VALE AGAIN REJECTS MAKE-OVER FOR CONSERVATION-AREA CONCRETE GARAGES

The single storey double-garages in Clive Place

The single storey double-garages in Clive Place

A proposal to the update the appearance of a pair of 1960s-vintage concrete garages at 32 Clive Place – a Victorian house which stands in Penarth’s Conservation Area –  has been refused by the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

The plan was to install a new metal roof, new powder coated doors and new painted softwood  fascia on the existing double garages  .

The owner hass been refused permission to replace this concrete garage in Clive Place

The owner has been refused permission to give a makeover to  this  concrete garage in Clive Place

The application to give the garages a facelift had been approved by Penarth Town Council and there had been no objections to the scheme from neighbouring property owners (who were consulted last month .

However the Vale planners were not impressed. They didn’t  like the existing garage – but they didn’t think much of the proposed make-over either.

Their report says  “the existing double garage is of little architectural merit and adds nothing to the visual character of the Penarth Conservation Area”. – but go on to make the point that “the proposed alterations to the garage would not result in any higher architectural merit than the current structure.”

32 Clive Place

32 Clive Place

The council says :The site is very prominent adjoining a public footpath link and thus any development should seek to preserve or enhance the architectural details, character and setting of development in the Conservation Area. The report says “The street [Clive Place] was laid out at the same time as the construction of St. Augustine’s Church and provides an important vista of the Church tower”.

A Vale of Glamorgan planning officer – who handled the application on a “delegated” basis decided that “By reason of its poor design and prominent location within the Penarth Conservation Area, the proposed development would not preserve or enhance the appearance of the area and would be seen as an incongruous development which would adversely impact upon the appearance of the wider streetscene and Conservation Area.”

A previous proposal to demolish and re-build the double garage was refused last December.

 

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“BEDROOM SUBSIDY” AFFECTING FEWER VALE COUNCIL TENANTS

council accommodationThe number of council tenants in Vale of Glamorgan – including Penarth – who have been affected by what the council calls “the extra bedroom subsidy” has fallen from 625 in May 2013 to 588 in June this year.

The council says the reduction is the result of  tenants “downsizing” , or changes in circumstances, or tenants vacating properties and the “impact of the changes to the Council’s allocation policy”.

The Vale Council says its “dedicated Money Advisors ” provide advice to all tenants to help help tackle rent arrests – or prevent them getting into arrears in the first place  – (what the council calls the “Prevention First” approach) .  Apart from helping tenants pay their rent regularly the Money Advisors have also been able to “maximise tenant income”  through a range of measures which included securing charitable donations, obtaining food-bank vouchers for them and the Welsh Water Assist  scheme. No tenants who have run into arrears because of changes in Housing Benefit have been have been evicted .

There has also been a reduction in the number of tenants affected by what the council describes as “Social Size Criteria (Bedroom Tax)  – down from 1,102 in 2013 to 944 in June this year .

Social size criteria” affect working-age housing benefit claimants who are “under-occupying” their home. In these cases housing benefit is cut by 14% if there is one “spare” bedroom and 25% if there are two or more “spare” bedrooms:-

  • The number of tenants  who have had Housing Benefit reduced by 14% (for having one “spare” bedroom) was 1102 in the period to Aprill 2013 and 944 in the period to June 2014.
  • The number of tenants who have had Housing Benefit reduced by 25% (for having two or more “spare” bedrooms was 149.

 

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PENARTH RESTAURANT PLACED IN TOP 30 IN BRITAIN

The James Sommerin Restaurant opened to the general public in May

The James Sommerin Restaurant opened to the general public in May

The Good Food Guide has placed Penarth’s James Sommerin restaurant   – which opened only in May this year – in the top 30 in Britain.

The James Sommerin logo

The James Sommerin logo

The restaurant – on Penarth Esplanade – is one of only two in Wales which make it into the Good Food guide’s Top Fifty

The award comes despite the fact that construction work and the installation of mains power is still in progress outside the premises.

For most of the last three months the restaurant has powered by a diesel generator but the work is expected to be completed  very soon

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MOTHER NATURE BEGINS RECLAIMING PENARTH’S £250,000 ZIG-ZAG CYCLE PATH

'Busting out all over' - the green shoots are now showing on the £250,000 zig zag path

‘Busting out all over’ – the green shoots are now showing on the little-used £250,000 Zig Zag path

The controversial but little-used £250,00 Zig-Zag Cycle Track leading from Penarth Heights to Terra Nova Way in Penarth Marina is now beginning to be  broken-up by Mother Nature –  barely 15 months after its opening last year.

The £250,000 zig-zag path is deteriorating after being open for only a year

The £250,000 zig-zag path is deteriorating after being open for only a year

The Zig-Zag Path – which has been condemned both as a white elephant and a monstrous waste of public money – was installed as what some call a “vanity project” by the Labour-controlled Vale of Glamorgan Council.

The path replaced an old and well-used footpath which once connected the now-demolished Billybanks to the Marina. This footpath was removed to lay drains for the Penarth Heights development.

