PENARTH JEWELLER ANNE MORGAN INVITED TO No.10 DOWNING ST

Penarth's Anne Morgan on the doorstep at Downing St

Penarth’s Anne Morgan on the doorstep at Downing St

Penarth jeweller  Anne Morgan is one of 100 entrepreneurs from across the UK invited to 10 Downing St yesterday to mark tomorrow’s   nationwide event  “Small Business Saturday” 

Anne Morgan owns  Anne Morgan Jewellery in Glebe St, Penarth –  a gallery that specialises in selling handmade jewellery from a number of recognised crafts-artists.

Anne Morgan Jewellery was amongst the businesses open in Penarth for late-night shopping in last night foggy weather - but the boss was Downing Street

Anne Morgan Jewellery was amongst the businesses open in Penarth for late-night shopping in last night foggy weather – but the boss was in a  Downing Street reception

Anne, and fellow small-business owners, attended a special reception at No.10 Downing Street where they met the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility Margot James.

The Small Business Saturday campaign aims is to prompt people not only to spend money with small independent businesses in the run-up to Christmas but also to create a “mind-set” amongst customers to support them all year round.

Prime Minister Theresa May often wears jewellery in the House of Commons

Prime Minister Theresa May often wears jewellery in the House of Commons

The Prime Minister Theresa May says “Small Business Saturday is an opportunity for us to celebrate the success of the UK’s 5.4 million small businesses – from family run restaurants, to innovative tech start-ups, to local corner shops. I’m delighted that we had such a great representation of firms here in Downing Street to mark this event and recognise the prosperity they bring to the UK.” 

Anne Morgan said her visit to No 10  had been an amazing experience  She said it was hoped that “Small Business Saturday will encourage people to think about shopping with independent small business like myself not just on Small Business Saturday but all year round.”

More information on Small Business Saturday can be found on the Small Business Saturday Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ smallbusinesssaturdayuk) Twitter page (@SmallBizSatUk) and website (www. smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com).

 

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LOCAL MPS SPEAK ON LBGT SCHOOL-PUPILS AND HIV IN TRANSGENDER WOMEN

Local Labour MPs Chris Elmore (Labour Ogmore and Labour Vale Councillor for Buttills Ward barry (laft) and Stephen Doughty (Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth) have been speaking in the first ever Transgender debate in the House of Commons

Local Labour MPs Chris Elmore (Labour Ogmore and Labour Vale Councillor for Castleland Ward Barry (left) and Stephen Doughty (Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth) (right) have been speaking in the first ever Transgender Equality debate in the House of Commons

Local  MPs Stephen Doughty (Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth) and Chris Elmore (Labour MP for Ogmore and Vale of Glamorgan Councillor for Labour Castleland Ward, Barry) have both been speaking in a House of Commons debate on Transgender Equality.

Maria Miller chair of the Commons Equalities Committee

Maria Miller chair of the Commons Equalities Committee

Doughty asked Maria Miller (chair of the Commons Equality Committee) whether she would  join him praising the work of  South Wales Police and the British Army their work with “trans communities and the wider LGBT [ Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender] community?”

Miller said that some institutions coped better than others: “I particularly have been impressed by the way in which the Ministry of Justice has accepted the challenge around trans prisoners. I note the comments the hon. Gentleman makes about the police as well, and I hope other police authorities are able to follow suit.”

Chris Elmore (Labour MP for Ogmore and Vale of Glamorgan Councillor for Castleland Ward, Barry)

Chris Elmore (Labour MP for Ogmore and Vale of Glamorgan Councillor for Castleland Ward, Barry)

In his speech Chris Elmore – who is an opposition whip –  praised “great initiatives by public bodies and institutions“.

He went on to say “I was proud to march at Pride Cymru this year and saw South Wales Police – my honourable friend  Stephen Doughty mentioned this – marching with special shoulder patches to demonstrate their support for the LGBT+ community. Similarly, the British Army recently won the PinkNews public sector equality award for its work supporting LGBT personnel, including those who identify as transgender.”

