WORK STARTS ON SPRUCING-UP THE WINDSOR ROAD “GATEWAY TO PENARTH”

Half the houses on Windsor Road Cogan are now swathed in scaffolding as the massive Vale Council refurbishment programme gets under way. Householders won’t have to pay anything towards the cost

Vale of Glamorgan Council contractors have now installed scaffolding on the frontages or approximately half the terraced houses along Windsor Road, Cogan – the “Gateway to Penarth” .

It’s the first stage in a council-funded programme to re-vitalise the appearance of the properties and the overall impression given when entering Penarth from Cogan Hill.

The “Cogan Dip” is still officially an Air Quality Management Area – but the Welsh Labour Government may now review this status following the most recent checks on air quality

The area – which includes the notorious “Cogan Dip” is notorious for being an “Air Quality Management Area” (AQMA) because of the high concentrations of traffic fumes – notably nitrogen dioxide – detected along Windsor Road.

Not only are these emissions present in the air but there is also a persistent fall-out of diesel particulates which tends to cling to the outside walls of the homes in Windsor Road. The former Labour administration in the Vale of Glamorgan Council had declared that there was “no need” for the council to do anything about air pollution in Cogan.

In 2017 the Conservative-led Vale Council looked again at the problem and said council research showed air pollution in AQMA area in 2016 was “compliant” with  the Air Quality Standards “objective levels” – [PDN Note: That doesn’t mean there isn’t now any air pollution problem in Cogan – it just means it’s not as bad as it was when the AQMA area was set up there 6 years ago] .

The internal council report told councillors that “Where compliance within an AQMA occurs over a period of 3 years or more than the local authority should consider revoking the need for the continued presence of the AQMA.”.

The final decision to revoke the Windsor Road Air Quality Management Area is to be taken by the Welsh Labour Government following a review and consultation with the local communities affected. …So far, the AQMA remains in place.

 

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CHRISTMAS ON THE PAVEMENTS AND “OLD NEW YEAR’S DAY” IN PENARTH

No one in Ladbroke’s on Plassey St  was taking any bets on when the collection of redundant Christmas trees on the pavement outside their premises would be removed (PDN reader photo)

On Twitter Emma Sands posted this picture of a “Christmas Tree graveyard in Penarth”

Hundreds of Christmas trees are still languishing –  uncollected – on the pavements of  Penarth despite the fact that the Vale of Glamorgan Council said they would be collected during the last week commencing January  8th .

Unwanted Christmas trees were to be seen huddled together on the corner of Plassey Street and Glebe St next to the bookie’s Ladbrokes

Emma Sands posted on Twitter a long line line of other castaway trees lying prone on a Penarth pavement – laid out at respectful intervals .

They may – or may not – be collected today

The “head” of the legendary Welsh king and giant Bendigeidfran rolls down the RNLI slipway in Penarth’s Hen Galan celebration commemorating the ancient Welsh (Julian) calendar’s official turn of the year – (Photo Coleridge 2016)

Meanwhile those Penarthians who still cling to the ancient  traditional Romano/Welsh Julian Calendar – (which had the New Year starting 11 days later than the Gregorian Calendar)  –  have been marking the start of 2018 with the ceremony of rolling the loquacious talking head of the former Welsh King (and giant)  Bendigeidfran into the Bristol Channel.

[PDN Note: the full, complex and  somewhat gory – background to the legend can be found in the compendium of Welsh folk tales – the “Mabinogion”  translated by Lady Charlotte Guest.

When the Gregorian calendar was introduced by Act of Parliament, Wednesday 2 September 1752 was followed by Thursday 14 September 1752. The consequent  “loss” of 11 days did not go down at all well in Wales . Some districts – notably the Gwaun Valley in Pembrokeshire – retained the use the old Julian calendar and its later date for the start of the new  New Year (Hen Galan) . The tradition had almost died out but is now being revived in many Welsh communities.]

 

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“NEWYDD” PUTS-OUT MISLEADING VIDEO ON ST PAUL’S SOCIAL-HOUSING SCHEME

The “new” video was placed on YouTube by developers Newydd on December 31st – but it doesn’t represent the current version of the scheme as submitted in the planning application. Press the arrow sign to play it.

The Newydd Housing Association is promoting a misleading and out-of-date video of its plans to redevelop St Paul’s Church in Arcot St Penarth as a block of rented social housing apartments.

This video – called “St Paul’s Church CGI Model”  – gives the false impression that there is intended to be a grassy “amenity space” at the rear of the building where tenants can sit in the sun and children can play.

The original scheme included a grassy “amenity space ” with public seating for tenants at the rear of the building. The YouTube video placed on line on December 31st 2017 wrongly indicates that this grassy area is still in the plans – but it isn’t

What was to be that grassy amenity space shown in the previous picture (and in the misleading Newydd video) – is now to be an all-tarmac car-park

In fact the LATEST amended version of the plans – as submitted in the planning application – shows that this grassy space with public seating has since been scrapped from the scheme – and is now designed as just a tarmaced car-parking area.

The plans were amended by Newydd after  a “pre-application consultation”  in the Paget Rooms in September  but those amendments aren’t shown in the video

In other late-changes, the number of apartments in the scheme was reduced to 14 . The amended proposal is now for  11two person” flats and for 3three-person flats” – meaning that a total of 31 social-housing tenants would now be crammed onto the tiny site – with only 5 parking spaces between them. It is not clear whether children would count as “a person”.

