PROFESSOR WHO REVEALED “SECRET” £500,000 BELLE VUE PARK PAVILION PLAN IS EXPELLED

The deteriorating pavilion at Belle Vue Park, Penarth said now to be the subject of a £500,000 scheme to compensate for the shortfall in community space provision in the proposed development of St Paul’s Church – where  a planning application has been made to build a block of 14 social housing flats

The eminent Penarth scientist and environmentalist Professor Max Wallis has been expelled from the committee of trustees of the Penarth charity “Friends of Belle Vue Park”  for having published a letter alleging the allocation of a mysterious £500,000 offer to redevelop the wooden pavilion at Belle Vue Park.

The distinguished environmentalist Professor Max Wallis – formerly a trustee of  Friends of Belle Vue Park

Professor Wallis had publicly alleged  that a £500,000 offer to re-build the Belle Vue Pavilion has been made by the Vale of Glamorgan Council and was discussed with the Friends of Belle Vue Park at a recent meeting.

The money appears to part of a £1,100,000  “Section 106” payment made by Penarth Heights developers Crest Nicholson which is understood to have been initially earmarked to develop community facilities at the former St Paul’s Church in Arcot St – which is much closer to Penarth Heights than Belle Vue Park.

[St Paul’s Church is now – (subject to planning permission) – set to be demolished to make way for a new block of 14 rented social housing social housing apartments being developed by the Newydd Housing Association in a deal said to have been cooked-up in secret by the previous Labour administration in the Vale Council. The current plans for St Paul’s provide only a small “community room” – nothing like the floorspace which was originally available for public use in St Paul’s Church  – a building which was bought and paid for by Penarth Urban District Council. All the rest of the re-built block would be crammed with social housing flats –  sufficient to house 30+ tenants.]

The proposed “Community Space” on the ground floor of the re-built St Paul’s would be tiny compared with the original ground floor area –  all of which was once used by the Penarth Boxing and Gym Clubs. It’s now set to become a block of 14 flats on three floors

It’s alleged that to make up for the deficit in the provision of community space at St Paul’s,   a  £500,000allocation” has now been made by the Vale Council for the rebuilding of the wooden pavilion  at Belle Vue –  which Professor Wallis says Vale officers consider to be “within walking distance” of Penarth Heights.

The first whiff of this compensating offer had come in November last year when Kate Stokes Davies of the St Paul’s Action Group asked a meeting of Penarth Town Council why there had been   “no assessment of the community needs at St Paul’s” and why there were now plans to invest Section 106 cash  from Penarth Heights in Belle Vue Park – whilst the proposed facilities at the St Paul’s site were being “downgraded”.  She asked “Is the community need greater in the affluent Belle Vue area than in the poorer St Paul’s area”.

Diane Mead’s watercolour inpression of the new design for the Belle Vue Park Pavilion

However it is now being alleged by the Friends of Belle Vue Park that Professor Wallis (no stranger to public controversy)  has –  by writing a letter to the Penarth Times –  “potentially smeared the hard earned reputition of the charity.”

In a furious letter to Professor Wallis , Karen Martin, the chair of Friends of Belle Vue Park (FOBV), says Professor Wallis had wrongly implied the charity was ” a party to fixing a funding deal with VoG Council behind the scenes”.  She said “FOBV would never want to participate in any decision making that affects the future of the park, without full consultation with users and residents.”

She says “No commitment has been made to this project” [ i.e. rebuilding the pavilion at Belle Vue Park]or to the level of potential funding” and accuses Professor Wallis of misusing his position for what she calls  his own “personal agenda”.

However Ms Martin’s indignant letter does not deny that the Belle Vue Pavilion project was discussed with Friends of Belle Vue Park –  and also confirms that the meeting was attended by “representatives of the Vale of Glamorgan Council” .

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VALE COUNCIL APPROVES CLLR CUDDY’S MODERNIST DEVELOPMENT IN PAGET RD

An artistic impression depicting what the new modern box-like house would look like in the middle of Paget Place’s row of period Victorian villas in Penarth’s Conservation Area. The pavement tree which is painstakingly outlined in the watercolour drawing – has since been chopped down.