Doughty told the house he was wearing a World Aids Day ribbon as was Chris Elmore

Doughty told the house he was wearing a World Aids Day ribbon as was Chris Elmore

Doughty reponded by saying “My honourable friend is making a very strong speech. He, like me, is wearing a World AIDS Day ribbon. On the global context for trans people, is he aware of the challenges for trans people who have HIV? Men who have sex with men are 19 times more likely than others to have HIV, but trans women are 49 times more likely to have HIV. Special attention needs to be paid to the provision of HIV services globally for the trans community.”

Later Elmore drew attention to the issues of LGBT children in school  . He said “Addressing the difficulties that transgender people face in school often focuses on physical accommodation. Efforts may be made to provide gender-neutral facilities but, although that is incredibly important, there is often not enough focus on why transgender people fall behind academically. A number of local authorities now produce guidance for head teachers, but equally important are the NGOs and charities that deliver awareness training for school staff. In and around Bridgend county, which includes my constituency, the group  A Brighter Future Altogether” Benefiting Bridgend provides crucial workshops to ensure that schools are better prepared to help transgender pupils to excel.”

“…….We owe it to the transgender people in each of our constituencies to come together to take concerted action to help to deliver equality for everyone, and we must start by recognising the scale of the problem.”

“…. I sincerely hope that today’s debate will help to raise awareness of the issue and mark the start of a journey to make the UK inclusive for everybody”.

 

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ST PAUL’S CHURCH IS VALE COUNCIL’S “KEY AREA OF CHALLENGE” IN PENARTH

The derelict St Paul's Church - former home of Penarth Boxing Club was closed on health and safety grounds  in 2011

The former St Paul’s Church building – held in trust for the people of Penarth by the Labour-run Vale of Glamorgan Council – was  former base of Penarth Boxing Club. The building was  closed on health and safety grounds in 2011 – and has remained unused ever since. 

The re-development of the derelict St Paul’s Church in Arcot St Penarth has now been identified by the Vale of Glamorgan Council as what it calls a “key area of challenge”.

The most recent St Paul’s developments are outlined in the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s so-called “Corporate Performance Plan” which is due to be considered next week by the council’s Environment and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee.

The Vale of Glamorgan Council Corporate Plan logo. ...Nice graphic - shame about the spelling

The Vale of Glamorgan Council Corporate Plan logo. …Nice graphic – shame about the spelling.

The most recent proposals to renovate disused former Methodist church building in Arcot Street were rejected by the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s project board in December 2015  – after 12 months of delays.

The shell of the burned out Methodist Church before it was called "St Paul's"

The shell of the burned out Methodist Church before it was called “St Paul’s”

The history of the St Paul’s building is as follows:-

  • 1863 : The building was originally erected in Arcot St as a Wesleyan Methodist Chapel
  • 1882: The chapel was enlarged as congregations swelled.
  • 1905 : The chapel caught fire and was gutted – leaving just the exterior walls standing. The Methodists decided not to re-build it and instead built the Albert Road Methodist Church as a replacement.
  • 1906: The chapel was re-built as a church by the Anglicans and named “St Paul’s” . In the re-build, several feet in height were chopped off the elaborate finials and pinnacles on the front fascia of the building . The front window  was re-modelled and reduced in height – giving the structure its current awkward, ungainly and inelegant appearance.
  • 1940: It received bomb damage courtesy of the Luftwaffe
  • 1967: It was bought by Penarth Urban District Council for £2,500 – and then handed on to the South Glamorgan County Council.
  • 1996 St Paul’s came into the possession of the Vale of Glamorgan County Council and it is made available to Penarth Boxing Club and later Penarth Gym Club.
  • 2011 The building is closed for Health and Safety reasons and the Penarth Boxing Club has to leave after  37 years at St Paul’s . The Boxing and Gym Clubs are told they will be able to move back-in once repairs had been completed .
  • 2012 The then Conservative administration in the Vale of Glamorgan Council allocated £250,000 in the council’s “Capital Programme” to make the building  suitable again for use by Penarth Gymnastics Club and Penarth Boxing Club. The money was to be recouped from the Section 106 funding from Crest Nicholson in respect of the Penarth Heights Development. The Labour Party condemns the move as a “pre-election stunt” .
  • May 2012 The Labour administration takes over in the Vale of Glamorgan – and  puts a hold on the planned renovation of St Paul’s. No maintenance of the building is carried out – it continues to deteriorate. The Capital Programme money is never spent, the Crest Nicholson Section 106 funding is never called in. Nothing is done . The building is under the control of the  Vale Council’s so-called “Visible and Leisure Services Committee” which is represented on the Vale ‘cabinet’ by Cllr Gwyn John (Llantwit First Independents) . He represents the tiny party that keeps  Labour in power in the Vale Council.

