The new Labour-friendly council area which would be formed by today’s merger proposals

The Welsh Labour Government is reviving  previously rejected plans  to merge all 22 local authorities  into just 10 councils – which means, once again, that a merger between the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff is on the table.

The last attempt at a merger ran into considerable opposition from local councils including the then Labour-run Vale of Glamorgan Council .

The plan was eventually scrapped in 2016 when a system of “regional joint working” was proposed as an alternative

Welsh Labour Government local-government minister Alun Davies

Now Welsh Labour Government Local Government Secretary Alun Davies is reviving the original merger plan – saying that are “wearing down to the point of collapse.”

He claims that ” there is a general acceptance that things cannot carry on as they are and a general acknowledgement that more money, even if it were available, would not solve the problem.”.

Plaid Cymru local government spokeswoman Sian Gwenllian has called the latest Labour U Turn as a  “farce”. She says she would ” like to ask how council mergers will attract support this time when it failed last time to do so.

Janet Finch-Saunders AM Conservative Aberconwy

Welsh Conservative local government spokeswoman Janet Finch-Saunders hinted that Labour’s real motive is to “gerrymander” the existing  22 council areas in Wales – and rig the system in favour of sttregthening Labour control .

She said “This will now be the third attempt and announcement that that there’s an intention to gerrymander – I mean reorganise – local government. This is a political reform. It is not about bringing good services to people.”

This is how the Welsh Labour Government would like the see the council’s merge – almost all, it so happens, to the maximum advantage of the Labour Party :-

  • Isle of Anglesey and Gwynedd
  • Conwy and Denbighshire
  • Flintshire and Wrexham
  • Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire
  • Swansea and Neath Port Talbot
  • Bridgend, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil
  • Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff
  • Newport and Caerphilly
  • Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent and Monmouthshire
    The huge county of Powys would remain untouched
Posted in Penarth Daily News | 4 Comments


Ashdene Manor seen from Bridgeman Road – with the steel shuitters in place

Members of Penarth Town Council’s planning committee seemed to be less than fully-briefed when they discussed a new planning application for the development of one of Penarth’s treasured sea-front mansions “Ashdene Manor “ on Bridgeman Road – within the Penarth Conservation Area.

The new application follows the deferment in March 2017 [by the then Labour-controlled Vale of Glamorgan planning committee] –  of the previous, very similar  Ashdene Manor planning application for “further officer consultation”.

An impression of the ORIGINAL 2017  Steve Smith planning application for Ashdene which was DEFERRED (Image courtesy John Wotton architects Architects) ,

The council’s foot-dragging provoked the developer – Steve Simpson – to lodge a Planning Inspectorate  appeal against the Vale Council.

Mr G Powys Jones – acting for Mr Simpson – said  his client  “understandably, is aggrieved with this inexcusable delay, and accordingly has decided to appeal on the grounds of non-determination.”  On behalf of Mr Simpson, Mr Jones noted that the Vale Council planning officers also stated that  “a level of affordable housing would need to be provided on the site, together with other financial contributions.”  – and had gone on make a (subsequently contested) claim that Mr Simpson had “agreed to these matters”

In adjudicating – and rejecting – Mr Simpson’s appeal last year the Planning Inspector said  the issue was whether the scheme made “adequate provision for affordable housing and public open space, having particular regard to the viability of the development.”

Now Steve Simpson has submitted a second  application for Ashdene Manor  which is about the same size as the original (deferred) design but has reduced the size of the upper windows following points made in the Vale Planning committee back in March 2017.


The new 2018 revised design for Ashdene Manor – as it would look facing Bridgeman Road

Like the 2017 design, the 2018 design involves  the “conversion of existing house [ i.e. Ashdene itself ] into 3 apartments. Extensions to property to provide a further 6 apartments” in two new wings either side of the main mansion .  [ i.e. a grand total of 9 apartments]


The members of the Labour-controlled Penarth Town Council planning committee seemed largely unaware of the detailed background when they came consider the new 2018 application.

The chairman of the committee Cllr Nigel Humphrey (Labour St Augustines ) misleadingly advised councillors that “This application considerably increases the size to 3 flats in the house and 9 apartments[ PDN Note: The actual number apartments is NOT 3+9 =12 . It is actually (as before)  3+6 = 9.]

Cllr Angela Thomas (Labour Plymouth Ward )

Cllr Angela Thomas (Labour Plymouth Ward) –  in whose constituency the site is located – seemed to be unfamiliar with the property and its location  .

She said  “I was just looking at it on my phone and where it was on Bridgeman Road and whether it’s the same property that’s been an eyesore for a very long time. It is in need of development – that site. It’s been stood there, delapidating, for a very long time . Even though I do think the plans do seem quite monstrous to me, we are in need of more housing. It does mean that the site will be developed. I just think that it’s slightly dangerous – the plans overdevelop the plot. ” She said something “a bit more in keeping with the area” was required.

Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative St Augustines)

Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward) referred to the site plan and said “Quite clearly you can see the original building there . You can see the two wings which have been built-on which really emphasise the building and it’s now a filled plot”.[PDN Note: For clarity, no building work has yet taken place on the site]

Cllr Turner said “most of the houses in that particular part of Penarth are  in their own grounds. Now this is going to be filling the site – as the previous application was “  . He added that he was not quite sure what the difference was  between the new application and the previous application. [ PDN Note: The major difference is that the new plans have smaller top-floor windows on the wings than did the earlier design.]

Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines) Leader of Penarth Town Council

Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines),  who is deputy planning chairman, inaccurately  recalled that “There was certainly one application with one side and another one with both sides ” . [ PDN Note: There was an earlier  7 apartment proposal with two wings – not one]

Cllr Turner had said that the proposals meant not quite building to the boundaries of the plot, but not far off them.

Cllr Nigel Humphrey (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Humphrey, in the chair, said the application would change the nature of the Ashdene and the nature of the conservation area

Cllr Cuddy said the developers should be “subtracting[from the size of each wing] rather than adding to them.

Cllr Turner said if the proposed wings on either side were smaller, the development might be more aethetically pleasing –  but it was not the job of the committee to make recommendations to the architect.

Cllr Jon Luxton (Labour Stanwell)

Cllr Jon Luxton (Labour Stanwell) said that if one looked “next door”[ at the wrecked mansion Normandy]   he feared for the possible knock-on effects of development being delayed.

Cllr Humphrey brought his experience of the French planning system to bear – saying that in France, development plans were required to include the relation of the proposed development to existing buildings on either side . None of the Ashdene development drawings did that he said.

Cllr Turner said “I think it’s continued overdevelopment of the area and it’s not in keeping with the Conservation Area”.

It was this observation which was recorded as the collective opinion of the Penarth planning committee and which will now be passed,as a recommendation, to the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Planning Committee which will make the final decision.

[PDN Note: The Penarth planning committee failed to comment on the issue of affordable housing, seemed unaware that 2018 Ashdene design is of the same size and scale as the previous 2017 design and perhaps had not seen last year’s Planning Inspectorate adjudication which said It is common ground between the main parties that the size, design and impact of the development on the existing dwelling and the wider Conservation Area would be acceptable.” ]




Posted in Penarth Daily News | 4 Comments


Circling the wagons: An improvised barrier of supermarket trolleys has been used to prevent people walking in the area where the slates fell and three adjacent disabled parking spaces have been taken out of commission

Roofing engineers were at the Tesco Store at Terra Nova Way in Penarth Marina today following weekend storm damage  .

It’s understood that strong winds at the weekend took a number of slates off the roof  at the front of the building .

The dislodged slates crashed down onto the disabled parking area near the main entrance to the store.

Tesco says no one was hurt. Three disabled parking spaces have had to be cordoned off whilst inspection and repairs are in progress .   The store is open for business as usual.

Posted in Penarth Daily News | 1 Comment


This group of teenagers photographed at 8:20 pm on March 15th may well have been waiting to exchange their library books the following morning –  but it appears that not all young people in Rectory Road after dark are quite as innocent . (Photo Anon)  

In Rectory Road, Penarth, police patrols – responding to reports of anti-social behaviour in the area –   have spoken to two youths and told them, in effect , to get out of town… and stay out.

It’s understood that the patrols were initiated after reports from local residents of anti social behaviour .

South Wales Police say Patrols conducted at Rectory Road Lane, Penarth in response to recent reports of anti-social behaviour. Two youths spoken to and warned not to come back to the area

The police announcement  follows the recent deliberate damage inflicted upon the pavilion shelter  in the Kymin  – an incident which was raised in Thursday night’s meeting of Penarth Town Council’s Venues Committee. [Police have not said whether there is a link between Rectory Road incidents and the Kymin vandalism]

In Rectory Road local residents have reported that gangs of bike-born teenagers tend to congregate after dark on the public benches, and the steps of,  the entrance to Penarth Library  – long after it has closed.

There is to be a public  “Drop-in Police Clinic”  at Penarth Police Station on March 22nd between 16:30 and 17:30 at which all local residents can call in to speak to their neighbourhood officer.

Posted in Penarth Daily News | 6 Comments


St Cyres Secondary school Penarth is partially closed today (PDN library photo)

Parents of children attending primary and secondary schools in Penarth have been struggling this morning to establish whether the schools are still open as usual following the weekend snow 

St Cyres School and Ysgol y Deri – who share a large campus  on the outskirts of Penarth – announced that they would be assessing the condition of their site and announcing a decision early this morning – but in the event it was not good news:-

The St Cyres “Twitter” announcemnt confirming today’s partial closure of the school

At 06:45 St Cyres said that – despite the best efforts of all concerned – St Cyres would be open only to Year 11 , Year 12 and Year 13 today. Other classes are closed and children should stay home .

Nothwithstanding its earlier announcement Stanwell School said it would be CLOSED TODAY

Stanwell School announced last night that it intended to be open as normal – but this morning announced the school would be totally closed today.

