PENARTH MP DOUGHTY EXPLAINS WHY HE ABSTAINED IN COMMONS EU VOTE

The result of last night's vote was a landslide  Stephen Doughty (Cardiff South and Penarth) was one of just 23 Labour MPs to abstain

The result of last night’s vote was a landslide Stephen Doughty (Cardiff South and Penarth) was one of just 23 Labour MPs to abstain

Stephen Doughty – the Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth has been explaining today why he abstained in yesterday’s House of Commons vote on the EU  .

A total of 461 MPs including Conservatives, Labour, UKIP,   voted by a landslide to trigger Article 50 before April 2017.  Doughty however was one of  only  23 Labour MPs who abstained.

Vote Leave came within a whisker of winning in the Vale of Glamorgan in the EU referendum in June

Vote Leave came within a whisker of winning in the Vale of Glamorgan in the EU referendum in June

In  last June’s EU In or Out Referendum, Cardiff  (not including Penarth) voted to “Remain” by 101,788 votes to 67,816 (60.6% voting to stay in the EU).

In the Vale of Glamorgan ( in which Penarth’s votes were included ) the result was almost evenly split with  only 36,681 voting to Remain in the EU (50.7%) whereas 35,628 voted Leave (49.3%). The vote in the Vale of Glamorgan was one of the tightest results  anywhere in Britain and rested on a tiny majority of only  1,053 votes.

In Wales as a whole 854,572 people – comprising 52.53% of the population voted to Leave the EU.

Today Doughty tweeted an explanation for his decision to stay away from the voting lobbies last night . In answer to Twitter correspondent Ian Beck he said :-

On Twitter Stephen Doughty MP for Cardiff South and Penarth explains his decision to abstained in last night's vote

On Twitter Stephen Doughty MP for Cardiff South and Penarth explains his decision to abstained in last night’s vote

 

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POLICE ASK FOR HELP TO TRACE TWO PEOPLE WITH PENARTH CONNECTIONS

Danielle Thomas (left) is known to have connections with Penarth but is overdue for return to prison. The Police want to talk to the man on the right about a theft from the Penarth Co-op store

Danielle Thomas (left) is known to have connections with Penarth but is overdue for return to prison. The Police want to talk to the man on the right about a theft from the Penarth Co-op store

South Wales Police are appealing to the public for help in tracking down two people for different and unrelated offences – but who both have connections with Penarth.

On the left of the panel above is Danielle Thomas (32) who is wanted on recall to prison

Ms Thomas has links Penarth, Barry and Cardiff . Anyone who sees her or knows her whereabouts is asked to contact SOuth Wales Police on 101 , or anonymously Crimestoppers on 0800555111 quoting reference 1600465574

On the right of the top panel is a man Penarth Police would like to speak to in connection with a theft from the Co-op store in the town centre. Anyone who recognises him is asked to contact 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously via 0800 555 111, quoting reference 1600447942.

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TWO PENARTH GP SURGERIES TO CLOSE IF NEW “HEALTH-CARE HUB” IS BUILT AT LEISURE CENTRE

The proposed new Health Hub at Penarth Leisure Centre would be built on the tennis courts behind the existing building

The proposed new Health Hub at Penarth Leisure Centre would be built on the tennis courts behind the existing building. Access would be via the Leisure Centre itself.

The Cardiff and Vale University Health Board – the organisation that runs local NHS hospital services – is proposing to build a new medical centre/general practitioner’s surgery on what are now the tennis courts of Penarth Leisure Centre in Cogan.

The Health Board want to build what’s called a “Health and Wellbeing Facility”  to include a GP (General Practice) Surgery at the rear of Penarth Leisure Centre. It describes the project as  the “Eastern Vale Integrated Cluster Hub”

The relatively modern Redlands Road surgery would be closed and patients would need to go to the Cogan Health Hub to see a doctor

The relatively modern Redlands Road surgery would be closed and patients would need to go to the Cogan “Health Hub” – at Penarth Leisure Centre to see a doctor

The scheme also appears to involve the closure of the existing GP surgeries in Redlands Road and in Station Road Penarth. 

