PRO-BIKE BODY ‘SUSTRANS’ PEDALS INTO THE PENARTH HEADLAND LINK PROJECT

Penarth Head Walkway was promoted as being essentially for pedestrians. Now the pro-bike body Sustrans is getting involved

Penarth Head Walkway was promoted as being essentially for pedestrians. Now the pro-bike charity-cum-pressure-group Sustrans is getting involved

It’s emerged that the pro-cycling pressure group Sustrans is now involved in talks with the group set up to re-launch the scheme to build a “Mark II version ” of the  controversial Penarth Headland Link along the shoreline around Penarth Head .

The initiative for a “MkII” version of the Penarth Headland Link was first floated out in a public meeting held in Penarth Pier Pavilion on November 24th 2015 – but little has been heard about the embryo project since that date. [See PDN  http://tinyurl.com/opohqne ]

On May 9th 2016 however a new Penarth Headland Link “charity” (No 1167209) was registered with the Charity Commission  – as was a ‘company limited by guarantee’ (No 09897285)  at Companies House.

Some of the members of the Headland Link Group Roger Thomas, Peter Morgan, Dr David Trotman, Gabe Traherne and Jim Leighton. Dr Trotman is not a listed director ,

Some of the members of the Headland Link Group Roger Thomas, Peter Morgan, Dr David Trotman, Gabe Traherne and Jim Leighton. Dr Trotman is not now listed as a director ,

Business Consultant Brendan Sadka is also a member of the board

Business Consultant Brendan Sadka is chairman

The “trustees” [ a.k.a. directors ] of the non-profit company/charity are :-

  • Jeffrey John Andrews
  • Roger Geraint Thomas
  • Richard Michael Hodgson Read,
  • John Peter William Morgan,
  • Peter John Wellesley Bussell,
  • Dr Gabe Treharne,
  • Alun Michael,
  • Louis John Lovell,
  • Brendan Sadka,
  • James Hunter Leighton

Most of these men were present at the November 2015 launch public meeting. However in that meeting there was criticism from the then Mayor of Penarth Rosemary Cook (Labour St Augustines) that there were no women on the board –  and since then two women have been appointed as directors/trustees. They are: –

  • Ms Sivaruby Sivagnanam
  • Mrs Mari Arwel Jones.

After the inaugural November 2015 meeting, there was supposed to have been a follow-up public meeting in Cardiff in January 2016  and an “update meeting” six months later in Penarth (i.e. June 2016) – by which date the group hoped to have an email contact and a base. It’s not known whether either meeting was ever held.

However on May 19th 2016 the Penarth Headland Link “charity” was officially registered with the Charity Commission.

By this time however there was a subtle change of emphasis in the scheme: the Penarth Headland Link was now being described –  not as a “pedestrian walkway“, but as a cycle path and walkway”  . The formal “Charity Overview” now describesthe activities of the organisation as The construction, provision and maintenance of a cycle path and walkway around the coast of South Wales at Penarth Head, Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan as a public amenity”.

Steve Brooks of Sustrains Cymru has met the Penarth Headland barrage group

Steve Brooks of Sustrans Cymru tweeted that he had met the Penarth Headland Link group

The pro-cycling body Sustrans – which now appears to become involved in the Penarth Headland Link – specialises in what it calls “travel-behaviour change”. In January 2014 Sustrans was invited by the Labour-run  Vale of Glamorgan Council to “develop a vision for the Esplanade Area”  – the results of which have yet to be made public.

Sustrans has been publicly castigated by Labour Councillor and former Mayor of Penarth Cllr Philip Rapier (Labour St Augustines) in connection with its earlier schemes in Penarth.

Cllr Philip Rapier (Labour St Augustines) criticised Sustrans in the Penarth Times

Cllr Philip Rapier (Labour St Augustines) criticised Sustrans in the Penarth Times

In the Penarth Times in November 2013 Cllr Rapier wrote:-   “Sustrans are notorious for listening to no one and steamrollering counterproductive schemes despite valid objections ” .