A “delegated” Vale of Glamorgan Council planning officer has approved a controversial application by the Leader of Penarth Town Council –  Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines) –  to renew permission to build a modernist box-shaped 2-storey dwelling in  his garden in the heart of the Penarth Conservation Area. 

The proposed new house – is to be erected in the grounds of Cllr Cuddy’s existing classic Victorian villa in Paget Place and would be inserted into a row of similar properties – all within the cherished Penarth Conservation Area.

Cllr Cuddy is not only Leader of Penarth Council but is also vice-chairman of Penarth Town Council’s planning committee and as such is responsible for ensuring that any changes to the Penarth Conservation Area “conserve or enhance” it.

The proposed box-like modernistic-design of house which is now to be built at Paget Place – in the grounds of the Leader of Penarth Town Council

The contemporary-style house was designed by local architect Chris Loyn, former president of the Penarth Civic Society, who is well-known for his cutting-edge designs. [Mr Loyn is also responsible for the design of the ultra-modern 30-apartment “Northcliff Lodge” a.k.a the “Saint Adresse Apartments” (sic) development – which has now received Vale Council planning permission to be built almost  immediately across the road from Cllr Cuddy’s Victorian villa  in Paget Place]  

Cllr Cuddy has been Leader of the Labour-controlled Penarth Town Council since 2012, is deputy chairman of its planning committee and was Mayor of Penarth until May last  year

Cllr Cuddy is the Leader of the Labour-controlled Penarth Town Council and is also deputy chairman of the Penarth Town Council planning committee – the body that makes recommendations to the Vale of Glamorgan Council on all planning applications made in the town.

Back in the year 2012, when Cllr Cuddy’s scheme was first submitted,  Penarth Town Council was (at that time) controlled by the Conservative Party –  and its planning committee had RECOMMENDED REFUSAL  of Cllr Cuddy’s plan. Penarth Town Council’s planning committee told the Vale of Glamorgan Council in February 2012 that the building which Cllr Cuddy wanted to erect at Paget Place would be:-

  • out of keeping with the surrounds
  • an incongruous and overly dominant development” and would
  • “harm  the integrity and appearance of the street scene to the detriment of residential amenities as well as the character and appearance of the Conservation Area”

Cllr Cuddy’s plan also ran into  opposition from  Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Conservation Advisory Group – the body which advised the council on all conservation matters. The Vale of Glamorgan Conservation Advisory Group ALSO RECOMMENDED REFUSAL  of the application. In a report to the Vale Council the advisory group said it said  the scheme :-

  • did not  “harmonise with the existing street scene”
  • was on the existing “building line” [ i.e. the modern building would be inserted within the existing line of Victorian frontages]  and… 
  • the design “represented an overly dominant form of development”.

In May 2012 the Labour Party came into power in both the Vale of Glamorgan Council and Penarth Town Council –  and Cllr Cuddy was ensconced as Leader of Penarth Town Council.

In June 2012 the now Labour-controlled Vale Council planning committee considered the Vale Conservation Committee’s Advisory Report [ which recommended rejection of Cllr Cuddy’s application]  and only noted it  – without taking any action.

The application was then formally APPROVED by the “delegated” Vale Planning officer  who over-rode  the opposition of the Vale Conservation Advisory Committee and of the old Conservative administration in Penarth Town Council. The officer allowed the development to go ahead,  the only caveat being that there should be “landscaping to soften the impact of the development.”

As with most planning applications, the standard condition was imposed, requiring that work should begin within 5 years of the granting of planning permission. In the event however, that 5 year period expired – with no work having been started.

Last year Cllr Cuddy and his wife lodged a formal application to revive the lapsed and expired planning application and  requested an EXTENSION OF THE PLANNING DEADLINE.

Despite the tangled history of this proposal (and the “incongruous” impact on the Penarth Conservation Area which Penarth Town Council had said in 2012 that it would have) the issue of the extention of the planning deadline has been dealt with only by  “delegated” a Vale Council planning officer – and was not required to come before the full Vale of Glamorgan planning committee, which is now back under Conservative control.

The Vale Council’s planning department have also said that even though this development will create an extra brand-new house in Penarth, it will not be necessary for Cllr Cuddy to to make an “Affordable Housing Contribution” as a condition of his planning permission .