    The results of the Vale Council's public consultation" on St Paul's Church, Penarth were delayed and  ignored

    The results of the Vale Council’s public consultation” on St Paul’s Church, Penarth were delayed and ignored

  • December 11 2012: The Vale Council announces there is to be a six-week “public consultation” on the future of St Paul’s is to begin in January 2013. Controversially the public consultation is limited only to 3,400 homes St Augustines Ward although the Boxing Club and the Gym Club have members in all wards of Penarth and St Paul’s is seen as an asset for the entire town.
  • January 2013 The Vale of Glamorgan Council holds a public consultation in the form of a postal referendum. Local councillors Lis Burnett and Gwyn Roberts (both Labour St Augustines) urge the use of the hall as a “mixed use community facility” rather than just as a base for the Penarth Boxing Club and Gym Club – but the council appears to leave the final decision to the  residents of St Augustine’s Ward in the postal referendum.
  • January 2013 The deadline for the return of referendum ballot papers from local voters is extended until March 1st because of bad weather .
  • March 1st 2013: The extended deadline for the consultation closes. The Vale Council says  it’s delighted” with the level of public response – but there’s no sign of the results being announced.
  • April 16th 2013: The Vale Council announces that the publication of the results of the referendum has been postponed for further month to enable all the key officers and councillors involved to “review the data”.
  • May 21st 2013: At long last, the result of the referendum is announced. It is a set-back for the two St Augustine’s Vale Labour councillors. Out of a total of 669 responses 62% of households in St Augustines want to see St Paul’s become a permanent home for the Boxing and Gym Clubs . Only 38%, want the  “mixed use community facility” that Cllrs Burnett and Roberts are proposing .
  • Cllrs Gwyn Roberts and Lis Burnett are publicly criticised

    Cllrs Gwyn Roberts and Lis Burnett are publicly criticised

    September 20 2013: Councillors Lis Burnett and Gwyn Roberts both come in for withering criticism from prominent local businessman and Penarth Boxing Club supporter Nick Chandler. He says in a letter on the Penarth Times website “If Councillors Burnett and Roberts had not interfered with the previously agreed Cabinet proposal, the building could be weather-protected by now and work to rehouse both clubs would be well advanced.”..“It appears the councillors and officers have all been sitting on their hands despite an overwhelming vote of confidence being given by the residents for the building to be handed back to both clubs. Crest Nicholson, I gather, also support the venture. This whole debacle is a disgrace and appears to be more about the posturing of elected members and has had very little to do with the people of Penarth and their wishes. “

  •  Cllr Gwyn John Llantwit First Independents

    Cllr Gwyn John Llantwit First Independents

    March 24th 2014 Cllr Gwyn John tells a public meeting in the Paget Rooms in Penarth that St Paul’s Church is what he calls a “huge headache” that had been “dumped” on the incoming Labour administration by the outgoing Conservative administration in 2012. He says the building is in such a poor state he recommends demolishing it and “starting again”.