Notionally itself a “charity”, Sustrans is actually funded primarily by Government grants – using tax-payers’ money –  but also receives cash from bicycle manufacturers.

Cllr Rapier has questioned Sustrans’s ‘charitable’ status saying  Sustrans “would not be able to function without the generous sums it receives of our lottery money, Council Tax and massive hand outs from Westminster and Cardiff Bay”.

Sustrans  played a key role in the controversial scheme to clear natural habitat and to lay a tarmac roadway over Penarth’s much loved nature-walk, the Railway Path, –  so that it could be used by cyclists.

In 2013 patient Penarth residents had to queue outside the Paget Rooms to register before they were allowed in the public meeting to vote.

In 2013 patient Penarth residents had to queue outside the Paget Rooms to register before they were allowed in to vote in the chaotic public meeting on the Vale’s Council’s contentious plan to clear natural habitat and build an 8ft-wide tarmac roadway along the Railway Path – a scheme supported by Sustrans to benefit cyclists. 138 people voted for a public referendum to be held on the issue,  5 voted against, but no public referendum was held  

This was a scheme which was bulldozed through by Labour councillors in the teeth of strong opposition by Penarth residents. In July 2013 a public petition forced Penarth Town Council to hold a public meeting in the Paget Rooms. There was an overwhelming majority vote [138 to 5] in favour of a Penarth-wide referendum being held on the project [ See http://tinyurl.com/h6bkvyy ]. The Vale Council – which oversaw the chaotic polling process at the meeting (which kept Penarth residents waiting in a long queue outside the Paget Rooms to register to vote) – said there were 17 (seventeen) too few ballot papers cast in that meeting to trigger a legal obligation to hold a town-wide referendum.

Cllr Rapier said of Sustrans that he had “grave concerns at the degree of influence they have been able to exert over the Railway Path controversy.”

The Sustrans one-way bike contraflow in Arcot St Penarth

The Sustrans-inspired one-way bike contraflow in Arcot St, Penarth where motorists meet cyclists head-on in a one-way street

Criticised as one of Sustrans’s silliest schemes is the self-evidently dangerous cycling-contraflow it advocated in Arcot St, Penarth in which cyclists travel the wrong way down a one-way-street against the flow of traffic and where motorists –  emerging from angled, chevron car parking spaces –  are expected to dodge cyclists who unexpectedly approach them against the flow of one-way traffic. Sustrans admitted that a safety review had revealed a  “potential for conflict” between cyclists and vehicles emerging from parking bays  – but said the alternative to the contraflow “would have involved a detour of over twice the length requiring cyclists to undertake two right-turn manoeuvres”.

There are now fears that the involvement of Sustrans in the Penarth Headland Link may mean that – once again – again the vociferous cycling lobby – with taxpayer’s cash at its disposal – could exert undue influence on the configuration of the Mk II Penarth Headland Link,  a scheme which was presented to the public on the basis of it being fundamentally a route for pedestrians.

One local resident has told PDN “if it’s sensible to ban bikes on Penarth Pier, Penarth Promenade and on Cliff Walk – surely it makes equal sense to keep bikes off the  Penarth Headland Walkway….that’s if it’s ever built”.

PDN BACKGROUND

The background story of the original – defunct –  Penarth Headland Link proposal which collapsed in acrimony and cost millions in lost public funds is here :- http://tinyurl.com/p638hcz

An account of the public meeting at which the MkII version of the Penarth Headland Link is on   http://tinyurl.com/opohqne

The background on the proposed Tidal Lagoon (which is unconnected with the Penarth Headland Link but may impact upon it) is on:-  http://tinyurl.com/nwygqxk

The background on the disappearance of Penarth Esplanade’s original multi-storey car park is on:-  http://tinyurl.com/nqykvfz

Posted in Penarth Daily News | 2 Comments

LABOUR COMPLETES ITS LOCAL ELECTION LINE-UP – BUT TORIES ARE STILL TRAWLING

Angela Thomas has been declared as Labour candidate for Penarth's tradtionally Tory Plymouth Ward

Angela Thomas has been declared as Labour candidate in the May 4th elections for the Vale of Glamorgan Council in Penarth’s traditionally Tory Plymouth Ward

It’s understood that the Labour Party has now completed the task of allocating candidates to fight the 8 Penarth seats up for grabs on the Vale of Glamorgan Council  and the 16 available seats on Penarth Town Council in the forthcoming local council elections on May 4th. 