The Vale Council says this is because it is one of 11 planning applications for “small sites” where the developer is not being required to stump up an “Affordable Housing Contribution” because – as the Vale Council planning office puts it  – “development viabililty was demonstrated to be an issue”. [ i.e. if the full 40% cash contribution had to be paid by the developer to the council, it would not be financially viable to build the new house. A similar argument has been made in respect of the nearby Northcliff Lodge development]    

An “Affordable Housing Contribution” can be either the provision of additional “affordable” accommodation as part of the development or alternatively a sum of money payable to the council to enable the council to provide affordable accommodation and/or community facilities elsewhere.

 

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NEW TWEAKS ARE MADE TO PLANS FOR 14-FLAT DEVELOPMENT AT ST PAUL’S CHURCH

The former St Paul’s Church in Arcot St, Penarth has been unused since the local boxing club was moved out for “Health and Safety” reasons 2011

A number of last-minute  amendments have been made to the plans by the Newydd Housing Association to redevelop the former HQ of Penarth Boxing Club – St Paul’s Church in Arcot St to provide 14 “affordable” rented flats.

The plans have already been rubber-stamped by Penarth Town Council’s planning committee – but the latest changes require some neighbours to be “re-consulted” about the amended scheme and the scheme has yet to be considered by the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s full planning committee (which it is due to be).

The existing St Paul’s Church building will be totally demolished with the exception of the much-bowderlised front facade (which is a chopped-down version of the frontage of the original fire-ravaged  Wesleyan church which once stood on the site).

The amendments have been submitted by Newydd Housing Association’s consultants WYG who list the following points :-

FACADE RETENTION

The front facade of St Paul’s is to be retained – although ome query whether it’s really worth preserving

Newydd Housing Association’s consultants have told the Vale of Glamorgan Council “In terms of the façade we are still proposing that it is retained. As discussed a structural survey is in the proposes of being undertaken. There will be opportunities for glazing within the existing openings, and this includes the current front door. Along with sensitive lighting this can deliver an active frontage. “

 

The “Community Space” on the ground floor would be tiny compared with the original ground floor – all of which was used by the Boxing and Gym ClubsThe latest amended plans confirm the relatively tiny size of the proposed ground-floor “community space” – compared to the space originally used by the Boxing and Gym Clubs –  and the apparent lack of a disabled lift to the first floor.

[PDN NOTE: After it was  closed for worship the church was bought with local ratepayers’ money by Penarth Urban District Council in 1967 and therefore legally belongs to the people of Penarth. A public referendum carried out in the St Augustine’s Ward by the Vale of Glamorgan Council in 2014 confirmed that most local people wanted the building to remain as an HQ for the Penarth Amateur Boxing Club and the Penarth Gym Club. There is no majority public support for its re-development as a block of 14 housing association rented flats in what is already a densely populated area of Penarth].

The 30-plus people living in St Paul’s will have 5 designated car parking spaces behind a motorised security gate but no “amenity space”

PARKING : At the rear of the building – where there is now no “amenity space” whatever for any of the 30 plus people who would  be living in St Paul’s  – parking has been amended so that there will be spaces for 5 vehicles (one looks like a van) lined up in a row behind a motorised security gate. Each of five parking spaces will be designated to a specific flat tenant.

The Vale Council planners asked Newydd Housing Association to re-design “vehicle and pedestrian access points from the rear lane” to provide 2.0m x 2.0m pedestrian and 2.0m x 10.0m “vehicular visibility splays” along the lane.

The housing association says “the number of vehicles using the rear lane is very low and vehicle speeds” (sic) .The railings will allow good visibility for both pedestrians and vehicles existing the site”.

ROADS  : The existing road along Chapel Lane and the rear lane adjacent to the site is to be resurfaced and the footway along Chapel Lane  is to be reconstructed with “new kerbs and resurfaced”. The footway is also to be “widened to 2.0m between the junction with Arcot Street and the proposed pedestrian access serving the proposed apartments”.

It is not stated as to whether the paving stones to be used will be the traditional hand-hewn slabs prevalent in the Penarth Conservation Area.