Patients currently attending Redlands Road and Station Road GP surgeries would have to go to the yet-to-be-built Cogan / Penarth Health Hub when it’s opened . The hub would also feature “additional primary care facilities”.  Redlands Road and Station Road surgeries would be closed.

The existing GP suergery at Station Road , Penarth is sauid to be in a "poor state of repair" - and would be closed. Patients would have to use the new Cogan Health Hub

The existing GP surgery at Station Road , Penarth is said to be in a “poor state of repair” – and would be closed. Patients would have to attend the new Cogan “Health Hub” to see a GP.

The Board first broached the health hub idea in July 2016 and then came back to the Vale of Glamorgan council – which owns the Leisure Centre –  in October this year to say this was its “preferred location”

The Board says that basing the new medical centre at the Penarth Leisure Centre would “increase footfall” for the Leisure Centre itself – particularly during the day and would assist Legacy Leisure [ the company that operates the Leisure Centre on behalf of the Vale Council] to attract “new customers”.

The tarmac tennis courts behind the Penarth Leisure Centre would be removed to make way for the new Health Hub

The tarmac tennis courts behind the Penarth Leisure Centre would be removed to make way for the new Health Hub

The construction on the new “health hub” would mean the loss of the tennis courts at Penarth Leisure Centre . The Health Board is proposing to “suitably compensate” the Vale of Glamorgan Council for the loss of the tennis courts.The Health Board wants to obtain a 125 year lease on the land

The Vale Council’s ruling ‘cabinet’ has also been reminded that there would need to be negotiations with Legacy Leisure regarding access to the “Health Hub” ( by walking through the Leisure Centre)  – and also about “compensation for the loss of the tennis courts”. Legacy Leisure has already indicated “strong support for the project”.

The Health Board is now asking for an agreement in principle from the Vale of Glamorgan Council before starting any detailed consultation and design – but says that “a final decision to proceed can only be agreed once all of the outcomes can be considered.

Changes will be needed in car parking arrangements for Leisure Centre users to make way for surgery patients

Changes will be needed in car parking arrangements for Leisure Centre users to make way for surgery patients

The Board also points out that “some improvements to the existing Car Parking arrangements would also need to be discussed”

Planning permission has not yet been applied for – that will come later. All that’s been asked for by the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board now is “agreement in principle” for the health hub idea – so they can go ahead with the design and planning

The original idea for the Health Hub came from the Health Board and is not an initiative of the Vale of Glamorgan Council itself – the council is just the landowner and, in any case, holds the land in trust for the people of Penarth .

The Cogan Dip isn't just used by cars with the windows wound-up - it's also walked by pedestrians of all ages

The “Cogan Dip” is an Air Quality Management area which continues to have high rates of air pollution  – the worst in the Vale of Glamorgan . It’s also walked by pedestrians of all ages

In considering the planning application in due course, the Vale Council also will need determine how much extra traffic the new Health Hub will create for the Cogan end of Windsor Road – which is already  the worst traffic blackspot in Penarth .

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REPAIRS TO PENARTH PIER ARE SET TO TAKE “MONTHS”

Vale of Glamorgan Council workmen bring in sheets of plywood to cover areas where the planking of the pier is being removed to access the beams below.

Vale of Glamorgan Council workmen bring in sheets of plywood to cover areas where the planking of the pier is being removed to access the beams below.

It’s understood that the work to replace some of what the Vale Council describes as “trusses” (actually joists or beams) which support the planking of Penarth Pier will take several weeks – probably months.

It’s now established that the work is being carried out by the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s own direct labour force .

Temporary plywood sheets have been laid over areas where the planking has been stripped away

Temporary plywood sheets have been laid over areas where the planking has been stripped away

The problems with the joists originally came to light when some of the planks began to lift up out of alignment  – pushed up by rot which had begun in the joists below .

About 40 faulty beams have been  discovered so far in a painstaking process which involves drilling into the timber of each beam to extract core samples which will show whether or not the beam is rotten.

One by one the diseased beams are being exposed, - and planking and numbered before each faulty joist is replaced

One by one the diseased beams are being exposed, – and planking and numbered before each faulty joist is replaced. Each beam reaches just over half way across the width of the pier .