Details of all the candidates who have been nominated for each contest have yet to be announced  – but it has been confirmed that in Penarth’s Plymouth Ward,  the party will be fielding a new candidate for the Vale of Glamorgan Council – who is not at present a councillor .

Labour candidate Angela Thomas is taking on the Tories in Penarth's Plymouth Ward

Labour candidate Angela Thomas is taking on the Tories in Penarth’s Plymouth Ward

She is life-long Penarthian Angela Thomas (pictured above and right) – a single mother with two children  who is from what she describes as a “Labour working class background.”

Ms Thomas says  I am a viable alternative to the 30 years of Conservatives, or Ex-Conservatives now running as Independants.[sic]” .Ms Thomas says “I welcome the news of investment at the play park’s [sic] in Penarth, with the parks in Plymouth ward both being updated very soon. ”

In many cases the candidates in contention will be standing for seats on both the Vale Council and the Penarth Town Council and  – if elected  – will become so-called “dual-hatted” members with a £13,299 a year salaried-seat on the Vale Council and an unpaid seat on Penarth Council .

The Labour list is said to include the majority of the present incumbent Vale of Glamorgan councillors  and Penarth Town councillors. However its understood that at least 3 of the present  Labour Penarth Town councillors will not be standing for re-election in May .

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines)

In addition, it’s understood that one of best-known Labour councillors, Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines), has opted not to seek re-election to Vale of Glamorgan Council.

Cllr Roberts also, this month, tendered his resignation as the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s trustee director on the board of Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd – the not-for-profit organisation which holds a 125 year lease of Penarth Pier Pavilion.

A spokesperson for Penarth Arts and Crafts said Cllr Roberts had resigned for “personal reasons” . Its understood Cllr Roberts – who is a former Mayor of Penarth – is to stand for re-election to Penarth Town Council.

The Conservative Club in Stanwell Road Penarth where a meeting last month failed to identify enough candidates to fight all 16 seats on Penarth Town Council

The Conservative Club in Stanwell Road Penarth where a meeting last month failed to find enough candidates to fight all 16 seats on Penarth Town Council

Meanwhile the Conservative Party – which selected its Vale of Glamorgan Council candidates in a controversial and hotly-disputed selection process in November – is understood to be still searching for sufficient candidates to fight the 16 Penarth Town Council seats.

Penarth Town Cllr Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward) is to stand for Plymouth Ward as an Indepepdent candiate for election to the Vale of Glamorgan Counci

Penarth Town Cllr Anthony Ernest (Plymouth Ward)

One candidate – Cllr Anthony Ernest (who is standing as an Independent candidate for Plymouth Ward for the Vale of Glamorgan Council)  – has already  been selected to stand again as a Conservative Party candidate for Plymouth Ward for Penarth Town Council.

Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward) - is hoping to win a Vale of Glamorgan St Augustines seat

Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Martin Turner (currently one the four Conservative Plymouth Ward councillors on Penarth Town Council) – is said to be aiming to retain his Town Council Plymouth Ward seat but has also been selected to stand as a Conservative candidate in St Augustine’s Ward for the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

It’s understood that other potential candidates are being approached by the party with a view to persuading them to stand for election for the new Penarth Town Council.

Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Clive Williams (currently Conservative Plymouth Ward) is to stand as a Independent for the Vale Council

Former Conservative Councillor Clive Williams MBE  (the former President of Cardiff South and Penarth Conservative Association ) was controversially de-selected by a small cabal of Tory activists in November and has not been allowed by them to stand for re-election to his long-held Plymouth Ward seat on the Vale of Glamorgan Council .

Cllr Williams this week quit the Conservative Party and is to stand as an Independent candidate for Penarth’s Plymouth Ward  for both the Vale of Glamorgan Council and Penarth Town Council in the May 4th local government elections.