 STREET LIGHTING COLUMNS are to be provided within the widened footway along Chapel Lane and at the rear lane (within the site), adjacent to the southern site boundary. [The correspondence does not say whether the new lighting columns will be compatible with the traditional cast-iron columns of the Penarth Conservation Area]

Access to a proposed “cycle storage area” at the rear of the site is to be provided from the proposed footpath.

The planning application for St Paul’s is due to be  considered at next month’s meeting of the Vale of Glamorgan planning committee.

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NEW VALE “PUBLIC SPACES” ORDERS SET TO CLAMP-DOWN ON DOG-OWNERS

The proposed new orders cover parks and beaches

The Vale of Glamorgan Council’s cabinet is to consider today the introduction of a “Public Spaces Protection Order” (PSPO) to clamp down on anti-social behaviour by dog-owners.

The council is to discuss starting the process of introducing a “PSPO” for dog controls in across the  Vale of Glamorgan (including Penarth) under Section 59 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

The first step is to undertake a statutory consultation exercise with members of the public
and what the council calls “other relevant stakeholders” – which will be carried out over 8 weeks .

It’s proposed that there should be:-

  • A prohibition of dog fouling in all public places with the Vale of Glamorgan
  • A  requirement for a person in charge of a dog at all times to carry bags or suitable
    means for the disposal of dog faeces.
  • Every person in control of a dog most keep it on a lead in “specific featured parks” and [somewhat conradictorily] dogs will be excluded from “specific featured parks”.
  • Dogs will be banned from “all marked sports pitches and playgrounds”.
  • Dogs will be prohibited from specific beaches from 1st May – 30th September each year [ they already are prohibited from Penarth’s foreshore in that period]

The Vale Council says that the Public Spaces Protection Orders would enable the law-abiding majority of people to enjoy these areas.The council says ” Although there have been several educational interventions to tackle people who allow their dogs to foul public spaces and do not pick up after them, there continue to be issues in the Vale of Glamorgan with irresponsible dog ownership, specifically where dog faeces is not being removed. The Council is aware that the majority of dog owners are responsible and control their dogs in public spaces; however there is still a minority of people who do not take full responsibility for their animals and ignore the Council’s byelaws. Consequently a significant number of complaints are continuing to be received by the Council in relation to dog fouling.”

The Cwrt-y-Vil football pitch, where Penarth Town Football Club plays, is amongst the areas which could be covered by the proposed new Puhlic Spaces Orders

The Vale Council points out that “Dog fouling is unsightly and unpleasant and in turn can lead to serious illness in humans, such as Toxocariasis. This is a roundworm parasite that lives in the digestive system of dogs. The worms produce eggs which are released in the faeces of infected dogs and contaminate soil. Once the eggs get into soil they can survive for months. Humans can become infected when they come into contact with
contaminated soil. Sports players and children are most at risk of coming into contact
with contaminated soil.”

  • 93% of the council’s parks staff said in a survey that there is an issue with people not removing dog faeces
  • 81% of the parks staff said the problem contoinues all the year around and said that the true extent of the problem with dog fouling is “under-reported” to the Council.
  • The report also cites instances of play having to be stopped in the middle of sports matches when dog fouling is discovered on the pitches. The Vale Football Association says there has “been an increase with dog fouling on Council pitches and matches
    have to be stopped whilst someone removes the waste”’.

Samples shown on Twitter of the deposits of local dogs left on Penarth pavements

The Keep Wales Tidy charity reports that  dog faeces was found to be present on 13.7% of streets within Vale of Glamorgan during 2016/2017 – an increase on the previous year.

The council says its officers will work with internal departments and its Dog Warden Service to identify suitable areas for dog walkers and that the public will have an opportunity to comment on these areas during the consultation period.

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CONSERVATION AREA RESIDENT CONTESTS COUNCIL DECISION ON CLADDING HER HOME

The “Coach House” in Beach Lane is within the Penarth Conservation Area. It’s proposed to put cladding on the outside walls of the building

A resident of Beach Lane, Penarth  – Mrs Helen Davies –  is appealing against a decision by the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s planning department to refuse her permission to install cladding on the outside of her dwelling “The Coach House “.

