BIZWATCH: FRENCH CUISINE COMES TO PENARTH’S UPPER GLEBE STREET

The "Chez Francis" signage is soon due to go up on the new French restaurant in Glebe St any day now. It opens at the end of next week

The “Chez Francis” signage is soon due to go up on the new French restaurant in Glebe St any day now. It opens at the end of next week

A new French restaurant –  “Chez Francis” is to be opened in Penarth next week by Francis Dupuy – (formerly of The Gallois and Pier 64).

The restaurant is in Upper Glebe St in the premises which were once The Olive Tree restaurant and latterly a hamburger and juice bar .

Top interior designer Jan Williams of Beti Biggs Ltd is giving every part of "Chez Francis" a distinctly continental theme. Even the toilets are being decorated with French road maps

Top interior designer Jan Williams of Beti Biggs Ltd is giving every part of “Chez Francis” a distinctly continental theme. Even the toilets are being decorated with French road maps

Top interior designer Jan Williams of Beti Biggs Ltd has totally stripped-out the premises and is carry out of the finishing touches of a complete refit which will give the restaurant a warm, intimate and distinctly French feel.  (Even the brand-new toilets are being finished off with an eye-catching collage of real French road maps.)

French antique mirrors will complement the carefully-chosen decor

French antique mirrors will complement the carefully-chosen decor. It’ll all be ready by next week

Chef Francis Dupuy already has a highly successful “Chez Francis” restaurant on Cowbridge Road in Cardiff. The all-new Penarth restaurant –  and its distinctive French cuisine –  is aimed at replicating that success on this side of the River Ely whilst expanding the ever-widening range of dining experience available in Penarth.

Chez Francis in Glebe St will be open all day for coffee and patisserie as well as, of course, lunch and dinner. If all goes according to plan it should be ready to open towards the end of next week .

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PENARTH’S JAMES SOMMERIN RECEIVES AA “RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR WALES” AWARD

For a change someone else was doing the cooking as James Sommerin and his team celebrated their award of the title AA Restaurant of The Year in Wales

For a change, someone else was doing the cooking as James Sommerin and his team celebrated their award of the title AA Restaurant of The Year in Wales 

The Penarth restaurateur James Sommerin and his team have received the AA Award as the 2016 Restaurant of the Year in Wales.

The award “recognises all aspects of the restaurant experience from the quiality of the food to the style service and ambience of the restaurant” .

The award ceremony was  held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London last night . The complete list of restaurant winners was as follows:-

  • AA Restaurant of the Year for England – Lumière, Cheltenham
  • AA Restaurant of the Year for Wales – Restaurant James Sommerin, Penarth
  • AA Restaurant of the Year for Scotland – Inver Restaurant, Strachur
  • AA Restaurant of the Year for London – Sosharu, London

Last night James Sommerin said “We are humbled for all the support we have received. Thank you to the team for their continued hard work as without them this award would not have been possible.”

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WHITCLIFFE DRIVE COULD BECOME “RAT-RUN” FOR 100s OF NEW HOMES – SAY RESIDENTS

If the "dead-end" at the end of Whitcliff Drive was connected to the huge Upper Cosmeston housking estate - the Drive could becme a "rat-run" - say residents

If the “dead-end” at the end of Whitcliff Drive was connected to the huge Upper Cosmeston housing estate – the Drive could become a “rat-run” – say residents

Residents living in the Plymouth Ward of Penarth are voicing worries that the Vale of Glamorgan Council may be secretly planning to build a new road-link which could connect hundreds of  homes at Upper Cosmeston Farm directly to Whitcliffe Drive in Penarth.

The Vale of Glamorgan Council has – just this month – more-than-doubled the number of new homes it’s proposing to add to the Upper Cosmeston Farm site to 576  – a move which has promoted increasing concern about the already-congested road infrastructure of southern Penarth .

The congested Brockhill Rise junction copes with traffic from over 160 homes including Whitcliffe Drive

The congested Brockhill Rise junction copes with traffic from over 160 homes including Whitcliffe Drive. A new junction is planned – and there are fears Whitcliffe Drive could become a “rat-run”

Currently there is no direct road connection from Whitcliffe Drive with either the Upper Cosmeston Farm area, or the rest of Penarth’s sea-front. All outbound traffic has to double-back to Lavernock Road – via the congested and dangerous junction at Brockhill Rise.

