“Hello?”  In recent weeks some mobile phone subscribers in Penarth have reported a slew of signal problems

Some mobile phone customers in Penarth are reporting experiencing reception and signal problems in parts of the town.

It’s understood that one of the affected networks, E E  [ “Everything Everywhere”],  is amongst those affected.

A message on the EE website today . The postcode coincides with the former Robert Smith premises

One of the two remaining mobile transmitters installed at the former Robert Smith car showroom in Windsor Road is said to have failed .

One PDN source says he understands that maintenance engineers have not be able to obtain access to the premises to carry out repairs.

It was only in July 2016 that a new mobile phone transmitter was installed at the former Robert Smith Premises – a project which involved ” “removal of the existing antenna mounted on a flagpole, the installation of two panel antennas, the swap out on a like for like basis of the existing face mounted antenna, the installation of a samo cabinet, measuring 750 X 600 X 1980 mm, located at ground level and associated development”

In March this year a huge crane removed one of the three mobile telephone masts from the former Robert Smith car showroom in Windsor Road (Photo John Clark)

However in March this year a mobile crane removed one of the three mobile telephone masts from the top of the former showroom – leaving just 2 transmitters on the site – one of which appears to be currently out of action.

Pure Commercial Finance Ltd has won planning permission to convert the building into  12 residential apartments with a gymnasium on the ground floor. The existing adjacent lawn-mower repair business Pro-Mow will not be affected by the development.


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Long overdue refurbishment of the changing rooms is to be completed by the end of next March

The long-awaited upgrade to the changing rooms in Penarth Leisure Centre is due to be completed by the end of March 2019 – Vale councillors were told last night.

Vale of Glamorgan Councillors were told last night that the original procurement process using the Welsh Labour Government’s “Sell 2 Wales” website had not had “not resulted in an acceptable tender being received ”

The work had been out to tender a second time and a “successful tender has now been received” who it was hoped to sign up “in the very near future“.

Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell) had asked for an update on the anticipated completion date for the work

Cllr Gordon Kemp who is in charge of health and leisure services

Cllr Gordon Kemp who is cabinet member for social care, health and leisure said the putative contractor had proposed alternative working methods for carrying out the contract which would enable the Penarth Leisure Centre to remain open throughout the process and that this would result in the work being completed more quickly.

Cllr Wilson asked whether Cllr Kemp would inform local councillors about when the work would take place, how long it would last and provide regular updates so that they could “scrutinise what is occurring”.

Cllr Kemp said the council was anticipating the works being completed by the end of March 2019 – two months later than originally planned.  If there was a further delay councillors would – he said – be notified.  However if there was no delay, the end of March 2019 would be the completion date.

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The Coates-Carter- designed public toilets at Albert Road Penarth

At the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s full meeting last night cabinet member Cllr Geoff Cox  said “I can confirm that there are currently no plans to dispose of the [public] toilets in Penarth Town Centre”

Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell)

Cllr Mark Wilson(Labour Stanwell) had asked “Many residents in my ward and in the community of the rest of Penarth have heard that the Vale Council is looking to dispose of our only public toilets in the centre of Penarth, bearing in mind that Penarth has an increasing ageing population and is hoping to secure dementia friendly town status. Will the relevant Cabinet Member reconsider, as many people including myself consider it to be a strategic asset in the town ?”

Cllr Geoffrey Cox has cabinet responsibility for Neighbourhood Services and Transport.

Cllr Cox – who is in charge of neighbourhood services – said  the council had an obligation to produce what he called “a local toilet strategy” by the 31st of May 2019 . The strategy would need to consider the availability of toilets both public and private [i.e privately owned toilets accessible to the general public] in the Vale of Glamorgan .

In a supplementary question, Cllr Wilson  said he was glad to hear that the toilets in Penarth Town Centre would be retained , but he  pressed for an even more copper-bottomed guarantee from the Conservative-run council  – that the toilets in Penarth Town Centre will be “retained for the lifetime of your administration”

Cllr Cox – somewhat wearily replied “Cllr Wilson you know you can’t confirm things like that for goodness knows how many years.” and re-iterated that there would be plenty of time for consultation prior to the deadline of May 31st 2019.