Mrs Davies’s planning application for the building – which is within the Penarth Conservation Area – sought permission to install “Marley Eternit Cedral cladding” in “Silver Grey” on all four sides of the building – not including the exposed stonework.

The external stone finish of “The Coach House” would be retained but the cream-rendered walls would be covered with cladding

When her application had originally come before Penarth Town Council’s planning committee, councillors voted to over-ride the expert advice they were given by their expensively-hired-in freelance planning consultant. Emma Langmaid of Prospero Planning Consultancy.

Ms Langmaid [who now (on behalf of the Town Council)  vets all planning applications made in Penarth]  had expressed reservations about the scheme and had recommended to the Penarth Town Council planning committee that they should turn the scheme down.

What “The Coach House” in the Penarth Conservation Area would look like with the new proposed cladding

However despite an illustrated briefing from Ms Langmaid, councillors on Penarth Town Council’s planning committee decided instead to “make no comment” on the plans – in effect. leaving it to the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s planning officers to make the decision.

Subsequently the application went to the Vale of Glamorgan Council where it was dealt with on a “delegated” basis by a member of planning department staff  – who decided to refuse it.

Now the householder –  Mrs Davies – has lodged a formal appeal against the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s planning decision.

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BLACK BAGS TO BE RESTRICTED TO NO MORE THAN 2 PER COLLECTION

The days depositing of multi-black-bag consignments of refuse for rubbish collection may be over

The Vale of Glamorgan Council is considering cutting back the number of black bin bags per household which can be left out for collection.

It’s being proposed that there should be a top limit of no more than 2 black bags left out for collection per household – with possible exceptions for very large families.

A Vale of Glamorgan Council refuse team

The Vale Council says that the average number of black bags put out by each household is currently 3 and says the council “will not achieve further targets without instigating a change that requires all households to engage with the service.

Some households put as many as 20 black bags out for collection and in almost every ward across the county there were some households filling 10 bags each time.

The council says that without implementing a “restricted black bag system”, it will not be possible to achieve to achieve future waste and recycling  targets by just using what it calls “an educational approach alone.”

Black bag rubbish has to go to landfill – or be incinerated

An internal report recommends that Vale Council continues to collect black bags every fortnight as at present but restricts households to 2-black-bags per fortnight (with provision for very large families or exceptional circumstances to accommodate items such as hygiene products and other non-recyclable items). If householders don’t play ball they could find enforcement action being taken against them

Any householders who think they can get around the 2-black-bag restriction by simply using larger bags can think again.  The size of a bag used for domestic waste collections cannot be larger than 750 mm in diameter and 1 metre in length.  …Also wheelie bins –  which have previusly been provided on a pilot basis by the council in some wards – are to be banned .

Black bags would still be collected fortnightly – as they are now.

Also in the pipeline are plans for householders to help with recycling by separating  glass from paper plastic and metal. Currently all these materials are collected on a “co-mingled” basis but its now envisaged that households should use separate containers to segregate these items for recycling to meet Welsh Government targets of recycling 70% of waste

The glass, paper, tins and plastic collected in the Vale isn’t recycled by the Vale Council itself but is sold by re-processing contractor based in the North of England to private companies throughout the world. The council itself receives no income from it.

What the council calls “separated collections” would, it says, “ result in much lower levels of contamination and in turn a higher sale price for the material”. The council also plans to  find its own markets due to the higher value of the sorted material..

The Vale Council also plans to  intends to build a new “waste transfer station” where recyclable material can be stored before it is sold.  Teh changes are expected to save the council £400,000 each year and held bring it into line with recent legislation.

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PENARTH RAIL SERVICES BACK TO NORMAL AFTER TRAIN KILLS MAN AT GRANGETOWN

Arriva Trains services to and from Penarth were disrupted last night

Arriva train services to and from Penarth are back to normal today after a a fatal accident last night on the line between Cardiff Central Station and Grangetown.

Emergency services had been called to the scene after a man  – apparently on the railway track – was hit by a train at the rear of Amyas Close.  The man died at the scene and the body was taken away by ambulance. No information is available regarding his identity.

The notice issued last night by Arrva Trains. Services are now back to normal

Arriva trains issued the following notice on social media .

Further details of the incident are awaited

 

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