If a new road from the eastern part of the huge new housing openedo nto Whitcliffe Drive the cliff top could become a "rat-run"

If a new road from the eastern part of the huge new housing estate is opened onto Whitcliffe Drive it’s feared that the cliff top could become a “rat-run”

The Vale of Glamorgan Council now says it proposes to build a new road junction (presumably in addition to the existing Brockhill Rise Junction)  which would link the now-to-be-enlarged Upper Cosmeston Farm housing estate with Lavernock Road – outline details of which appear in the amended document below.

An extract from the Vale of Glamorgan Council's 's revised plan for 576 new houses and two new schools at Upper Cosmeston Farm - adjacent to Penarth

An extract from the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s latest revised plan for 576 new houses and 2 new schools at Upper Cosmeston Farm – adjacent to Penarth

In the extract above, the crossed-out section of text represents the now-defunct parts of the previous plan. The bold underlined type comprises the latest revisions which have just been added to the scheme. What was once envisaged as just “85” new homes is now amended to “576″.

The Vale Council says the new development “will be expected to contribute to the Council’s aspirations for improved walking, cycling and public transport facilities”. (The Vale Council presents no evidence as to whether local tax-paying residents actually share those same “aspirations” ).

The Vale Council also says it wants to ensure what it calls “good permeability” around the proposed enlarged 576 Upper Cosmeston Farm site.  “Permeability” is planning jargon which means creating more access routes into – and out of – the new housing areas,  and it’s this which is worrying Plymouth Ward residents .

Whitcliffe Drive , Penarth has an unrivalled position overlooking the sea

Penarth’s Whitcliffe Drive has an unrivalled position overlooking the sea – but it could become a “rat-run” for traffic coming from adjacent new housing estates.

Local homeowners in the neighbourhood of  Whitcliffe Drive are concerned about speculation that – in addition to the new Lavernock Road Junction – a new road is being planned to run from the Eastern part of the enlarged Upper Cosmeston Estate to link up with the current “dead end” of Whitcliffe Drive.

Penarth residents want the Vale planners to drop their  obfuscatory language and start coming-clean about exactly what is being proposed in terms of new road links.

Cllr Maureen Kelly-Owen (Conservative Plymouth Ward ) attended last month's Vale planning committee but has now stepped down

Cllr Maureen Kelly-Owen (Conservative Plymouth Ward )

Vale Councillor Maureen Kelly-Owen (Conservative Plymouth Ward)  has now grabbed the bull by the horns and has written directly to the Vale Council’s Managing Director Rob Thomas saying:-

Mr Rob Thomas Development Director and Managing Director of the Vale of Glamorgan Council

 Rob Thomas Development Director and Managing Director of the Vale of Glamorgan Council

“I seek your assurance that under no circumstances would you be prepared  to agree  to any developers being  granted a vehicular physical link/route into the  Whitcliffe Drive side of  the land to the south of this area at present under consideration for planning approval by your planning committee.

Cllr Kelly Owen tells Rob Thomas “Serious concerns have rightly been expressed by residents of this Cliff Top Community about their residential area becoming a “rat run” as an alternative route out of the new developments ,to Lavernock Road ,to reach  Penarth (and the rest of the world).  As a professional planner you will be more aware than most of the “ Planning Blight” that  could affect the Cliff Top Community of South Penarth if such an assurance was not in place.”

See original document at http://www.valeofglamorgan.gov.uk/Documents/Living/Planning/Policy/LDP/Action-Points/HS4-AP3-HS7-AP2-Amended-Sept-2016.pdf

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BID IS MADE TO BUILD 9 NEW HOMES ON PENARTH’S LEAST-KNOWN RURAL ROAD

A planning application has been made to build 9 deetatched houses on the site of The Highlands, on Old Barry Road

A planning application has been made to build 9 new detached houses on the site of “The Highlands”, on Old Barry Road

A planning application has been made to demolish an existing two-storey luxury home “The Highlands” –  and its associated coach-house –  which both stand in extensive elevated grounds off Old Barry Road, Penarth.

