“NO CYCLING” ON THE NEW SECTION OF PENARTH’S CONTROVERSIAL ZIG-ZAG CYCLE-PATH

The new section of the Zig Zag path is still under construction- whilst  the existing route is mostly used by pedestrians

The new section of the Zig Zag path is still under construction- whilst the existing route is mostly used by pedestrians

It appears that cyclists – once envisaged as the prime users of Penarth’s controversial Zig-Zag path – are to be excluded from a new “feeder” path being built to connect with the down-hill route.

The new section of footpath will run from the last-but-one curve of the Zig-Zag up to a point near at Trem y Bae at the top of the Penarth Heights escarpment  – a section of the estate which is further west than the existing start-point  at St Joseph’s Mews. The new section will serve pedestrians who live in the Trem y Bae, Trem Elai and Gibson Way areas of Penarth Heights.

The new section of the Zig-Zag is only one metre wide -ruling out use by cyclists

The new section of the Zig-Zag is only one metre wide -ruling out its use by cyclists

In contrast with the 3 metre width of the main Zig Zag path  (which is the  minimum width possible for safe use by both cyclists and pedestrians)  the new section of  path will be only 1 metre wide – which residents believe will confine its use to pedestrians only.

The construction area has been temporarily fenced off whilst work on the new pathway is carried out . All the bushes, trees and vegetation at the top of the escarpment have been removed to facilitate the development.

The Zig Zag path itself – which some local residents say was a just vanity project for the  Labour-controlled Vale Council   – is still being heavily criticised for its lack of lighting – which makes it hazardous to use at night.

Elderly residents say they have to use torches to find their way up the Zig Zag after dark

Elderly residents say they have to use torches to find their way up the Zig Zag after dark

One couple who moved to Penarth Heights three years ago told PDN that they had to use torches to find their way up the incline after dark.

A sum of  £25,000 was allocated for lighting on the Zig Zag path last year – derived from the £325,000 Penarth Heights Highways and Sustainable Transport Projects budget – but no lighting has yet appeared.

Rest areas were supposed to be installed on the insides of the curves. They weren't.

“Rest areas” and “viewing platforms” were supposed to be installed on the insides of the curves. They weren’t.

Apart from lighting. there are a number of other features of the original design which are still missing. These include “Combined rest / viewing platforms” which were supposed to be “positioned at regular intervals along the path within its apex corners”.  The Vale of Glamorgan Council had also said “the platforms will be afforded with street art”. None of these features was installed.

A model of the Twinkling Weather  Station at Penarth Heights

A model of the Twinkling Weather Station at Penarth Heights

There is still no sign either of the heavily criticised “Twinkling Weather Station” which was supposed to be installed in Penarth Heights at the top of the escarpment so that it could be seen from across Cardiff Bay . Locals say they believe the weight of criticism has led to the concept being quietly junked.

Sustrans critic Cllr Philip Rapier (Labour St Augustines)

Sustrans critic Cllr Philip Rapier (Labour St Augustines)

The £250,000 Zig-Zag Path 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”/lobby group Sustrans .

Sustrans  is 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)

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

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 claimed to be   “keen cyclists” .

However the Zig Zag path itself is now primarily being used, not by bikers, but by pedestrians.

An cycling helmet lies abandoned - cast aside into the bushes on the Zig Zag Path.

An cycling helmet lies abandoned – cast aside into the bushes on the Zig Zag Path.

Cyclists – for whom the convoluted route was originally designed   –  appear to have largely abandoned the route and continue to use the main roads instead.

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ANCIENT ST PETER’S CHURCH TO HAVE CAR PARK AND COMMUNITY HALL ADDED

St Paul's Cogan - Penarth's oldest building

St Paul’s Cogan – Penarth’s oldest building

The 5th Century St Peter’s Church in old Cogan – said to be the oldest place of worship in the Vale of Glamorgan –  is to hold this year’s  “Open Day” on Saturday July 4th .

As  reported by PDN last week (see http://tinyurl.com/o77ukr3) a “Friends of St Peter’s Church” group has been formally inaugurated with the aim of renovating and developing the ancient church (which is  a Grade 2 listed building and scheduled Ancient Monument) and providing more facilities for worshipers and members of the public.

St Peter's is the most ancient place of worship in the Vale

St Peter’s is the most ancient place of worship in the Vale

The “Friends” have announced that they aim to:-

  • improve drainage and stop in the ingress of damp at the church,
  • replace the rotting timber flooring,
  • provide a car park (The Welsh Church Act Estate Committee has already granted  consent to lease a portion of land to St Peter’s Church for use as a car park )
  • build a toilet block
  •  build a separate meeting hall at the site for the use of the congregation and the local community
Part of the timber floor of the church is rotting

Part of the timber floor of the church is rotting

The chairman of the Friends of St Peter’s, John Fraser, has been spelling out how it’s hoped to bring about these developments.

