Four of the many Stanwell School students who clinched the A-Level grades they wanted today

A-Level pupils at both of Penarth’s state secondary schools – Stanwell and St Cyres – appear to have taken the new “tougher” breed of A Level examinations in their stride and have emerged with flying colours.

Anxious pupils and many parents arrived at both schools before breakfast this morning to collect the sealed envelopes containing the details of the A Level results .


Dr Jonathan Hicks – headteacher of St Cyres congratulates Rebekah West whose A Level performance has won her a place at Trinity College, Cambridge to study natural sciences. Ben Thomas (right) was another outstanding St Cyres student who achieved no less than 5 A grades. He’ll be enrolling at Cardiff University and will cleverly avoid  student debt by living at home

St Cyres School said its students had “once more performed exceptionally well “ with 23% of the grades being at A-Star or A.   83% of  A Level results were graded A-Star to C – the highest yet achieved in the school’s  history and a result which represents a 14% increase on 2017.

The headteacher Dr Jonathan Hicks said “ The hard work of our students and the professionalism and dedication of our teaching staff – who have supported them every step of the way – have once again produced excellent results “. Dr Hicks added “I congratulate them on their achievements and wish them well in the next stage of their lives”

Haneen (left) was delighted with her results, Rebecca (centre) had deliberately decided not to open her envelope and Gni Dan’s results had secured him the place he wanted in Swansea – not in university but an apprenticeship where he’ll be earning a salary from day one.

Every one of the students entered for the Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Challenge Skills Certificate achieved that qualification with 29% of students winning A-Star or A grades – double the figure for 2017


Look-out Westminster: .These three Stanwell students Niall, Evan and Dan are planning to read politics amongst their subjects at university

At Stanwell School – reckoned to be one of the outstanding secondary schools in Wales – results in the A Level exams and in the Welsh Baccalaureate were also  significantly higher than in 2017 – despite the fact that this year the exams were more challenging.

65% of Stanwell pupils achieved A-Star to B grades.  13% of pupils achieved the coveted outstanding A-Star grade (the best performance by Stanwell pupils in the last 3 years). 37% of pupils achieved grades of A-Star / A grades.

Five  Stanwell pupils have achieved the results they needed for admission to either Oxford or Cambridge  including all the students who are planning to study medicine.

For these girls celebrating their results today was their very last day in school. From now on they’re university students.

All the students took away not only an impressive set of results but also a “facebook” memento of their years at Stanwell

Waiting anxiously for news outside the gates of Stanwell School were the Griffin family. It was good news for Olivia Griffin who achieved the grades she needed for university




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A number of Penarth Heights homes were initially used by developers Crest Nicholson as marketing suites. The one on the left bore “Welcome to Penarth Heights” signage. The one on the right has been used as Crest’s final marketing suite – but has now been been converted into a normal house and is on the market with a local estate agent. (Photo Andrew Jones)

The “Welcome to Penarth Heights” signage on the site of the former Crest Nicholson sales office for the Penarth Heights development has finally come down – and the property is now being converted – as planned – into a new home.

The move marks – at long last – the conclusion of the entire Penarth Heights development – an innovative private housing scheme which has now entirely subsumed what was the site of the former grey, forbidding and monolithic “Billybanks” council estate.

The grey concrete of the Labour-built Billybanks Council Estate once dominated the Penarth skyline.

The completion of Penarth Heights marks not only the conclusion of  a major change in the streetscape of Penarth  but also a social milestone for the town.

The Billybanks – dubbed the “Alcatraz” of Penarth – was a largely unlamented and badly-built series of Soviet-style council apartment blocks, thrown up in the 1960s. It has now been totally replaced by a 377 mostly privately-owned modern homes.


Work under way on positioning the first pontoons in Penarth Marina in 1987 . The stark and forbidding Billybanks council apartment blocks loom on skyline behind. (Photo John Clark)

1985: Crest Nicholson begins the development of Penarth Marina at the derelict and closed Penarth Docks . The dock entrance is temporarily sealed off and the water pumped out of the Outer Basin   Tons of accumulated mud are dug out of the entrance lock and is driven out by a squadron of Volvo excavators. The earth bund, built between the inner and outer basins (where Town Quay now is) is removed.

1987: Penarth Marina develops the Outer Basin as the first part of the Marina. It is still a saltwater harbour with direct access to the Bristol Channel.  In the two yacht basins of Penarth Marina, pontoons are installed for 300 boats .

Housing is developed around the basins. The half of the huge Inner Basin, which has been used as a  refuse dump, is grassed over and becomes Plymouth Park.

1986: The Cardiff Bay Development Corporation begins work on the creation of Cardiff Bay – but the bay is still a tidal area where the mud is exposed twice a day

1993 : In Parliament the Cardiff Bay Barrage Act is passed (The Welsh Assembly has yet to be foisted on Wales. In 1979 in a natonal referendum 956,330 votes – 79.74% of the total –   had been  cast against setting up a Welsh Assembly .)