The top-planking is now to be progressively stripped-off in stages – with each plank being individually numbered so that it can be screwed back in its original place once the affected beam – or beams –  beneath have been removed and replaced.

Once the planks have been removed, the beams are exposed – a number of which appear to be rotten and several of which have already been identified as requiring replacement.

Some beams appear sound - others are obviously not

Some beams appear sound – others are obviously not

The gaps are being covered  over with sheets of plywood to enable workmen replace the  joists from above – without having to venture under the pier.

The current planking on the pier is of Japanese iroko hardwood and locals say it was originally installed between four and six years ago. The beams beneath are said to be softwood.

Parts of the pier boardwalk are now closed to the public - and will be for several weeks

Parts of the pier boardwalk are now closed to the public – and will continue to be for several weeks

Some observers say the Vale of Glamorgan Council should have replaced all the beams when the planks –  on which they rest, were replaced – but that wasn’t done.

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POLICE INTRODUCE PENARTH MARINA RESIDENTS TO CRIME-FIGHTING “TREV”

Plenty of police boots on the ground at Penarth Barrage today as REV was deployed to foil increasing bike thefts in the Marina area

Plenty of police boots on the ground at Penarth Barrage today as the mobile reassurance unit “TREV” was deployed to combat  increasing numbers of bike thefts in the Marina area (Photo John Clark)

Today South Wales Police have been meeting members of the public – including cyclists – at the Penarth end of the Cardiff Bay Barrage and introducing them to what they call  “TREV “

“TREV” is an acronym for “The Reassurance and Engagement Vehicle” – a mobile caravan,  something similar to a mobile burger bar – but without the burgers.

Six officers were on hand to assuage the concerns of local residents

Six officers were on hand to assuage the concerns of local residents (Photo John Clark)

The TREV ‘mobile information unit’ had been deployed specifically because of worrying numbers of bike thefts in the Penarth Marina and Barrage area and, using TREV’s facilities, also showed local residents how to set about reporting a crime to the police.

The TREV unit was supposed to have been at the Barrage yesterday and had been publicised on Facebook –  but there was a last-minute change of plan and the unit arrived there today instead – manned from 10:00 through until 13:00 by around half a dozen police officers and PCSOs (Police Community Support Officers) .

After this morning's session at the Barrage the next destination for the unit was Barry

After this morning’s session at the Barrage the next destination for the unit was Barry (Photo John Clark)

Any passing cyclists were able to call in and get their bikes security marked and other passers-by could also pick up crime-prevention hints and tips and to speak to local police officers and members of the neighbourhood policing team about their concerns.

Inspector Gary Smart of South Wales Police

Inspector Gary Smart of South Wales Police

Inspector Gary Smart – who runs Penarth Police station  – said: “We want to make it as difficult as possible for bike thieves.”

Inspector Smart said “TREV provides a great opportunity for members of the community to meet our officers in an informal setting, and to seek advice in relation to any aspect of crime prevention or tell us about any issues in their area that may be concerning them.”
 

 

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PENARTH MP DOUGHTY TICKED-OFF BY MINISTER FOR TEXTING

Stephen Doughty was accused of "texting" on his mobile phone during the committee meeting

Stephen Doughty (right) was accused of “texting” on his mobile phone during the committee meeting

Stephen Doughty the Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth – who was told-off  by the Deputy Speaker last week for his conduct in a House of Commons debate – has now been criticised by a Government Minister in a committee hearing.

Doughty had arrived late for a meeting of the Public Bill Committee which was discussing the Commonwealth Development Corporation Bill – but had an excuse ready: he told the committee “I apologise for my late arrival. I was hosting a general from the British Army.

Stephen Doughty (Labour Cardiff South and Penarth) questions Rory

Stephen Doughty (Labour Cardiff South and Penarth) questions the  Minister for International Development Rory Stewart

Doughty then went on to ask the Minister of State for International Development, Rory Stewart, about a request that the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) had made to the UK Government for £735,000,000. [the CDC is a Government “arm’s-length” public corporation which provides Government and investor financial assistance to help companies in poorer countries expand – thus helping to alleviate poverty.]