He says “conservation is a priority, but the provision of parking is important too” and that “in the longer term, the “Friends” would like to construct a small building, sympathetic to the historical surroundings, which would provide necessary facilities”. Mr Fraser says the church could also become a “valuable educational resource”.

St Peter's Church

Membership of the Friends of St Peter’s Church costs £10 p a

A conservation architect – Bob Sandford – is advising the renovation  project .The church is the last remaining vestige of the long-deserted mediaeval village of Old Cogan.

Membership of The Friends of St. Peter’s, Old Cogan costs £10.00 (£15.00 for a couple) per annum. Membership details can be obtained from the Secretary, Pat Bartley (patbartley11@icloud.com)  or the chairman (johnfraser6@sky.com – tel. (029)20631384).

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PENARTH PENSIONER PROTESTS ABOUT “LEGOLAND” RE-FURB OF SHELTERED HOME

The exterior of Redlands House has received coats of many colours.

The exterior of Redlands House has received coats of many colours.

The Vale of Glamorgan Council’s colourful designer-refurbishment of sheltered accommodation for pensioners in Redlands Avenue, Penarth hasn’t quite received the reception it might have hoped for from the residents.

The exterior of the single storey apartment complex has been finished in blocks of gay colours which the Vale Council says has transformed the 36-home complex –  Redland House – into a “vibrant” and “attractive” 21st century facility. ..But that’s not quite how the people who live in it see it .

Redlands House is also painted in yellow, blue and green  - but there's no purple to be seen

Redlands House is also painted in yellow, blue and green – but there’s no purple to be seen

One of the residents , Graham White (76), says it makes his home look like “Legoland” . Mr White says Redland House now looks  “more like a children’s play scheme than sheltered accommodation”.

He thinks the new designer colour scheme is a “total waste of public money” – says the colours chosen are  unsuitable for the older people who live there.

A Vale Council spokesman was unable to say how much the new look had cost but he had been given to understand that “the design won’t suit everyone’s tastes”.

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GALES BRING DOWN FENCES AND TREES IN PENARTH

This car -parked in the drive of a house in Hickman Road Penarth was hit by a blown-down fence

This car -parked in the drive of a house in Hickman Road Penarth was hit by a blown-down fence

Gale force winds have been causing damage in various parts of Penarth . In Hickman Road a stretch of eight-foot-high timber fencing was blown down on top of a parked car – trapping it in a drive way .

The branch of a tree in the garden of a house in Mountjoy Avenue collapsed bringing down the part of the wall onto the road

The branch of a tree in Mountjoy Avenue collapsed bringing down the part of the garden wall onto the road

Meanwhile in Mountjoy Avenue a branch of a tree collapsed and damaged the garden wall of a semi-detached house . The blockwork and timber which fell onto the road had to be removed and the entire tree may now have to be taken down .

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“STRICTLY NO TOUCHING” IN PENARTH’S NEW NATURIST BED & BREAKFAST

Guests don't need to dress when they come down to breakfast at this Penarth B&B

Guests don’t need to dress when they come down to breakfast at this Penarth B&B

A naturist bed & breakfast guest house  – in which guests can “disrobe and relax as nature intended” – has opened in Penarth .

The guest house advertises discreetly on-line and points out that it enforces a strict code of etiquette for guests  “House Rules: No nonsense! You will be asked to leave if any behavior is inappropriate. We operate a strict no touching rule.”

There's a communnal lounge with an open fire for chilly evenings

There’s a communal lounge with an open fire for chilly evenings

The management draws attention to the “vibrant city life” of Cardiff and the “peace and tranquility of the nearby coast and countryside”. Amongst the services offered are “Day visits to a naturist park”  – at additional cost and by arrangement.

Double rooms cost £75 per night, singles at £45 a night and family rooms are available “by prior arrangement” . There is a shared communal living room, with dining / kitchen and conservatory areas.

The DingleDangleBandB "naturisdt bed and breakfast" logo

The DingleDangleBandB  “naturist bed and breakfast” logo

The managers say “We offer B&B, home style accommodation for like minded naturist. No swingers and no crazies, just accommodation and good company, where you can relax naturally while you visit the vibrant City of Cardiff, the beautiful Vale of Glamorgan and the stunning scenery and history of the South Wales Valleys and surrounding areas.”