  • October 6th 2014: The Vale of Glamorgan Council announces is has appointed the estate-agents Savills to market the lease of St Paul’s Church.
  • January 2015 a group, called “St Paul’s Shared Fitness Space CIC”  [“CIC” stands for “Community Interest Company“],  puts forward  ambitious proposals for turning St Paul’s into  “mixed-use community facility“. However the group – a “social enterprise company”  fails to come up with an acceptable business plan. The Vale Council’s internal Project Group later formally rejects the scheme .
  • December 2015 : The Vale Council’s Project Board is said to be “considering options” for the property. A total of £233,000 already  allocated to the project – but yet to be spent –  is rolled forward into the Vale’s  2016/17 “Capital Programme”.

Next week an internal report will be considered by members of the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Environment and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee. It says  that  the “conclusion and development of a scheme for the reuse of St Paul ’s site in Penarth, continues to remain a challenge”.

The report says that a “legal strategy” was to have come to a resolution in October 2016 and a new board meeting has been arranged to determine future of the building.

….There’s no mention of another referendum.

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PENARTH GETS A LIFT IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS

There's a surprise waiting inside for local residents calling in at Penarth Town council's HQ at West House

There’s a surprise waiting for local residents calling in at Penarth Town Council’s HQ at West House – …and it’s not just the illuminated snowman snowperson

There are a couple of surprises in store for members of the public who call in now at Penarth Town Council’s headquarters at West House in Stanwell Road – and no,  it’s nothing to do with the illuminated snowperson standing outside in the cold .

When anyone walks towards the main entrance, the two double-doors open inwards automatically to beckon them in – without the customary need to apply a hefty shove on the Victorian brass fingerplates.  An infra-red beam detects anyone coming up the path towards the building and the automatic system pulls open the doors without the council having to employ a concierge to do the job.

The new lift in Penarth Town Council's offices at West House has just been installed - in time for Christmas

The new “cabin lift” in Penarth Town Council’s offices at West House has just been installed – in time for Christmas

Another boon for local council-tax payers is a brand new “cabin lift” – which will make it a lot easier to get upstairs to reach the staff working in the main council offices on the first floor  – especially for wheelchair users , for parents with prams and for anyone for whom climbing the stairs of West House could be a formidable challenge.

The total cost of internal modifications – including the new lift – was  £32,083 . However council documents state that “overall £100,000 can be realised in earmarked reserves for these works in total “.

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BIZWATCH: PENARTH COUPLE’S TINY DRINKS-CARAVAN PULLS IN THE CUSTOMERS

The Roaming Caravan Co's 1970's vintage Sprite 400 caravan caravan has been adapted as a mobile drinks bar.

The Roaming Caravan Co’s 1970’s vintage Sprite 400 caravan  has been adapted as a mobile drinks bar.

Two enterprising Penarth residents, Tom Prosser and ex-advertising-executive Narelle Dancey, have converted a tiny vintage caravan into the thriving hub of a mobile catering enterprise that can cope with up to 500 customers at a time.

Both wanted to run their own business, get off the 9-to-5 treadmill and get into the busy “pop-up” event-scene –  where everything happens in just one day and then moves on to another town .

This chilly Christmas mulled wine is on the wine list

This chilly Christmas mulled wine is on the wine list

Searching an internet auction site they put a successful bid in on a tiny – but totally original – 1970s Sprite 400 caravan – which they confess was “a bit of a wreck” . They spent almost a year renovating it and converting  it into a vintage mobile bar.

Financial help was received from Business Wales and they also tapped into a start-up bursary from Inspiring the Vale which provides young entrepreneurs with cash to help them start their own business.

The Roaming Caravan Co. – as the business is now called – hit the road running travels from event to event calling in at festivals and markets around the Vale of Glamorgan and serving up everything from beer to champagne, cider to spirits and the caravan’s own very own cocktails.  In the run-up to Christmas mulled wine has been added to the menu.