1994: Work begins on the Cardiff Bay Barrage – a huge boulder wall which will impound the new freshwater lake ( a project which is completed in 1999) .

2002, A plan for the wholesale regeneration of the  North Penarth area – and specifically the replacement of the Billybanks council estate  is approved by the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

2004: The Vale of Glamorgan Council invites bids for the development of a “flagship economic regeneration project ”  to replace the rapidily-deteriorating Labour-built Billybanks housing estate which is falling to bits even though it’s less than 40 years old.

An early artist’s impression of what the Penarth Heights and its “towers” were intended to look like when completed

2007 : Crest’s ambitious proposed design and layout for Penarth Heights sees off the competition and the firm began  the huge job of demolishing the Billybanks .

By this time more than a third of the Billybanks flats –  which streamed with condensation and didn’t even have double glazing – were vacant . Some were said to be unfit for human habitation.

Billybanks demolition begins (Urbex)

2010 : Demolition of the 300 dwelling Billybanks begins and the ground is cleared for the  first phase of the 377-home Penarth Heights private housing development – which will include a ratio of “affordable housing”.

Former council tenants, who want to return to the redeveloped site are offered a guarantee that they will be considered for the available social housing within the Penarth Heights development.

A 2007 artist’s impression of what the Penarth Heights completed “towers” would look like when viewed from Penarth Marina

2018 : The Penarth Heights scheme is completed. Crest Nicholson – the company that changed the face of Penarth –  leaves town.

The first houses built by Crest Nicholson in Penarth Marina in the 1980s were priced at under £20,000. The final new house at Penarth Heights – The Ocean – is for sale (through Shepherd Sharpe) for £689,00.

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Nuclear expert Tim Deere-Jones castigates the Welsh Labour Government’s handing of the mud dumping issue – saying “ This is a government which has extolled the virtues of open government and transparency and yet, on the issue of radioactive mud dumping, it seems to me that it has behaved in the opposite manner”

A group of 40 local “Nuclear Free” local authorities has now been told by marine radioactivity consultant Tim Deere-Jones how the Welsh Labour Government manouvered to cut-short full consideration of the plans to dump thousands of tons of allegedly radioactive mud off Penarth. 

The 40 Nuclear Free Local Authorities in the UK (the NFLA) – have welcomed the weekend decision by French energy company EDF to postpone until September the dumping off Penarth of sediment dredged offshore from the Hinkley Point nuclear power complex.

The Hinkley Point nuclear power complex in Somerset – as seen from Penarth

The dumping of 320,000 tonnes of allegedly radioactive mud was due to be started at the Cardiff Grounds,  a mile off shore from Penarth,  tomorrow –  Thursday August 16th 2018. EDF had given the Welsh Government regulator, Natural Resources Wales, only the absolute minimum amount of advance notice required by their licence – just 1o days.

Then on Friday August 10th there was an unexplained about-turn from EDF – who then told Natural Resources Wales the mud dumping would take place some time in “September” – but didn’t give a precise date .

Marine pollution consultant Tim Deere-Jones

The NFLA say that independent marine radioactivity consultant Tim Deere-Jones – who was behind the earlier petition against the mud dumping scheme.

Deere-Jones has  now set out why he thinks the Welsh Labour Government “cut short” full consideration of the public petition he initiated . He says  :-

“The Senedd Petition Committee hearings of evidence, in response to the public petition to postpone the dump and initiate a full Welsh Environmental Impact Assessment on the proposal, was cut short by the Welsh Government, because EDF  needed to know what the final decision would be quickly as there were time pressures in completing the dredge and to dump the material this summer.”

“The Assembly Petitions Committee  was forced to cut short its deliberations and encouraged to produce a report without sufficient time to deliberate on the evidence and generate substantive  conclusions and recommendations on the way forward.”

“Thus, when the issue was debated in the Senedd no conclusions or recommendations were put forward to be voted on by AMs. The whole exercise was also nullified by the decision to abruptly call an end to Senedd Petition Committee deliberations.”

The nuclear mud dumping site – marked in red – Is just a mile off the Penarth shore.

Tim Deere-Jones says “No action to commence the dredging had been announced until last week, approximately 3 months after the Senedd debate and around 4 months after the order to terminate the Petition Committee proceedings had been given.”

“The latest decision to postpone the dredge and dump until sometime in September further confirms that the termination of the Petition Committee proceedings was not necessary.”

The Welsh Assembly’s Petitions Committee: Tim Deere-Jones says consideration of the nuclear mud dumping scheme here was deliberately “cut short” by the Welsh Labour Government.