The guest house is contactable  via email on dingledanglebandb@gmail.com

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50 EXTRA CAR-PARK SPACES PROVIDED AT PENARTH’S CLIFF WALK

The new section of Cliff-top Car Park has spaces for 50 cars and 6 buses

The new section of Cliff-top Car Park has spaces for 50 cars and 6 buses

Work has now been completed  on enlarging the Penarth Cliff Walk car park  to accommodate 50 more cars and half-a-dozen buses.

Instead of tarmac, the new car-park area has been laid with a new permeable surface of fine stone chippings held in place with a wire mesh.

The new car park has a two-tone permeable surface insterad of tarmac

The new car park has a two-tone permeable surface insterad of tarmac

The new surface  will allow surface rainwater to soak  naturally into the ground and is now seen to be preferable to the impermeable and “environmentally-unfriendly” waterproof tarmac surfaces which the Vale of Glamorgan council controversially laid on the Railway Path.

The light areas are for driving on - the dark bits are for parking

The light areas are for driving on – the dark bits are for parking

Some observers noted that the  Vale of Glamorgan Council’s signature feature of unnecessary steel posts (see http://tinyurl.com/o3g8s6y) is still very much in evidence in the extended area of the car park and steel-post enthusiasts will find much of interest here .

CCTV cameras =- or at least CCTV warning signs - pervade the car park

CCTV cameras =- or at least CCTV warning signs – pervade the car park

As a welcoming touch for tourists at the new car park, there are four steel posts bearing warning signs  adjacent to the parking areas which remind visitors on arrival that every move they make is being recorded on CCTV.

It’s understood that the cliff-top toilets – which are adjacent to a children’s play area –  have previously been a focus of police attention .

Another by-passer said that those with a  preference for the shorter black-and-white  striped steel posts (now much missed from the intersection of Marine Parade and Cliff Road) had not been overlooked .

A cluster of seven striped steel posts is another new feature of the car-park.

A cluster of seven striped steel posts is another new feature of the car-park.

A group of seven such posts has now been installed in a cluster close to the toilets and coastguard station where they deter motorists from parking on a prohibited white-lined area.

Most of the area used for the new section of car park has been reclaimed from the now-closed Vale of Glamorgan recycling facility.

"Bin City" - the unedifying Cliff Top recycling facility near Plymouth Road

“Bin City” – the unedifying Cliff Top recycling facility near Plymouth Road has now gone

That used to occupy the Western end of the site and contained a line of unslightly rubbish receptacles all of which have now been removed.

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HOME-CARE FIRM IN PENARTH PAY-ROW TO INCREASE PAY … IN CARMARTHENSHIRE

44 MiHomeCare workers in Penarth could be owed more than £80,000 because they were not paid for travelling time

44 MiHomeCare workers in Penarth could be owed more than £80,000 because they were not paid for travelling time

MiHomeCare  – the home-care company which was criticised bv former Penarth staff for allegedly not paying for the time taken to travel from client to client – is to change the rates of pay for staff in Carmarthenshire .

Two former MiHomeCare employees in Penarth had claimed that they were not given enough time to travel from appointment to appointment – forcing them to either cut short visits or work longer hours for the same pay which – in effect –  would be below the minimum wage hourly rate.

As first reported by PDN (http://tinyurl.com/oqhwj3t)  an internal company document also appeared to indicate that the   firm was not fully reimbursing staff for travelling between clients.

"The last thing that we want is to be seen to have done anything wrong" :Ruby McGregor-Smith - Chief Executive Officer of the Mitie Group says "

“The last thing that we want is to be seen to have done anything wrong” :Ruby McGregor-Smith – Chief Executive Officer of the Mitie Group says “

A full internal investigation was launched affecting 44 careworkers in  Penarth  by MiHomeCare ‘s parent company – the cleaning and services group Mitie . Mitie’s  chief executive Ruby McGregor-Smith said the  matter was being taken “very seriously“.

Although the Penarth case is still under investigation, MiHomeCare, which also operates Village Home Care, says it will be “changing rates”  in Carmarthenshire where a  renegotiated contract is coming into force with the local authority. The company is also in discussion with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. Mitie says only staff working under the Carmarthenshire contract are affected by the change .

An email to Carmarthenshire staff stated: “We are in discussions with HMRC to better understand how travel time should be accounted for across our business so we are both compliant and consistent. On conclusion of these discussions, we will be changing rates of pay to ensure that our staff are paid for travel time.”

This morning the MiHomeCare’s parent company – the Mitie Group said that  “As a result of the market pressures in the homecare and social housing businesses we expect our full year headline operating profit to be slightly below current market expectations.”

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