The next step for Narelle and Tom – who both retained their day-jobs –  is to acquire a coffee machine  for the little caravan…and yes, they think they’ll be able to squeeze it in…somehow.

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NEIGHBOURS PERSUADE PENARTH COUNCIL TO OPPOSE HOME-EXTENSION PLAN

A large extension proposed for the right hand side and the rear of No. 10 Knowbury Avenue was recommended for refusal because it was judged to be "unneighbourly"

A large extension proposed for the right hand side and the rear of No. 10 Knowbury Avenue was recommended for refusal because it was judged to be “unneighbourly”

The next-door neighbours of a house in Knowbury Avenue – which the owners want to turn from a 2-bedroomed dwelling into a 5-bedroom house –  last night attended Penarth Town Council’s planning committee meeting in person to convince councillors to oppose the scheme.

Councillors were considering an application by the owner of 10 Knowbury Avenue to build a two-storey side and rear extension to the existing two-bedroomed dwelling, plus an entrance porch , new raised deck, and various other features.

Town Clerk Emma Smith whose planning minutes were queried by Conservative councillors

Town Clerk Emma Smith

The Town Clerk Emma Boyden  reported to councillors that the scheme involved extending the property right up to its boundary with the house next door – No 8 Knowbury Avenue, which is the home of Mr and Mrs Jarvis, the couple who had asked for permission to address the planning committee.

Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell) chairman of Penarth planning committee

Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell) chairman of Penarth planning committee

Planning Committee chairman Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell) noted that the “the proposed extension is considerably bigger than the original property” and invited Mr and Mrs Jarvis to address the committee.

Mrs Jarvis said the objections that she and her husband had to their neighbour’s proposed extension were that it was “unsympathetic in appearance to adjacent properties,  it is visually oppressive and overbearing, and it shows a total disregard of construction requirements”.

Mrs Jarvis told the committee that there were 24 houses in Knowbury Avenue, many of which had been extended – but in most cases this had been done at the rear of the properties. The width of the original frontages had been left unchanged .

The proposed extension to No 10 Knowbury Avenue would be on the right of the building - and to the rear

The proposed extension to No 10 Knowbury Avenue would be on the right of the building – and to the rear

She said if the plan went ahead her home would be uniquely affected by having a  large two-storey side extension and a large two-storey rear extension erected in very close proximity to it .

Mrs Jarvis also pointed out that as No.10 was on a higher ground level than No.8 and therefore the proposed extensions would “present an oppressive and overbearing structure”.

Also, because the Jarvis’s dining room window faces south, the proposed extension would also “involve a significant loss of natural light”. She said she and her husband would be “the neighbours most negatively affected by the current application”.

Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

In the ensuing discussion Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward) said  “From a planning point of view I always get upset when people build right up to the boundary”. He said the development was “crazy” . Knowbury Avenue was “a row of detached houses and they should stay like that”  .

Cllr Neil Thomas said the applicants would be “more than doubling the footprint of their property”.

Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward) said that “as the ward councillor – at this moment anyway “ [an allusion to his controversial “deselection” as Vale Councillor by the Penarth Conservative Association]. Cllr Williams said he had looked at this property with neighbours and considered that the proposed front porch, replacement windows and the rear extension were acceptable but that the “two storey extensions at the side would leave a tall wall which would be extremely close to No.8 and would be extremely offensive”. Cllr Williams said that he would “bite the bullet straight away” , would recommend refusal and that he intended to “call in” the application for consideration by the full Vale of Glamorgan planning committee.

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines) noted that the extension of No.10 Knowbury Avenue would be directly south of No.8 – meaning that “for a large part of the year  [No 8] would be in permanent shade”.  He said the committee should not support the application because of the interruption to natural light  .