Deere-Jones says the original decision to terminate the Petition Committee proceedings in the Welsh Assembly was “founded on a desire to bring a swift end to the debate about the re-licencing of EDF’s dump and to ensure that the Petitions Committee had no opportunity to draw up substantive conclusions or recommendations that could be voted on by AMs.”

Meanwhile the 40 Nuclear Free Local Authorities are calling again  on the Welsh Labour Government and Natural Resources Wales to “reconsider the approvals previously given and fully take on board the high level of public unease there is in dumping such large amounts of sediment off the Welsh coast.” .

They say that ” A greater level of scientific testing of the material that is planned for dumping should be thoroughly made to consider its radioactive and other material content to ensure that it can be demonstrated to be fully ‘safe’ and not a long-term marine environmental hazard.

The Welsh Assembly and the Welsh Government is supposed to be democratic and transparent. In fact it’s anything but that – says Deere-Jones .

Tim Deere-Jones says of the Welsh Labour Government This is a government which has extolled the virtues of open government and transparency and yet, on the issue of radioactive mud dumping, it seems to me that it has behaved in the opposite manner. The dumping of such material off the coast of Wales needs to primarily consider public safety and cleanliness of the marine and land environment, rather than to the direct benefit of the nuclear industry.”

Tim Deere-Jones is to address a Welsh Forum seminar taking place at Cardiff County Hall on the September 28th 2018.

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It seems police were on “Paw Patrol” in Penarth on Monday

Apparently the hard-pressed Penarth Police are now having to investigate cases of  dog-owners who allow their pets to pee in a public place.

A dog-owner whose pet briefly urinated in a Penarth back lane  has received a visit at home from local police making enquiries into the alleged “crime”.

The Labrador – similar to this one – was only doing what comes naturally – but ended up with its owner being interviewed by the police

Although dog-owners have been bound by law for years to pick up faeces deposited by their pets,  there has been no national legislation requiring them to try to stop their animals urinating in the street or in back lanes.

However some councils are  now attempting to bring in local by-laws or Public Spaces Protection Orders which could have the same effect.

A resident of Tower Hill – a lane in the Penarth Conservation Area – has laid an official complaint to police about a dog allegedly urinating in the lane

The Penarth case apparently involves a complaint  by a resident of Tower Hill  about a elderly labrador that allegedly took a leak on Sunday August 12th 2018  in the partly-pedestrianised lane when out with its owner.

The issue is now one which  – potentially –  could affect all dog-owners in Penarth and throughout the Vale of Glamorgan. One dog-owner says that it now appears that dogs daring to go walkies down Tower Hill –  may now need to wear nappies in order not to outrage local residents.

However, the scales of justice in this case  – and others like it –  may well be coming down on the side of  local dog-owners . On April 12th 2018  dog walkers in Richmond won a landmark court victory in the High Court against Richmond Council which had tried use a “Public Spaces Protection Order” to stop pesky pets peeing on their local lamposts.

This verdict is  one of the first major defeats for the relatively new Public Spaces Protection Orders in England and Wales – and will now bolster the defence for any dog owners who may be threatened with such prosecutions.

Tower Hill doesn’t have a Public Spaces Protection Order on it …yet

Tower Hill lane is NOT  – as yet – subject to a Public Spaces Protection Order and is therefore not a no-go area for canines who happen to be caught short.

South Wales Police –  who constantly claim to have insufficient resources –  have yet to explain why they considered this investigation to be a responsible use of police officers’ time.

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Some of the younger contestants in a former Beauty Pageant. The finals of this year’s Miss Beauty event are to be held in the Penarth Town Council-controlled Paget Rooms Penarth in May next year (Photo: Simon Payne Photography)

The Labour-controlled Penarth Town Council has hired out the Paget Rooms in Penarth next year to stage a beauty contest for children as young as 3-years-of-age.

The upcoming Miss Beauty UK Contest is divided in to several age categories which include :-

  • “Little Miss” – for children aged between 3 and 7 years of age (Prize £80)
  • “Junior Miss” – for children aged between 8 and 11 (Prize  £80)
  • “Junior Teen” – for children between 12 and 15  (Prize £90)

A “free chaperone” is to be provided for each one of the younger (under 16) competitors – presumably to set at rest any concerns local parents might have about “safeguarding”.

The programme for next year’s  “Miss Beauty UK” contest at the Paget Rooms Penarth

All the entrants will receive “Pageant training” to ensure that they won’t put a foot wrong when the spotlight is on them.

There’s also a category for men and boys called “Mister” . The qualifying age for this is not defined because it will  depend on the ages of those who enter for the contest.

However the organisers say the all winners will receive a sash, but make it clear that the winning “Mister” will not be expected to wear a tiara . (The winning girls in each category will each have a tiara to take home).