The Minister Rory Stewart and Diana Noble the CDC Chief Executive painstakingly explained the procedure for assessing investments and evaluating the recipients of the UK taxpayers’ cash.  Whilst he was talking however, it appeared to some that Stephen Doughty was busy texting somebody.

Rory Stewart explained that the priority of the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) was to not to lose money while doing good, –  so we are focused on jobs and economic development without losing money. That is the guiding principle that CDC follows in everything it does.” . The operating principles of the CDC however, appeared not to be favoured by Doughty – who interjected to say It’s not poverty—?”

International Development Minister Rory Stewart snapped back at Stephen Doughty accusinig him of not only "texting" but also

International Development Minister Rory Stewart snapped back at Stephen Doughty accusing him of not only “texting” but also attempting to make an “unorthodox”  and unacceptable distinction between economic development, job-creation and poverty alleviation.

This provoked the minister, Rory Stewart, to respond with a stinging rebuke.

He said I am sorry; there was a strange comment coming from Mr Doughty who, when he is not texting, throws things from the chair. We believe very strongly that economic development and job creation are absolutely core activities in the elimination of poverty. The distinction that Mr Doughty is trying to draw between economic development, job creation and poverty alleviation is extremely unorthodox and it is not one that the chief economist of our Department, or indeed any of the officials of our Department, would accept” .

[PDN Note:  In  Civil Service-speak , the term “unorthodox” can be taken to mean “bonkers”  ]

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SUSPECT SEWER COULD HAVE CAUSED LAST MONTH’S PENARTH ROAD FLOODS

 driver' eye view of the flooding on Penarth road at the bottom of Llandough Hill on November 21st 2016 . This was the moment when many drivers started turning back (Photo Kevin O'Sullivan)

A driver’s-eye-view of the flooding on Penarth road at the bottom of Llandough Hill on November 21st 2016 . This was the moment when many drivers started turning back (Photo Kevin O’Sullivan)

Plaid Cymru claims that a lack of maintenance by the Vale of Glamorgan Council could have contributed to last month’s serious flooding which blocked Penarth Road – at the bottom of Llandough Hill.

The flooding –  up to 2 feet deep in places – caused road chaos, obstructing the arterial route and delaying hundreds of commuters.

The flooding which blocked Penarth Road could have been caused by lack of maintenance by the Vale Council - says Plaid Cymru

The flooding which blocked Penarth Road could have been caused by lack of maintenance by the Vale Council – says Plaid Cymru

Vale Cllr Chris Franks (Plaid Cymru Dinas Powys)

Vale Cllr Chris Franks (Plaid Cymru Dinas Powys)

Vale Councillor Chris Franks (Plaid Cymru Dinas Powys) says it’s now been discovered that a lack of maintenance and a faulty silted-up culvert may have contributed to the problems .

David Rhys Wilton of Plaid Cymru Penarth

David Rhys Wilton of Plaid Cymru Penarth

Speaking on behalf of Plaid Cymru well-known Penarth campaigner David Rhys Wilton says “We all recognised that the heavy persistent rain was a challenge but we fear that not enough is being done to reduce the flood risk in the future.

Mr Wilton says “The Vale Council admits that they know that there is a suspect culvert along Penarth Road in the vicinity of Llandough Hill. We acknowledge that basic de-silting work is being undertaken –  but this really should be normal maintenance.”

Plaid Cymru say the condition –  and the capacity –  of the pipe work is “unknown” but that there appears to be “some problem with privately owned culverts“.

The party says the Vale Council has discovered “significant silting up of the pipes which might cover up further defects”. As a result the Penarth Branch of Penarth Cymru is demanding that the matter be given priority. Plaid says ” It is not tolerable for such an important route to be susceptible to this type of hazard.”

Chair of Dinas Powys Plaid Cymru Richard Grigg says “The traffic queues stretched for miles partly due to the Penarth Road flooding. Apparently the money allocated is around £20,000 but this might not be adequate if further problems emerge. This is a major route into south Cardiff and must be more resilient in time of bad weather. Plaid is pressing the Vale to ensure that everything is done to speed up any action required.”

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