The grounds –  including the site of the house and coach house –  would then be developed as a compact  estate of  9 two storey-four-bedroom detached houses – all with double-garages and gardens.

The new development would be served by an “extended adopted highway and new private driveway”.

Old Barry Road is one of the least-known roads in Penarth and comprises a narrow rural one-way loop off the main A4055 road between Baron’s Court and the Merrie Harrier. The site is bounded by the A 4055, Cogan Railway Station and Cogan Hill .

The application has yet to be discussed by either the Vale of Glamorgan Council or Penarth Town Council .

 

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VALE COUNCIL CASTIGATED FOR PLACING “HUGE PRESSURES ON HARDWORKING PEOPLE”

It's hardworking local families who are being Put under pressure by the Vale's inflation-busting hikes in Council Tax - says Andrew R T Davies

It’s hardworking local families who are being put under pressure by the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s continued and sustained inflation-busting hikes in Council Tax – says Andrew R T Davies

Penarth’s Conservative Assembly Member Andrew R T Davies has again called on the Labour-controlled Welsh Government to freeze further increases in council tax across Wales.

South Wales Central AM Davies singles out for particular criticism the Labour-run Vale of Glamorgan Council for its succession of inflation-busting increases in Council Tax .

He says Vale Council imposed a 3.9% increase in 2016, a 3.9% increase in 2015, a 4.5% increase in 2014 and a 4.8% increase in 2013 – all of which placed huge pressures on hardworking people.”;

Penarth  Conservative AM Andrew R T Davies is calling for a freeze on Council Tax to help hard-pressed local families in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Penarth Conservative AM Andrew R T Davies is calling for a freeze on Council Tax to help hard-pressed local families in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Andrew R T Davies – who is Leader of the Welsh Conservatives – and Conservative Leader in the Welsh Assembly says it’s a “worrying sign” that some councils are placing an “over-reliance on bailiffs” to force families to pay up .

He says “It is clear that high council tax bills put huge pressures on hardworking families across Wales,  – and here in the Vale,  people know that all too well with inflation busting rises over the past few years.

David adds “It is a worrying sign that authorities are relying on bailiffs to reclaim council tax arrears, sometimes for quite trivial amounts. At the end of the day, bailiffs charge fees – and sending them in too early will see the Council get back less than they otherwise would.”

He says “While people must pay their council tax – and it is not an optional extra –  these incidents show the pressures that Council Tax puts on people. The Welsh Government have so far refused to implement a Council Tax freeze here in Wales and I urge them to reverse that decision to help Council Tax payers across the Vale”

A report by Citizens Advice Cymru showed that almost 6,000 people asked for help with 16,000 council tax problems in 2015-16, up 7% on the previous year.

 

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POLICE JUMP-THE-GUN ON SCRAPPING PENARTH LOCAL WARD “PACT” MEETINGS

Police Community Support Officers on patrol in Plymouth Ward where there has been an increase in crimes of "Violence Against the Person"

Police Community Support Officers on patrol in Plymouth Ward. From now on all wards be combined in a single “town-wide” police/public liaison “PACT” drop- in session

The regular ward “PACT” meetings –  in which members of the public in each of the four electoral wards of Penarth discuss local problems face-to-face with ward police officers –  are to be scrapped and replaced by a single – town-wide –  “drop-in” session.

The delphic acronym “PACT” is derived from a police/local authority jargon which is now supposed to mean “Partnerships and Communities Together”  – but the term has gone through a number of definitions:-

  • Back in 2006  “PACT” was officially said to mean “Preventing Antisocial Crime Together ” – but then the reference to “crime” was dropped.
  • It was changed to  Police and Communities Together”  – (a term still used by British Transport Police).
  • Then it was decided to remove the word “police” from the title and supplant it with  the amorphous word “partnerships” so that the title would then read as “Partnerships and Communities Together”.

In practice few people know what the current term, “Partnerships and Communities Together” actually means  – and even fewer people now bother to turn-up at the poorly publicised meetings.

PCSOs on patrol in St Augustines Ward - the ward which includes the town-centre of Penarth

PCSOs on patrol in St Augustines Ward – the ward which includes the town-centre of Penarth

The dearth of attendees at local-ward PACT meetings prompted this issue to be unexpectedly raised without any prior notice at  this month’s policy and finance committee meeting of Penarth Town Council.