Cllr Williams now occupies his current seat on both the Vale of Glamorgan Council and Penarth Town Council as an Independent councillor .

A full  list of Plaid Cymru’s contenders for Penarth Town Council has yet to be formally announced.

It’s also understood that more Independent candidates may come forward to stand as  in Penarth Wards. For anyone considering doing so, there is a useful booklet on     http://tinyurl.com/jtr9gvk

 

Posted in Penarth Daily News | 6 Comments

LABOUR VALE ‘SPENDING PENARTH COUNCIL-TAX CASH ON BARRY’ – SAYS CLLR.

The Vale of Glamorgan Council paid £65,000 for the six "Barry Weekenders Family Fun" events including the "Island of FIre" spectacle

The Vale of Glamorgan Council paid £65,000 for the six “Barry Weekenders Family Fun” events including the “Island of FIre” spectacle. Expenditure in Penarth was

Penarth Councillor Anthony Ernest has criticised the Barry-based Labour-run Vale of Glamorgan Council over the cuts in funding for events in Penarth.

Commenting on what he calls “drastic and regrettable reductions”, Cllr. Ernest says “Penarth is set to get only a few thousand pounds for the wide range of events that are staged in Penarth, and as the Vale’s second largest town with a population roughly half that of Barry, we should be receiving a comparable figure based on our population.”

In a statement this weekend, Cllr. Ernest lists a recent Vale Events Schedule which – he says – shows the complete disparity between funding for events in the two towns”. In Barry, these events (in 2015/16) received the following grants:-

BARRY EVENTS 2015/16:-

High Street traders    £1,500
Valeways Walking Festival £2,000
Rotary Kids Day Out £1,000
British Heart Foundation £2,000
Transport Festival £3,000
Barry Wartime Weekend £2,000
Vale Jazz Festival  £ TBD*  (*To Be Decided)
Cadstock, Victoria Park £5,000
Gladstone Park £TBD*  (*To Be Decided)
Gwyl Fach y Fro £TBD*  (*To Be Decided)
Barry Island Weekenders Programme £65,000
Variety Kids Event £1,000
Vale of Glamorgan Triathlon Up to £5,000
Rotary Fireworks Festival £5,000
Kings Square Christmas Lights £8,000
High St. Christmas Event £2,000
Central Park Christmas Grotto £15,000
New Year’s Day Swim £1,000

Total : £118,500 (plus “TBD” Events)

PENARTH EVENTS :-

For Penarth, in contract, a total of only £15,500 was allocated for just 5 events in the town.

Penarth Town Cllr Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward) is to stand for Plymouth Ward as an Indepepdent candiate for election to the Vale of Glamorgan Counci

Penarth Town Cllr Anthony Ernest

Cllr. Ernest said that the current disparity in funding for events was “quite shocking”. He says “it just goes to show how money is being poured into Barry by the Labour-controlled Council, whilst Penarth, which contributes a very high level of Council Tax to the Vale’s coffers, is being sidelined when it comes to events spend.”

Cllr. Ernest says “I do hope that Events Organisers in Penarth will realise that they are getting a raw deal from the Vale, and that they will join with me in ensuring that this budget is re-adjusted after the May elections, so that there is a fairer and more equitable allocation to Penarth, which regularly stages events of the highest order, but without the large sums of money which similar events in Barry “soak up” just to ensure they stay on the road.”

 

Posted in Penarth Daily News | 14 Comments

OWNER OF COLLAPSED PENARTH HOUSE LOSES APPEAL AGAINST VALE COUNCIL

In June 2016 the rear of the original 14 Clinton Road collapsed into excavations for a proposed basement extension

In June 2016 the rear of the original No 14 Clinton Road. Penarth collapsed into excavations for a  basement extension.

Cosmestic surgeon Dr Sid Gautam – whose detached house in Clinton Road,  partially collapsed last year whilst it was being extended – has lost a planning appeal against the  Vale of Glamorgan Council.