The contest is the fourth which has been held to date is expected to evoke  some of the glamour of the old televised Miss UK contests. Last year’s event was held in Bridgend –  but it’s thought this is the first time for the finals – involving such young children – to be held in Penarth.

The event is being organised by Synergy UK and is scheduled to take place at the Paget Rooms in Penarth on May 4th 2019 .






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A new on-line petition has been launched to oppose the dumping of 320,000 tonnes of potentially radioactive mud a mile off shore from Penarth

A new on-line petition has  now been  launched to oppose plans by the French energy company EDF to dump 320,000 tonnes of allegedly ‘nuclear’ mud from the Hinkley Point nuclear power complex  – just a mile off-shore from Penarth.

The ‘nuclear’ mud dumping had been due to begin the day after tomorrow (Thursday August 16th) after EDF gave the bare minimum of advance notice to the Welsh Labour Government’s environmental watchdog Natural Resources Wales

However in a 180-degree U-turn at the weekend, EDF – possibly prompted by growing public concern – changed its mind and said the dumping project would be postponed until “September” (no precise date was given).

This mud at the site of the old Hinkley Point nuclear power station – which campaigners say could be radioactive – is to be dumped in the sea off Penarth – thanks to the Welsh Labour Government

More than  7,000 members of the public had already signed a previous on-line petition against the scheme – but this was arbitrarily rejected by the Welsh Labour Government.

Labour ministers – none of whom are scientists themselves – decided to follow the official advice they had been given and declared that the dredged-up mud is will be “safe”.

Stephen Doughty (Labour MP Cardiff South and Penarth – left) and Vaughan Gething (Labour AM Cardiff South and Penarth) have kept very quiet about the project

Despite their supposed obligation to “represent” the people of  Penarth , the two  Labour politicians Stephen Doughty (Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth) and Vaughan Gething (Labour AM for Cardiff South and Penarth) have remained uncharacteristically silent on the project.

Cllr John Thomas Conservative Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council opposes the mud dumpng

The Conservative run Vale of Glamorgan Council and its leader Cllr John Thomas  had demanded more thorough testing before the go-ahead for any dumping was given – but the council’s plea was over-ridden and ignored by the Welsh Labour Government.

Conservative AM for South Wales Central David Melding enjoys the sun on the sea front at Penarth

Local Conservative AM David Melding (South Wales Central) – who lives in Penarth – has declared his support for the nuclear mud-dumping project and says he is not convinced by the arguments that environmental lobbyists have marshalled against the plans.

The new petition is aimed at the Welsh Labour Government’s First Minister Carwyn Jones and says “We call on you to suspend the license to dump mud and clays from Hinkley Point in the Severn Estuary.

Despite the weight of public opposition Labour First Minister Carwyn Jones is likely to refuse calls to halt the project. He quits in December.

The petition to Carwyn Jones goes on to state “Your ministers have failed to meet your duties on safeguarding our marine environment (UK Marine Act) and to comply with the international agreements (OSPAR, London anti-dumping Convention) on assessment of effects upon human health and marine flora and fauna. The mud was insufficiently tested at depth, with only 5 compared with the minimum 7 under OSPAR for the 300 000 tonnes. The Senedd Petitions Committee was right to ask for further testing and NRW wrong to refuse it, as the few deeper samples show up to 3 times more uranium and radium. The data are reproduced at
There was no testing for radioactively “hot” microparticles, as found near other nuclear reactor sites, which would be serious if inhaled or ingested. The testing for toxic heavy metals found abundances above “Action Level 1″. Especially as the dumping ground is in the Severn Estuary SAC (Special Area of Conservation), it was essential for the harm to wildlife to be assessed and mitigated or avoided.”

The red area is where the mud from the nuclear power station site will be dumped – starting next Thursday

The petition goes on to say “This mud will deposit on mud-flats in the Estuary and up its tidal rivers, blow ashore as dust when drying out, or blow ashore from micro-spray generated by white-water bubbles, so contaminating food-growing sites and gardens. No-one knows how much of a problem this could be – a precautionary approach must be taken while it is studied.”

Anyone who wants to sign the protest petition can do so on

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Could this canvas that was discovered on a pavement in Penarth be an abandoned “self-portrait” ?

Local police say a mysterious oil-painting of three heads has been found abandoned outside a house in the town.

It’s thought the artwork might have been stolen but then ditched by the thieves, or maybe has been left out on the pavement for the next recycling collection by a disenchanted owner who has been spooked by the subject matter.

Either way Penarth Police have now issued a plea for the rightful owner of the abandoned  canvas to come forward and collect it. Alternatively, anyone who knows anything about the somewhat sinister picture can call the police on 101 quoting reference 1800287665.

An art expert has speculated that the painting could be a “self-portrait” – so if anyone’s happened to spot somebody walking around Penarth who looks like any of the people in the painting, the police would certainly like to know about it .

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