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines) apologised to the committee

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines) apologised to members for the fact that the topic had not been included in the official printed agenda for the meeting and therefore councillors did not know this was going to be raised. [PDN Note: Those councillors who had read the Penarth Times would however have already been in the loop as a police notification had already been prematurely published – albeit without the prior agreement of councillors ].

Setting the background, Cllr Roberts said there was very poor attendance at St Augustines Ward PACT meetings and he understood that Cornerswell Ward was the same and that the only ward which had “reasonable numbers” was Stanwell Ward.

Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward)  agreed – saying that only about two or three members of the public attended PACT meetings in his ward.

Cllr Roberts said that in “over the garden wall” discussions with  St Augustine’s PSCO Gareth Parry the idea had emerged of replacing the individual ward meetings with a single “town-wide PACT meeting” which would be attended by all the PCSOs in Penarth. Cllr Roberts said PCSO Parry had proposed that – rather than  having a formal meeting with an agenda –  the meeting should be held as a two-hour “drop-in session” for the whole of Penarth.

Unexpectedly  – Cllr Roberts said  – without further ado the police had then gone ahead and set up the first meeting which is now duly scheduled for next month. He thought however that the concept was “well worth trying” and asked committee members to support it.

Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell)

Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell)

Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell) thought it was a “good initiative “ and  noted there were already “Youth Pact meetings” and “Business Pact Meetings” and the new town-wide PACT meeting would add to “the kaleidoscope of PACT meetings”.

However Cllr Wilson had reservations about the holding such a meeting as a “drop-in session”. Whilst he acknowledged that sometimes it was good for people to have one-to-one conversations with police officers, there were also “matters of general concern” about which there could be a wider discussion towards finding “a way forward”.

Cllr Clive Williams   said he was pleased to endorse the new arrangement . He thought that one reason why PACT meetings failed to attract audiences was that a lot of time was spent going over matters which had already been discussed in previous meetings . That often meant that people who wanted to raise a topic had to wait until the end of the meetings to so.

Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell)

Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell)

Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell) said Cornerswell Ward had “varying attendance” at its PACT meetings – there could be up to 20 people at some of them – but he supported the proposed changes.

The first of the new-style drop-in PACT sessions  will be held at Penarth Town Council’s HQ at West House, Stanwell Road on October 10th from 17:00 to 19:00

 

 

 

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PENARTH TOWN COUNCIL REFUSES CASH FOR PENARTH LITERATURE FESTIVAL

The Penarth Literature Festival logo

The Penarth Literature Festival logo

The annual Penarth Literature Festival ( formerly called the “Penarth Book Festival”) has had its request for a £400 grant from the Penarth Town Council refused .

The Penarth Literature Festival had requested the financial assistance grant for  “brochure printing costs”.

Cllr Rhiannon Birch (Labour Cornerswell) is a governor of Cogan Primary school

Cllr Rhiannon Birch (Labour Cornerswell) is a governor of Cogan Primary school

Cllr Rhiannon Birch (Labour Cornerswell) told the council’s policy and finance committee that as the council had already made a grant to this year’s festival “in kind” worth over £400 [ by offering the use of the Kymin and the Paget Rooms free of charge] –  she did not think it was necessary to give a further £400 on top of “the credit that they’d had”  .

Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines) Leader of Penarth Town Council said he had been interviews on Bro Radio for 30 seconds.

Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines) Leader of Penarth Town Council said he had been interviews on Bro Radio for 30 seconds.

Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines) – in the chair – said that in this case the committee was only looking at the current financial year and the matter could be looked at afresh for the next financial year – and the committee “obviously wished the festival every success” .

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustine’s) said “ We want it to be successful . It is succeeding . The best thing we can do is make sure they have the best quality premises – and in respect of that our contribution is quite significant”.

Cllr Cuddy said there was a “new kid on the block” in view of the fact that “authors were now beginning to require fees –  but we were not clear whether this was an issue here yet”

The council agreed to look at any grant application afresh next year but for this year’s event (which begins next month) only assistance in kind – (£400 pounds worth of council accommodation)  – will be given to the festival.

 

 

 

 

 

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