After his house –  at 14 Clinton Road –  collapsed during excavations for a basement,  Dr Gautam’s contractors cleared the site and he submitted plans for a totally new house on the same site.

The proposed front and rear of the entirely new No 14 Clinton Road . It was proposed to built a subterrenean basement in an already-excavated pit in the rear garden - a pit into which the rear half of the original house had collapsed

The proposed front and rear of the proposed entirely new No 14 Clinton Road . It was proposed to built a subterrenean basement in an already-excavated pit in the rear garden – a pit into which the rear half of the original house had collapsed

His plans, however, were not welcomed by his neighbours who pointed out that the proposed new building would be far larger than the original 1920’s vintage house, would deprive their homes of daylight and would be out-of-place in the existing street-scene of Clinton Road

Dr Sid Gautam is taking his appeal against the Vale of Glamorgan Council to the Planning Inspectorate

Dr Sid Gautam  appealed against the Vale of Glamorgan Council refusal of planning permission but his appeal has been rejected by the Planning Inspectorate

The Vale of Glamorgan Council’s planning committee refused Dr Gautam’s planning application for the new house.

Undaunted, Dr Gautam then  lodged an appeal against the Vale Council with the Planning Inspectorate.

Now the Planning Inspector Clive Sproule has rejected his appeal and Dr Gautam is back to square one with a large plot of land in Clinton Road but without any permission to build anything on it.

Explaining his verdict, the Inspector , Mr Sproule, says“Clinton Road and the streets around it include detached and semi-detached houses, some of which are of substantial scale, that have amenity space to the front, side and rear. This, along with other open areas, street trees and mature garden vegetation, contribute to the suburban character of the locality.”

The original No14 Clinton Road was built in the 1920s and fitted in with the street scene

Two views of the original 1920’s vintage No14 Clinton Road  – before it collapsed

Describing the original  [collapsed and now demolished]  dwelling, the inspector says it was a “a hip roofed house that had two storey elevations finished in painted render. Evidence confirms that its scale, design, materials and finishing were sympathetic to other houses in the street scene, and especially those on this section of Clinton Road.

The proposed replacement dwelling – the Inspector said –  would have featured a “mansard roof that enables accommodation in the roof of the building to be more extensive than would otherwise be the case” . The proposed house would have had “a larger and squarer footprint for the first and second floors” which would have significantly increased the “bulk and massing of the dwelling”.

The inspector said he didn’t see any evidence of anything similar in the area  and the design of the proposed new house did not reflect any of the characteristic features of the locality.He said that “By failing to be of a scale, form, and character that would be sympathetic to its surroundings, the appeal scheme would be unacceptably harmful to the character and appearance of the site and the locality.”

However the inspector’s ruling says “it is not apparent that the visual intrusion would be unacceptably harmful to the living conditions at No.16 [Clinton Road] .Likewise, the circumstances of openings on the western side elevation of No.12 and the amenity space in that location indicate that the proposal’s visual impact would also be acceptable for occupiers at No.12.

The inspector found the “loss of light” would not be “so significant that it would be unacceptably harmful to the living conditions of the occupiers at Nos.12 and 16.”

Dr Gautam had pointed out that the Vale Council had already given planning permission for the extension to the original [1920s vintage]  house, comprising a two storey extension to the rear of the house with a flat-roofed dormer, a basement [the digging-out of which appeared to have triggered the collapse] and a single-storey extension.

The site of 14 Clinton Road . Vale planners said the proposed new house would overshadow neighbouring properties

The site where No 14 Clinton Road once stood. Vale planners claimed the proposed new house would overshadow neighbouring properties – but the Planning Inspector rejected that part of the argument

However the Inspector said  the demolished dwelling no longer exists for the extension to be completed. In any event, each application and appeal falls to be considered on its own merits and consequently, the planning permission for the extension of the previous dwelling does not set a precedent in relation to this case.”

Dr Gautam’s appeal has therefore been dismissed.