Heavy machinery clearing trees and natural habitat on the route of the Zig Zag path in March last year

Heavy machinery cleared trees and natural habitat on the route of the Zig Zag path in March last year

The Zig-Zag Path was publicly presented as being an “environmental” project – but actually turned out to be anything but.

Sound mature trees were arbitrarily felled and natural habitat torn-out to clear the site for the convoluted tarmac roadway down the steep escarpment.  Local residents say the result has been a marked decline in local bird-numbers and wildlife.

Nature appears to be fighting back and tearing open the tarmac of the Zig-Zag

Nature appears to be fighting back and tearing open the tarmac of the Zig-Zag

Now however there are signs that Mother Nature is fighting-back. Humps are appearing in the tarmac surface and in some places green shoots of grass or other plants are now forcing their way through the little-used road surface.

Local residents have told PDN that the Zig-Zag Path (the council’s name -“The Bowl” - didn’t catch-on) was never properly-finished anyway.

Lighting, intended to make it safe for cyclists in the winter evenings, was promised but never installed. No dog or litter bins were put in place.

Steel safety railings are supposed to stop cyclists overshooting the bends - but this one is already broken

Steel safety railings are supposed to stop cyclists overshooting the bends – but this one is already broken

One section of the iron railings – installed to prevent speeding cyclists overshooting the steep downhill bends – has come adrift from its mountings.

The land on which the Zig Zag was built is owned by the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

The construction was carried out by Penarth Heights developers Crest Nicholson  (who, in felling the trees, helped improve the views from their properties). Maintenance of the Zig-Zag is the responsibility of the Vale Council’s Parks Department.

IMG_4873

Too puffed to pedal

Opening day – cyclists found they were too puffed to pedal

When the track opened on May 23 2013 cyclists going uphill found the bends absorbed too much momentum.Some resorted to pushing,  but most reverted to use the steeper Dock Hill route even though this busy route also carries most of the cars and buses to and from the Marina and the Cardiff Bay Barrage .

Most cyclists opted to carry on using Dock Hill

Most cyclists opted to carry on using Dock Hill

The zig-zag was an initiative of the Labour-controlled Vale of Glamorgan Council in collaboration with SEWTA (the South East Wales Transport Alliance) and the pro-cycling “charity” Sustrans  – an organisation which has been heavily criticised by former Mayor of Penarth Cllr Philip Rapier (Labour St Augustines).

Most Sustrans income is derived from projects paid for by public money  but it also receives direct funding from cycle manufacturers.

Cllr Gwyn Roberts and Cllr Lis Burnett (both Labour St Augustines)

Vale Councillors Gwyn Roberts and  Lis Burnett (both Labour St Augustines) backed the zig zag scheme.

The Zig-Zag Path’s main proponents were Cllr Lis Burnett (Labour St Augustines) who is  the Vale Council’s ‘cabinet’ member for transport and Vale Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines) both of whom say they are  “keen cyclists” .

The funding for the project was originally estimated to be £227,000 comprising:-

  • £150,000 from Sustrans subject to the project being physically completed by the end of December 2012 – (which it wasn’t)
  • £25,000 from Crest Nicholson.
  • £52,000  from Vale of Glamorgan Council (to cover the shortfall)

In the event construction over-ran by five months and the total cost is now estimated to have been well-over £250,000.

 

 

 

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PENARTH MP STEPHEN DOUGHTY QUESTIONED ON CONSTITUENCY EXTREMISM

Doughty led the pro-Gaza "Stop the War" march in Cardiff on July 26th. ISIS fl;ags were flown at one point along the route

Stephen Doughty (in the white shirt) led the pro-Palestinian  anti-Israeli “Stop the War” march in Cardiff on July 26th. It was nothing to do with Syria or Iraq but jihadist ISIS flags were seen at the Aneurin Bevan statue in Queen Street – along the route of the march. Violence involving alfresco cafe customers broke out when the march reached Mill Lane.  (Photo Jim Wood)

Stephen Doughty (Labour and Co-operative MP for Cardiff South and  Penarth) has blamed the Coalition Government for not taking sufficiently-strong measures to prevent radicalised Muslim youths from joining the terrorist organisation ISIS.

In a Radio Wales weekend interview Doughty said  he had “real questions” regarding  border checks and ” whether indeed we have the right legislation in place to tackle those who we suspect are trying to go overseas” .

Cardiff Muslims Reyaad Khan and Nasser Muthana as they appeared in the Jihadist video

Cardiff Muslims Reyaad Khan and Nasser Muthana as they appeared in the Jihadist video

The Cardiff South constituency is the home of alleged ISIS fighters Nasser Muthana (20) Reyaad Khan (20)  and Aseel Muthana (17) who appeared in an online video filmed in Syria apparently urging other UK Muslims to join the terrorist organisation.

BBC Wales Political Correspondent Vaughan Roderick

BBC Wales Political Correspondent Vaughan Roderick

Doughty was asked by BBC political correspondent Vaughan Roderick whether he was any closer to understanding why “these boys from your constituency went to Syria”?.

Doughty  claimed the radicalisation of the young fighters had been due to  “individuals coming in” [to the constituency] and “proactively grooming these young people” and to  “their exposure to on-line material well away from the gaze of local community leaders, imams and their families”.