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The Vale Council has given negligible publicity to this week’s closure of Penarth Pier

There appears to be escalating chaos around the filming of a Judi Dench, Eddie Izzard movie called “Six Minutes to Midnight” – being apparently being filmed partly in Penarth and partly in Llandudno,

Requests by  the film crew to carry out “structural alterations” to Llandudno Pier were refused by the firm that owns the pier and filming work is said to have “come to an abrupt end

As a result scenes which were to have been filmed in Llandudno are to be shot on Penarth Pier – further limiting access to Penarth Pier for local residents and visitors.

This morning the Vale of Glamorgan Council issued a brief and unexpected press release saying that Penarth Pier would be closed from today Wednesday July 18th until Saturday July 21st.  It’s most unusual for such minimal notice to be given of the closure of a major public facility.

The release also stated that businesses on Penarth Pier would be able to claim compensation for loss of business during the closure . The Vale Council has said that “any businesses affected by this will be compensated by the production company” [i.e not from the council]

An official Vale of Glamorgan Council notice has been posted at the entrance to Penarth Pier. There was little – if any –  advance notice of the closure.

Confusingly later today local traders said they had been told by the film company that the pier would be open as usual today and – said that notwithstanding the council’s official announcement, members of the public would still be allowed on the pier today.

It seems however that this is entirely at the discretion of the film company and applies – or may apply – just during times when  equipment and props are   being wheeled into place.

The huge caravan of film trucks which was parked up at the Penarth end of the Barrage last week, is now is on its way back to Penarth – after a failure to reach agreement to film on with Llandudno Pier

Meanwhile the Six Minutes to Midnight film crew – a massive caravan of some 40 trucks – is pulling out of Llandudno and returning to Penarth to carry on filming .

Llandudno Pier owner Adam Williams said he was “unable to meet the demands the film crews were asking for in such a short space of time.”  and said Llandudno Pier would have been forced to close for at least a week in the peak season.

Mr Williams said of the structural changes proposed by the film company to Llandudno Pier I can’t let that happen, I have the future of the Pier to think about. I need to make sure we can open after the film crews have gone.” Mr Williams’s decision to refuse the film company has been backed by Llandudno mayor, David Hawkins

Nowthe scenes that would have been filmed on Llandudno Pier will be filmed on Penarth Pier – and that – say insiders – is likely to impose further restrictions on public access to Penarth Pier at the peak of the summer season.

The irony is that the production company making the film Mad as Birds Ltd is based in Llandudno.

Two of the electric golf carts used to tow props to the end of the pier

Small electric golf carts are have been towing trailers loaded with miscellaneous pieces of scenery and props to the end of the pier throughout the day

The miscellany of weird stage props assembled at the end of Penarth Pier for the movie ” Six Minutes to Midnight “

Some of the props appeared to be pre WW2 restaurant advertising boards, a native American Indian head-dress, a piano

The Six Minutes to Midnight crew at work on Penarth Esplanade a few days ago (Photo
Matthew Horwood / )

As already reported on PDN, the movie crew  carried out two days of filming on Penarth Esplanade last week where – on one of the warmest and driest nights of the year –  night sequences were shot in simulated heavy rain .

One PDN source says the fact that two locations in Wales are being used for filming indicates that the production may well be being underwritten by the Welsh Labour Government – using taxpayer’s money.  To date PDN has not been able to obtain any confirmation of this, nor any details on how the production is being financed

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Bags found to be over the two-bag limit will be ticketed from September

Under the new refuse collection arrangements which come into force on September 2 any householder who puts out more than 2 black bags per fortnight will have a parking-ticket-style notice stuck to the excess bags – explaining why they have not been collected.