Posted in Penarth Daily News | 22 Comments

VALE COUNCIL AXES GRANT FOR PENARTH SUMMER FESTIVAL

There won't be any need to close Beach Hill for Summer Festival processions this year - because there won't be any

There won’t be any need to close Beach Hill for Summer Festival processions this year – because there won’t be any walking parades

A Vale of Glamorgan ‘cabinet’ is to consider a recommendation by council officers that it should refuse a grant for this year Penarth Summer Festival. 

Traditionally the event has always been supported by the Vale of Glamorgan Council . In 2015 the Vale Council provided a £2,000 grant and a further sum of £2,000 to cover the cost of road closures.

The days of Summer Festival carnival floats and processions are no more.

Flashback to the 1980s when there used to be carnival floats on flat-bed trucks in procession.

For 2017, council officers are recommending that no grant be provided . All that’s being proposed this year is the payment of £2,000 towards the cost of road closures.

It so happens that Penarth Council has already announced the “re-shaping” of the Summer Festival for 2017 and the abandonment of “walking parades” in the wake of last year’s overspent and much-criticised event –  so the only road to be closed will be the Esplanade.

In 2015 the "Distinguished Gentlemen" occupied all the pedestrian area of the promenade whilst the Esplanade road remained open to normal traffic. Pedestrians had no option but to walk along a narrow section of pavement

In 2015 the “Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride” occupied all the pedestrian area of the promenade whilst the Esplanade road remained open to normal traffic. Pedestrians had no option but to walk along a narrow section of pavement. In 2016 the Esplanade was closed to normal traffic.

The Vale Council is however being recommended to give a grant of £1,000 of council-tax-payer’s cash for a minority-appeal charitable event called the “Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride” in which well-heeled and well-dressed motorcyclists  “raise awareness” of prostate cancer and male suicide.

The famous Lewis Merthyr brass band providing music at the entrance to Penarth Pier Pavilion

The famous Lewis Merthyr brass band providing music at the entrance to Penarth Pier Pavilion

The traditional programme of brass band music on the Esplanade – held every year over  8 consecutive summer weekends –  is being recommended to continue this year with a grant of £4,000 being provided by the Vale Council to cover the costs

The "Picnic Penarth" logo at Station Approach in April 2016. The Autumn "Picnic" was cancelled

The “Picnic Penarth” logo at Station Approach in April 2016. The Autumn “Picnic” was cancelled

A £5,000 Vale of Glamorgan Council grant is pencilled in this year for two “Picnic Penarth” events to be held on 29 – 30 April & 2 – 3 September in collaboration with Penarth Town Council.

A total of 9,000 visitors attended the event in April last year – but the September Picnic Penarth was abruptly cancelled for reasons which were never fully explained. The competition from the council-tax-subsidised  “Picnic Penarth” was cited by some as the underlying reason for the cancellation of the annual Gwyrddio Penarth Greening Food Festival in the Kymin.

The Vale of Glamorgan Council has reduced its contributiion to the 2017 Penarth Christmas Festival

The Vale of Glamorgan Council is beign recommended to reduced its contribution to the 2017 Penarth Christmas Festival

Penarth Council had applied to the Vale Council for a £4,000 grant towards the cost of the 2017 Penarth Christmas Festival – but it’s been recommended that the Vale should contribute only  £1,600 –  just to cover the cost of road closures.

Posted in Penarth Daily News | 1 Comment

PLYMOUTH ROAD NEIGHBOURS OBJECT TO HOUSE EXTENSION PLAN

Neighbours either side of 69 Plymouth Road have addressed Penarth Councillors about their concerns over development plans at the rear of the property

Neighbours either side of 69 Plymouth Road have addressed Penarth Councillors about their concerns over development plans at the rear of the property

Neighbours living on either side of a terraced house – 69  Plymouth Road –  are objecting to what they describe as  “un-neighbourly” plans for a rear extension to the property.

The extension has been applied for by the owners of No.69 –  an Victorian 5-bedroom £640,000 mid-terrace property with a long rear garden.

The proposed extension would be at the rear of the property - but neighbours either side object to it

The proposed extension would be at the rear of the property – but neighbours on either side object to it

The rear of 69 Plymouth Rd as it is - and how it would look with the proposed extension

The rear of 69 Plymouth Rd as it is now- and how it would look with the proposed extension

The neighbours who live either side of 69 Plymouth Road are objecting to the proposed extension and turned up in person to explain their concerns to Penarth Town Council’s planning committee this week.

