this couple had been responsible for the majority of “other thefts” reported.

Sgt Jones said that there had been 17 more crimes in November compared with October. Burglary figures   (6) were the same in both months  . He told councillors that a “female” had been charged that very day (December 16th 2014 ) with   ” a couple of those burglaries”  in addition to burglaries committed in Cardiff. The alleged burglar’s partner was “still outstanding” – but believed to be in the Barry area.

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines) asked whether the increase in crime was “seasonal”.  Sgt Jones said there did tend to be spikes in shoplifting and there had been one in the summer.  Details of shoplifters seen in Penarth were sent to Cardiff where Cardiff officers often recognised “prolific shoplifters”  who were not known by sight to Penarth officers. Shoplifters. he said. tended to go to areas where they were “not so well-known” by shops or local police.

Cllr Amber Courtney (Labour Stanwell)

Cllr Amber Courtney (Labour Stanwell)

Cllr Amber Courtney (Labour Stanwell) said the headteacher at Victoria Primary school had received a number of complaints from parents about “dangerous driving in the area around pick-up and drop-off times” . The problem extended to the Masonic Hall. The headteacher had asked if it was possible to have more police presence at   key times. Sgt Jones said he would tell the local PCSOs.

Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell)

Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell)

Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell) echoed Cllr Courtney’s remarks. Motorists were causing danger to small children and parents and he would appreciate action on this.

Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell)

Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell)

Cllr Neil Thomas ( Labour Cornerswell) said when there were incidents of domestic violence this could have an impact on school children and their behavior .  In Bridgend the police were informing the schools about such incidents [involving the families of pupils]  but this was not happening in Penarth. He asked Sgt Jones to find out whether the local policy in Penarth could be changed.

Sgt Jones said information was shared with other agencies including education authorities and schools.

Cllr Rosemary Cook (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Rosemary Cook (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Rosemary Cook (Labour St Augustines) told Sgt Jones about traffic problems outside a new nursery set up at Bethel Chapel in Plassey St

Cllr Rhiannon Birch (Labour Cornerswell)

Cllr Rhiannon Birch (Labour Cornerswell)

Cllr  Rhiannon Birch (Labour Cornerswell) highlighted double parking by lorries servicing Sainsbury’s and Kitchener and Thomas –  and three delivery vans parked on the bus stop at Windsor Road. She was “quite concerned about the amount of very poor parking” . Tescos were also still coning off parking bays in Hickman Road not only to deliver but to take away material for recycling.

Cllr Roberts said he and his daughter one morning  had witnessed the whole of Penarth being gridlocked by inconsiderate parking. More strict enforcement was needed he said.

The Mayor of Penarth Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

The Mayor of Penarth Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

The Mayor of Penarth Cllr Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward) suggested the police should write to the major retailers in the town about the  problem.

Cllr Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Anthony Ernest suggested the Vale Council should take action regarding adjustments in the waiting times at loading bays.

Cllr Clive Williams  said that in France lorries were only allowed to deliver in the towns in the evenings.

Sgt Jones is now going to write to the major retailers to enlist their co-operation

 

 

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PENARTH COUNCILLORS APPROVE OPERA-STAR’S ULTRA-MODERN HOUSE IN PARK ROAD

The East-facing rear of the proposed new house will have panoramic windows

The East-facing rear of the proposed new ultra-modern house will have panoramic windows

There are unconfirmed reports that the new house of Park Road is to be built for opera star Rebecca Evans

There are unconfirmed reports that the new house of Park Road is to be built for opera star Rebecca Evans

Penarth Town Council’s planning committee voted last night to recommend approval of a plan to build an ultra-modern luxury home in the town’s exclusive Park Road.

There are unconfirmed reports that the  development is being carried out for the famous Welsh opera star  Rebecca Evans and her husband –  but the name of the owner was not mentioned in last night’s planning committee meeting.

The house is to be built on the eastern side of Park Road on the site of 12 Park Road –  a 1950’s-era detached dwelling which is to be demolished.

There had been an original scheme to build two side-by-side detached houses on the site – but this has been supplanted by a new scheme  to build a single modern – larger, but lower,  house which architects say  “addresses the levels, site and issues of sustainability in a more appropriate manner”.

A street view of the proposed new house at 12 Park Road

A street view of the proposed new house at 12 Park Road

The existing 1950's house at 12 Park Road Penarth is to be demolished

The existing 1950’s house at 12 Park Road Penarth is to be demolished

The planning application says the new house will be designed to sit better within the existing surroundings with large panoramic windows to the rear giving an aspect to the south-east.   The new house would also be accessible for a “personal luggie scooter”. 

The eastern side of Park Road is not within the Penarth Conservation Area although the Western (inland) side of the street is. 

Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell)

Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell)

In last night’s planning committee meeting the chairman Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell) invited comments initially from the members representing Plymouth Ward – in which the proposed development would stand.

Cllr Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward) said he could understand the demolition of the existing property the new dwelling would have “no sympathy with all the existing dwellings  both new and very old as well”. He said “whilst it’s nice to see modern architecture I’m not sure this type of modern architecture is appropriate to this particular location. There should be something which respects the sympathy of the rest of the conservation area which surrounds it.

Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward ) said he tended to agree with Cllr Ernest in terms of the design of the building but said “I don’t think that’s any reason   for us to refuse planning. It’s not in the Conservation Area as far as I understand . Provided it meets the regulations we can’t object to it”.

Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward) said that the two people who own the existing 1950’s property (which would be demolished to make way for the new house) had rung him up to tell him how pleased they were with the proposed development and that “they would like to see it go forward”. Cllr Williams said “usually you get neighbours who say they are not happy ” – who normally ring to object . It was exceptional to have local support for a scheme – he said. “I would be happy with this” Cllr Williams said.

Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines) Leader of Penarth Town Council came third

Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines) Leader of Penarth Town Council

Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines)  said he thought it was worth noting that Loyn [ the architects ] had recently won a major architecture prize for the design of an individual dwelling on Gower. “I sometimes despair of arguments which are always about the existing character and not moving things on” he said. Cllr Cuddy thought this would be a “stupendous building which is going to enhance the area markedly”.

Cllr Janice Birch (Labour Stanwell)

Cllr Janice Birch (Labour Stanwell)

Cllr Janice Birch (Labour Stanwell) agreed. The new design was much lower than previous designs. She said “Loyn and company produce good-looking buildings – for heaven’s sake let’s have something good-looking.” She said “I would like to see the house there and I propose approval”.

The committee voted to recommend the application. The final decision will be made by the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

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GREEN PARTY DUO RE-ELECTED AS LEADER AND DEPUTY LEADER

Pippa Bartolotti (left) was re-elected Wales Green party Leader and Anthony Slaughter (right) elected her deputy.

Pippa Bartolotti (left) was re-elected Leader of the  Wales Green party and Anthony Slaughter (right) elected her deputy.

Penarth landscape architect –  and chairman of the local environmental group Gwyrddio Penarth Greening –  has been re-elected as Deputy Leader of the Wales Green Party.

At the same election, the party’s controversial leader –  Pippa Bartolotti – also held onto her post as the Wales Green Party’s Leader . She said “I am thrilled that our members have shown such extraordinary support to both Anthony and myself in this way”.

Anthony Slaughter said “It is a real privilege to serve as Wales Green Party Deputy Leader and I am honoured and pleased to have been re-elected for a second year by our members “. He  added that he was looking forward to “working together with Pippa” and party members across Wales.

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POLICE SEARCH FOR MISSING MAN LAST SEEN IN LLANDOUGH

Missing man Walizada

Missing man Obaidullah  Walizada

Police are appealing for  information about a man reported missing – and last seen in the Llandough area.

He is  Obaidullah Walizada (25)  who was last seen in Llandough at around 12.30pm on Friday, December 12. He is described as being 5 feet 10 inches tall with short, straight black hair and a full beard and moustache.

Mr Walizada also has connections with the Roath area of Cardiff .

Police are concerned about the welfare of Mr Walizada and are appealing for anyone who may know of his location to contact them on 101 or via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 quoting reference 1400463279.

They also ask Mr Walizada himself to contact the police.

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NIGHT-TIME RIVER RESCUE CARRIED OUT BY PENARTH’S FIRE & RESCUE BOAT

Penarth Fire engine at the Barrage tonight

Penarth Fire engine at the Barrage tonight

The South Wales Fire and rescue boat heading out from the Barrage

The South Wales Fire and rescue boat heading out from the Barrage

Penarth fire-fighters took to the cold waters of Cardiff Bay last night to rescue a man spotted in the River Taff at Grangetown, Cardiff

The Penarth crew was ferried to the Barrage by fire engine where they launched the South Wales Fire and Rescue Boat from its berth on Cardiff Barrage .

One of the earliest reports of the incident came from Plaid Cymru prospective parliamentary candidate  for Cardiff South and Penarth Dafydd Trystan. He alerted his followers on “Twitter” that there was somone in the River Taff near the Penarth Road bridge.

It was a joint operation between coastguards and firefighters

It was a joint operation between coastguards and firefighters

It so happened that Penarth Coastguard were already on exercise in the area were first on the scene  A coastguard officer  brought the casualty to the river’s edge assisted by the South Wales Fire and Rescue team.   The casualty  – a 51 year old man from Butetown – was carried unconscious the steep bank using fire-service ladders and handed over to an ambulance crews for medical assistance.

The South Wales Fire and Rescue Service later confirmed that a “male” had been rescued from the River Taff at Grangetown and had been taken by ambulance to hospital in Cardiff.

 

PENARTH TOWN CENTRE EMERGENCY

An ambulance and a paramedic crew attended tonight's emergency call

An ambulance and a paramedic crew attended tonight’s emergency call

Meanwhile in Penarth Town Centre paramedics and an ambulance were called to Sainsbury’s supermarket in Windsor Road after a man had collapsed in the store.

The patient was transferred to the ambulance for treatment and later taken to hospital.

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