Parents attempting to glean information from the internet, found the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s website and St Cyres’s website appeared to be overloaded with inquiries and they were unable to obtain information. The Vale of Glamorgan Council announced at 06.45am that “Our website is currently down due to technical issues, we aim to get this resolved as soon as possible. Apologies for any inconvenience caused.”

The bleak warning that some children could be left stranded in the snow

Parents have been warned that some children travelling to school by Vale of Glamorgan Public Transport “may not be picked up”.


  • Albert Primary (Breakfast Club & Juniors to access through lower basketball yard).
  • Cogan Nursery
  • Cogan Primary
  • Evenlode Primary
  • Fairfield Primary,
  •  Llandough Primary
  • St Joseph’s
  • Sully Primary
  • Victoria Primary – access from Cornerwell Road entrance only
  • Sully Primary
  • Ysgol Gymraeg Pen-y-Garth
  • Ysgol Y Deri
Posted in Penarth Daily News | 5 Comments


First thing this morning Penarth police officers had to get snow off patrol car windscreens at the Windsor Road HQ before they could carry out safety checks later today (South Wales Police photo)

For the second time this month snow is falling in Penarth today –  blanketing roads and causing many scheduled functions to be cancelled.

Vale of Glamorgan gritting lorries were working on the main streets of Penarth at 02:00 this morning but continuing snowfall since then nullified much of their work .

Alison Watkins of Penarth posted this picture of pristine snow on Twitter this morning (Photo Alison Watkins)

Today’s snow seems to be of the same powdery consistency as the snow which was delivered by the “Beast from the East”  – and is therefore accumulating in wind-driven drifts but the volume of snow wasn’t quite as heavy the previous snowfall at the beginning of the month .

It looks like another day of unendurable privation ahead for Penarth – or, alternatively,  lots of fun with sledges and snowballs…

…but meanwhile people in the know predict that things could get worse tonight:-

On Twitter Penarth’s Tabernacle Church in Plassey St has issued this dramatic warning to its congregation

The Tabernacle Church in Plassey  has warned its congregation not to turn up for tonight’s scheduled Evening Service.

On Twitter. the Tabernacle says “Due to the worsening weather conditions expected from later today and the high probability of ice underfoot, there will be NO evening service tonight.”


Posted in Penarth Daily News | 18 Comments


The ultimate status symbol: Regular tap toppers-up will be able to collect vouchers entitling them to claim a free metal bottle – possibly with Penarth Town Council’s crest on it

Penarth Town Council is considering signing-up to a scheme which will enable anyone to enter participating shops, cafes and other businesses in Penarth – including the council offices  – and ask for their water bottle to be re-filled with tap-water, free of charge.

The scheme is called “City to Sea Refill” which originated in Bristol and already operates in Llantwit Major.

Thousands of plastic bottles containing Brecon Carreg water stand by for Cardiff Half Marathon competitors on Penarth Road – all wrapped in yet more plastic .

The idea is that refilling plastic bottles saves them being thrown away after just one use  – and therefore would help reduce the amount of plastic in the environment.

The refill scheme involves the use of a free mobile phone “app” which would map the locations of participating organisations in the town. A Refill logo is also to be displayed in the front windows of businesses taking part.

There would be a “reward scheme” which would hand out tokens to those refilling their plastic bottles which would entitle them – in due course –  to claim a free metal water bottle – branded with the Penarth Town Council logo.

The existing public water fountain in Belle Vue Park

There are also plans to install a water fountain in Penarth Town Centre funded by sponsorship from local businesses.

Cllr Jon Luxton (Labour Stanwell) is Deputy Mayor of Penarth

Cllr Jon Luxton (Labour Stanwell) asked the council’s policy innovation and development committee – which was considering the idea – whether there was any evidence that such a scheme actually worked . Council officer Arabella Calder said that there was evidence the refill logo was becoming increasingly well-known.

Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative St Augustines)

Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward) asked if it would be possible to have refill stations set up in the council HQ at West House, the Paget Rooms and Penarth Cemetery.

Ms Calder said “Well we can put a sticker on our window here and if somebody rings the bell they can come upstairs and fill their water bottle”   .

Gary Allman (Conservative  St Augustine’s Ward)

Cllr Gary Allman (Conservative St Augustines) – who has done much to draw attention to the large amount of plastic waste floating in Cardiff Bay –  asked where the council would stand on Health and Safety in providing this service. Council officers said most businesses  – and the council –  had their own Health and Safety regulations.

Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell)

Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell) said – “We’re working on an open goal  here; we should be doing it” but said it was right to point out some of the issues “Health and Safety is obviously one of them” but added that many local residents had “water-quality issues in this town. Lots of people have got old pipes for example. That’s almost inevitable, but you can get around that by making sure you run the tap a little bit  – not too much – and you get rid of the contaminants that way”.

Cllr Wilson said it was an excellent idea which the town council should be promoting. The council could pay the initial £250 registration fee –  but subsequently he suggested that this could be taken on in due course by Gwyrddio Penarth Greening (GPG) – [the environmental organisation run by Green Party activist Anthony Slaughter]. 

It was resolved that the Town Council would try the scheme for one year .

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