Cllr Anthony Ernest, Conservative Plymouth Ward

Cllr Anthony Ernest, Conservative Plymouth Ward

Cllr Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward) said the application would be  “a gross overdevelopment – the built structure would be doubled in size”  . He said the practice of building up to the boundary wall “causes untold problems”.  He seconded Cllr Williams’s motion to recommend refusal of the application.

Cllr Philip Rapier (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Philip Rapier (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Philip Rapier (Labour St Augustines) said he hoped the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s planning officer would take due note of the research which had been done on “substrates” because the development “could render the existing structures unsafe and could put both buildings at risk” .

Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell)

Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell)

Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell) said one of the elements discussed had been the “right to light” which was what he described as a “tort of nuisance”. There was a 25-year time limit on that and it was a matter of civil law and not planning.  Cllr Wilson also raised the other issue – whether or not the proposed development was “neighbourly” – and said he did not think that it was and he would recommend opposing the application on the grounds that “it’s a unneighbourly development and it’s not consistent with the street scene” . 

Winding up the discussion Cllr Neil Thomas said the committee would recommend refusal of the application. The final decision will be made by the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

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PICK’N’MIX DISTANCES ON PENARTH’S NEW-LOOK PEDESTRIAN SIGNS

One of the new signs being installed outside St Augustine's Church yesterday. Pedestrians will have to decide whether the Barrage is a quarter of a mile away or half a mile away Confusingly both distances are given for the same destination on the same sign

One of the new signs being installed outside St Augustine’s Church yesterday. Pedestrians will have to decide whether the Barrage is a three-quarters of a mile away or half-a-mile away. Confusingly both distances are given for the same destination on the same sign.

Many people who have been wondering what the purpose is of the new black steel posts which have sprouted up  on pavements around Penarth have this week discovered what they’re there for.

Teams of council workers have been installing the new £26,000 Penarth “wayfinding signage” which has been specially commissioned by Penarth Town Council (the £26k does not include the cost of installation).

Some might quibble with the sign's assertion that it's only a quarter of a mile from St Augustine's to Penarth Railway Station

Some might quibble with the sign’s assertion that it’s only a quarter of a mile from St Augustine’s to Penarth Railway Station

The signage project has been delivered by the “Future Projects Partnership Group” – a group of unelected volunteers which meets monthly to develop and implement aspects of the council’s “Town Place Plan” .  The idea was to provide greater help for  visitors and residents alike to help them reach their destinations on foot .

The new signs are in black , with white lettering,  and offer bilingual text with the text in Welsh appearing above the English.

The distances are given in miles or fractions of miles – but some people have already quibbled about the distances given on the signs.

Plaid Council candidate Anne Greagsby says of the new signs "...wish they could utilise existing poles not plonk them in middle of the footpath." She says the town plan was supposed to reduce street clutter.

Plaid Cymru council candidate Anne Greagsby says of the new signs “Wish they could utilise existing poles not plonk them in middle of the footpath.” She says the town plan was supposed to reduce street clutter.

One of Plaid Cymru’s May 2017 candidates for the St Augustine’s Ward –  Anne Greagsby of Penarth Civic Society  – queried whether a sign in Clive Place claiming Penarth Station is only a quarter of a mile away was accurate. [ PDN Note the actual distance is about half a mile – but at least it’s mostly downhill  ]

The signs have been supplied by Furnitubes International Ltd at a cost of £26,396.40p – but there were problems in erecting some of them.

In one case, a finger-post –  meant to point to Cardiff Bay from St Augustine’s Church  – appeared to have been delivered with no means of locking it in position. A gust of wind or a mischievous vandal could easily  move it around to point in entirely the wrong direction – an effective tactic used by the Germans in France after D Day to confuse Allied troops.

The signage project was originally initiated following criticism made in a council meeting in September 2015   by Cllr Philip Rapier (Labour St Augustines) who drew attention to of the deteriorating state of some of the existing “finger-posts” or pedestrian direction signs in the town.

 

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