Rogue householders who persist in exceeding the two-bag limit can also expect a visit from Vale of Glamorgan “Waste Wardens” who will offer “support” to residents who have trouble remaining under the two-bag limit .

Vale of Glamorgan refuse lorry crews taking a black bag breather in Penarth’s cliff-top car park

The new details have emerged in a meeting of the council’s environmental scrutiny committee at which  operational manager, Colin Smith   re-assured councillors  that there is a “lot of provision for households in need of support” . He told the committee that for the past 10 years (under both Labour and Conservative control) the council had been “trying to educate people to recycle” .

There are new rules too for residents who load black bags in their cars and take them to the council’s waste facility in Barry .

A Vale of Glamorgan refuse truck .

Before being admitted to the recycling facility, they will have to prove they actually live in the Vale of Glamorgan [ similar restrictions for Cardiff residents apply at the Cardiff Council recycling facility ] . Operatives at Barry are authorised to open the black bags to check that they don’t contain material which could have been recycled – but wasn’t.

Cllr Lis Burnett (Labour Stanwell)

Councillor Lis Burnett (Labour Stanwell) said that it might be “upsetting” for what she called “responsible people”  to have notices stuck on placed on their excess bin bags.  She asked that the council provided details of someone householders could contact with their “fears and concerns.”

Mr Smith assured her there would be “no question” that support would be available to residents who want to recycle but confirmed that “It will be necessary to have stickers”.

Similar restrictions are being rolled out across the whole of Wales to meet requirements laid down by the Welsh Labour Government and councils which don’t comply can face fines.

As previously reported by PDN the new black bag restrictions come into force on September 2nd this year and a new “kerbside-separated” recycling service is also to be introduced in Penarth  in April  2020 – subject to Welsh Government funding.

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The Hafan Dawel mental health centre is part of Avon House on Stanwell Road, Penarth

The “Hafan Dawel” Mental Health Centre which occupies a small part of the Avon House office complex in Stanwell Road Penarth is to close.

The centre which supports adults with mental health difficulties is one of three centres in the Vale to shut. The others are the Amy Evans Centre in Barry and the facility at Cowbridge Health Centre

All three centres including Hafan Dawel will close in September and will replaced by an expanded facility at  Barry Hospital.

Mental health charities have broadly welcomed the decision and say it will lead to  a more comprehensive service being provided under one roof

Caroline Chapman, CEO of Vale of Glamorgan Mind, says “The move to a more modern building will provide a better experience for people who live in the Vale of Glamorgan, and with a greater emphasis on a person-centred, recovery-focused service will help those who need it most.”


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The Casualty encampment on the Clff Walk golf course

The familiar tv crew from the BBC medical soap “Casualty” is back in Penarth this week to shoot an action sequence for an episode which will be going out later in the year.

Today they set up base camp on the freshly mown but somewhat parched minature golf course

Casualty character Dylan Keogh (played by William Beck) guns the throttle of the Land Rover down Plymouth Road with a cameraman shooting from the rear. Little does “Dylan” know how seriously  injured he is about to be

In the action sequence which makes suburban Penarth look like the streets of San Francisco, a saloon car chases a Land Rover past some of the most exclusive and pricey properties in Plymouth Road.

The producers of the classic ’60s Steve McQueen car chase movie Bullitt couldn’t afford aerials – but Casualty can . Earlier in the day the Casualty crew had deployed their new secret weapon  – a remote-control drone carrying a tv camera which provides aerial tracking shots of the car chase  as it happens.

The chase car a Nissan Qashqai reverses back as far as it can before giving chase to the Land Rover.

You never know with Casualty – there may just be an awful accident waiting to befall the blue Landrover . Filming however, stretches out reality and the actual impact won’t be shot until tomorrow. The crew said  local residents had been very helpful and co-operative

The unit were working at the location tonight until 19:00   and will be back again in an adjacent the area tomorrow to finish off their shoot. The crew say they’re hoping for a cloudy grey day – because the weather in this episode is supposed to look like November.

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