This  photo of ISIS flags flown  at Cosmeston appeared on Twitter

ISIS flags flown at Cosmeston Country Park  (Twitter)

Doughty was at pains to avoid any criticism of the  local Muslim community itself (on whom the Labour Party depends heavily for votes) , and made no mention of the the rally and “cook-out” held at Cosmeston Country Park in Penarth at which terrorist ISIS flags were flaunted . The ISIS supporters were reported to have held the Cosmeston event in May this year at which they allegedly  handed out ISIS recruitment leaflets.

ISIS flags being flown at the Aneurin Bevan statue on the route of the Gaza demonstration

ISIS flags being flown at the Aneurin Bevan statue on the route of the Gaza demonstration

On July 26th ISIS terrorist flags were also flown at the Aneurin Bevan statue in Queen St,  on the route of the controversial  “Stop the War” demonstration in Cardiff on July 26th –  a march in which Doughty himself took part.

BBC Wales’s  Vaughan Roderick then re-focussed the discussion back to Doughty’s constituency and its Muslim community . He asked Doughty whether he was confident that the local mosques were doing all they could to keep radical speakers out.

Stephen Doughty (Cardiff South & Penarth)  on the Gaza march in July

Stephen Doughty (Labour MP Cardiff South & Penarth) on the Stop the War Gaza march in July

Doughty said he was  “really pleased that imams and mosque leaders from across Cardiff had come together with religious leaders from across the spectrum to condemn those who are coming in to radicalise and pervert our young people” and then  again repeated his assertion that young people in the constituency were being influenced by on-line material  “in their bedroom at home”.

Once again Vaughan Roderick pressed Doughty as to whether he thought anything could be done about this. Doughty replied young people should be prevented from – as he put it – “taking up these options” and  “being radicalised in the first place” and that the “small minority” who  wanted to go abroad to fight should be should be  “disrupted” .He blamed the Government for not doing enough on “checks on the borders”  . (In fact the Home Office has said it detains and interviews  all those suspected of terrorism involvement at the UK border .)

Doughty claimed that “the overwhelming majority of the Muslim community in Cardiff  and across the UK absolutely condemn the activities of these individuals and those trying to recruit them .” 

Doughty said the issue was “not just Syria and Iraq” . It also affected  Libya, Mali, Nigeria and Yemen.  “What happens in these countries matters for what happens on our streets” - he said.

For the next five days the full interview is available to listen to on the BBC website on  http://tinyurl.com/kb982cc

 

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“LAST COLLECTIONS” FROM PENARTH PILLAR BOXES COULD BE FIRST-THING IN THE MORNING

The times of actual collections can already vary widely from the time displayed on the pillar box

The times of actual collections can already vary widely from the time displayed on the pillar box

The Royal Mail is putting notices on its pillar boxes in Penarth telling customers that if they want to make sure of catching the last collection of the day – they’ll  need to post their letters by 9:00 am in the morning.

The somewhat delphic notice – being stuck on pillar boxes around the town – says that as from September 15th 2014  “the final collection from this postbox will be made no earlier than 9.00am Monday to Friday“.

From next month on  "last collections" in Penarth  will take place first thing in the morning.

From next month on “last collections” in Penarth will take place first thing in the morning.

It adds that anyone hoping to catch the last collection on a Saturday will need to put their letter into the pillar box even earlier – by 7.00am . Enquiries are being directed to the Royal Mail Customer Service Team on 0345 011399.

As recently as 2010 collections from most pillar boxes in Penarth used to be after 17:00 hours and some – like the picture top left – used to display a last collection time of 19:00 hours. (7.00 pm)

The Royal Mail says next month’s change to “last” collection times is being carried out to “improve efficiency”  .

The Citizen’s Advice Bureau however takes a different view from Royal Mail. The Bureau says that in the case of pillar-boxes  “if possible, the final collection time should not be before midday”.

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PLAN TO DEMOLISH PENARTH HEAD BUNGALOW FOR NEW LUXURY HOME

The small bungalow on Penarth Head "Heathcliffe" which would be demolished if the plan is approved

The small bungalow on Penarth Head “Heathcliffe” which would be demolished if the plan is approved

A planning application has been made to demolish a bungalow in Clive Crescent which has unrivalled views over the Bristol Channel and coastline from Penarth to Lavernock.

The existing bungalow stands on a plot on a steep slope overlooking the channel

The existing bungalow stands on a plot on a steep slope overlooking the channel and facing South East

It’s proposed to replace the existing small single-storey home with a three storey 4 bedroom  modern house which will would be  built on the same site – a plot adjacent to Penarth Head Park.

A proposal to demolish the bungalow and build a new home on the same site has been made before – and been approved – but was not proceeded with.

The new three storey luxury home proposed for Clive Crescent will overlook the Bristol Channel and the coast

The design for proposed new three-storey luxury home proposed for Clive Crescent will overlook the Bristol Channel

 

This new plan is for a building which has a smaller  “footprint” than the previous plan and appears to project no further above the boundary wall with Clive Crescent than the roof of the existing bungalow.

The plan has yet to be considered by Penarth Town Council and the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

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