Mrs Arthur of 71 Plymouth Road – speaking on behalf of her husband and herself –  said the proposed extension to No 69 would “push out the side wall right up to our party-wall.   It would increase the vertical height of that wall from 2 metres to 3.2 metres.  At that height it would then create a black slate roof of up to 4 metres high.”  . She said the height and proximity of the extension would make it “overbearing” and would result in serious “overshadowing – with critical light impact to our property”. Her conservatory would lose light and the “rear return” her property would “become a tunnel”.

The development plans also include raising the level of No 69’s patio “above the current garden level.” This would lead , Mrs Arthur said – “to overlooking – and loss of privacy” . She said if the application was approved it would set an “unsympathetic precedent” for the Penarth Conservation Area.

Mrs Arthur added that the plans had been submitted by their next-door neighbour without any consultation. She also thought a 5-metre holly tree in the garden of No 69 would be lost in the construction.

The other neighbour – Mr Clark –  also outlined his objections and those of his wife .  The plan to increase the height of the patio by 1ft 4in  would – he said – enable any adult to look down into his garden. He too said the owner of No 69 had not consulted him or his wife about the plans.  These plans – he said – seemed to have been  “developed and submitted with neither thought nor care as to the impact on neighbours”.

Mr Clark called the proposals “a gross, overwhelming development which would result in a significant change of character” [of the property]. He said failure to protect “a house such as this from the kind of gross overdevelopment planned, would make the Conservation Area status meaningless and eventually pointless”.   

Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward)  said this application had major implications because all the houses were in a terrace . The back part of each house had to have “an area in between to allow the light” and the original Victorian builders had known this. Cllr Williams said he would be calling for a “site-visit” by the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s planning committee so that councillors would see for themselves  what the implications of the proposed development would be for next-door neighbours .

Cllr Anthony Ernest, Conservative Plymouth Ward

Cllr Anthony Ernest, Conservative Plymouth Ward

Cllr Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward) thanked the objectors for their presentations and said the application should not receive the approval of the Penarth Council’s planning committee. The proposal was “ugly in size and appearance, is out of character with existing Victorian properties and is unsympathetic”. He stressed the importance of retaining the character of the dwelling – and of those surrounding it.

Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell)

Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell)

The chairman Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell)  noted that “‘ugliness” was not considered to be a planning matter – to which Cllr Ernest responded that this was  “a fair point”.

Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward) voted last night with Labour -  against his own Conservative colleagues

Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward) said he  wanted to get on his particular hobby-horse about “building on boundaries again”. It would be “un-neighbourly”  and “is going to cause tremendous problems in the construction phase  – assuming planning permission is given. From that point of view it’s just wrong” – he said  .

Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell)

Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell)

Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell) had picked up on Mrs Arthur’s concerns about the potential loss of the holly tree in the rear garden. Its loss would be “a disappointment”.  Cllr Wilson said one of the problem in Penarth was that  “It’s very difficult to move really-really upmarket without spending an absolute fortune – and therefore a lot of people are doing these internal developments.” He thought it was a disappointment that the applicant had submitted the plans. It was an overbearing and overdeveloped application and he supported its rejection.

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustine’s) said it was important the committee put its objection “in valid planning terms as far as possible”  . There were two elements he disliked  – one was the extension itself and the other was the “strange” raised terrace – with consequential “gross invasion of privacy”  . He thought the committee should object on the grounds of un-neighbourliness,  overbearing development, effect on light and privacy of next-door neighbours and the effect on the symmetry of listed buildings within a Conservation Area. He also thought the tree – if 40 years old – could be made the subject of a Tree Preservation Order  .

Deputy chair of planning Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustine’s) suggested that the criterion that developments should  “preserve or enhance” the Conservation Area could also be included in the committee’s formal recommendation to the Vale of Glamorgan Council .

The planning appliction will next be considered in a meeting of the  full Vale of Glamorgan planning committee at which the couples living either side of the proposed development will have a opportunity to address Vale councillors – as will the applicants , Mr and Mrs Mulaney.

Posted in Penarth Daily News | 7 Comments

DERELICT ST PAUL’S CHURCH SET TO BE DEMOLISHED FOR SOCIAL HOUSING

The sun sets on the derelict St Paul's Church - now set to be demolished

The sun may soon be setting for the last time on the derelict St Paul’s Church

The derelict St Paul’s Church in Arcot St is now set to be demolished and the site cleared to build social-housing for rent.

The building is owned by the Vale of Glamorgan Council and was the former base of Penarth Boxing Club but had to be closed five years ago for “health and safety” reasons even though the former Vale Conservative administration had allocated a budget of £250,000 for the refurbishment of the building.

Boxing Club training Neil Munn shows Assembly Member Andrew R T Davies the rubbish being continually dumped at the rear of St Paul's

Boxing Club training Neil Munn shows Penarth Assembly Member Andrew R T Davies the rubbish being continually dumped at the rear of St Paul’s.

Since Labour took control of the Vale Council in 2012,  the shut-down building has continued to deteriorate, attracting rubbish, fly-tipping and rats and creating considerable problems for local residents.

The Vale Labour administration ignored Penarth public opinion and rejected the results of a public postal referendum held in the St Augustines Ward in 2014 which voted for the building to be restored for use by the Boxing Club.

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 referendum on St Paul’s Church, were ignored

The two local Vale Councillors Cllr Lis Burnett and Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines)  were accused of interfering in the process as they pressed to keep the Boxing Club out – and for the building to be adapted as what they called a “mixed-use community facility” .

They were however – not for the first time –  swimming against the tide of local public opinion and pressing for an unpopular solution which the local referendum had already emphatically rejected.

Th estate agents marketing the St Pauls had to skirt brambles to get into the neglected premises to conduct a survey before starting their marketing operatoon

Estate agents engaged to try to find a leasehold tenant for St Pauls  had to skirt brambles and rubbish to get into the neglected premises to conduct a survey before starting their marketing operation. Only one offer was received which was rejected because of an inadequate business plan

Now the Vale Council is to – in effect – sell-off the site by disposing of it on a 999 year  lease.  It will be offered in a competitive auction to what are described as “the Vale of Glamorgan’s four local registered social landlords”  .They are :-

  • United Welsh
  • Newydd
  • Hafod
  • Wales and West

They are being asked to “deliver a mixed use development of affordable homes and community use subject to planning approval”

In the fine print the council appears to concede the building will probably have to be demolished . The internal report says the successful bidder will have the option to “regenerate a derelict site either involving the retention and conversion of the church or by way of a new build scheme subject to viability.” [ i.e. flatten the existing building and  build a new development on the site.]

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”

Although St Paul’s Church is in the Penarth Conservation area – in truth the building is actually of little architectural merit .

It was originally built in 1863 as a Wesleyan Methodist Chapel but burned down in 1905. In 1906 it was re-built – this time as an Anglican church and named “St Paul’s” . Several feet in height were chopped off the original 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.

St Paul’s was bombed by the Luftwaffe in 1940 – but repaired. It was bought by the forerunner of Penarth Town Council – Penarth Urban District Council –  in 1967 for £2,500 and later passed into the hands of the South Glamorgan County Council during  various local government reorganisations.

There was – apparently – one legal obstacle to the Vale Council off-loading the building – and that was in the form of a lease on the building which was held by the Penarth Amateur Boxing Club. An internal council report says that  the council’s Project Board “focused on delivering a legal exercise aimed at facilitating a title unencumbered by the Boxing Club’s previous lease interest in the rear annex of the property . A deal was finally done at the end of last year – allowing the council to now get rid of a building it has described as a “massive headache”  

It’s proposed that the winning bid will be selected “during Spring 2017 or soon thereafter”

The full chronology of the St Paul’s saga was reported most recently by PDN on http://tinyurl.com/zyt5qau

 

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