The video being promoted on YouTube by Newydd however does NOT include these changes  and is based on the old original 15-apartment plan – and shows the grassy amenity space at the rear of the development as part of the scheme – even though it has since been taken out of the plans.

The out of date Newydd video on YouTube is being promoted in emails sent this week b y Newydd  to local residents in Penarth – giving a false impression of what the scheme would actually be like –  if planning permission is given.

Newydd Housing Association is being criticised for sending out emails to local residents this week with the out-of-date video attached to them giving a false impression of the St Paul’s development

One local resident said “Newydd describe  their video as “nifty”. I’d say that “totally inaccurate” would be a better description” .

Penarth Town Council’s planning committee –  which was  due to consider the planning application this week – has postponed discussion of the scheme until January 25th.

The application is then due to be discussed by the full Vale of Glamorgan Council planning committee in a few weeks’ time.

 

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BIZWATCH: “CIONI’S” CLIFF WALK RESTAURANT GETS A MAKEOVER

Cioni’s on Cliff Walk has the shutters closed this month for refurbishment

The well-known Cioni’s Bistro and cafe on Penarth’s Cliff Walk is currently undergoing a major refurbishment.

The cafe – a Penarth institution and essential port of call for visitors and residents alike – is closed for the rest of the month.

Inside, Cioni’s is undergoing redecoration and re-wiring

For  the next few weeks, the familiar Italian operatic areas playing on the restaurant  loudspeakeers have been silenced, the pine tables and chairs have been taken out, the bar has been removed and that 1980’s-era continental decor with the authentic artexed walls is making way for what is said to be a fresh new look .

Cioni’s – run by restaurateur Tony Cioni – originally started life as a mere kiosk on Cliff Walk but was extended and re-developed as a “cafeteria” in 1987. Its official name became “Cafiero Cioni’s Bistro Restaurant, Pizzeria” .

The other side of Cioni’s overlooks the children’s playground at Cliff Walk

Cioni’s is the only cafe in the immediate era and its unique cliff-top location makes it probably one of the best-situated restaurants in Penarth . It has Food Standards Agency rating of 4 (5 is the top score)  – although it has tended to get a bumpy ride from some customers who write reports on the internet site “Trip Advisor“.

The freehold of “Cioni’s Bistro and Restaurant” is actually owned by the Vale of Glamorgan Council and is amongst a listed portfolio of over 400 council properties – which in 2015 included:-

  • 1 Farm (Cogan Hall Farm on the outskirts of Penarth) plus an unspecified number of small-holdings at Hensol.
  • 2 areas of grazing land at Cosmeston and Hensol,
  • 30 vacant plots of land ,
  • 3 Golf courses
  • 35 shops,
  • 17 car parks,
  • 13Steam Railway Project” sites
  • ….And the “Cliff Walk Cafe”  – a.k.a. Cioni’s

 

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LABOUR’S CARDIFF & VALE HEALTH BOARD TAKES A ‘TURN FOR THE WORSE’

The familiar chaotic scenes outside the Emergency Unit at the University Hospital at the Heath in Cardiff – which comes under the Cardiff and Vale Health Board and ultimately under beleaguered  Labour Health Minister Vaughan Gething – AM for Cardiff South and Penarth

The performance of the Labour-Party-dominated Cardiff and Vale University Health Board – which runs the NHS services in Penarth, Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan – is getting steadily worse according to figures compiled by the BBC.

The Cardiff and Vale Health Board – which runs the Heath Hospital in Cardiff and Llandough Hospital plus all NHS doctor’s surgeries in the area – compares badly with most of the other 6 health boards in Wales in terms of both Accident and Emergency services and also in Planned Operations and Treatment.

Three other health boards in Wales provide a better A&E service than Cardiff and Vale – even though Labour Health Minister Vaughan Gething – who’s responsible for the NHS in Wales –  lives in Penarth

In yet again missing its Accident and Emergency targets, the Cardiff and Vale Health Board came only in a lowly 4th position in rankings of the 7 health boards in Wales.

In Planned Operations and Health Care, the Cardiff & Vale Health Board came only 5th of the 7 Health boardsi n Wales – and again missed its targets

In its Planned Operations and Care the Cardiff and Vale Board fared even worse and could only come in 5th place out of the 7 Health Boards in Wales.

Not once in the last 5 years has the Cardiff and Vale Health Board met its targets for Accident and Emergency and Planned Operations.

Stephen Doughty the Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth made a limp and ineffectiuve intervention in the Health Secretary’s speech

In the House of Commons this week in a debate on the Health Service, Stephen Doughty the Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth accused the Prime Minister of being “willing at every opportunity to attempt to smear the Welsh [ Labour-run] NHS”.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the Welsh Labour Government had increased spending on the NHS in Wales by  only 8%  – whereas spending on the NHS  in England had been increased by nearly 16%

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt reminded Doughty and the other Labour MPs that – under Labour –  the  NHS in Wales [which is the responsibility of Welsh Labour Government Health Minister Vaughan Gething (Labour AM for Cardiff South and Penarth)] had not met its targets since 2008.

Hunt asked whose fault wasit  that in the Labour-run NHS in Wales, one patient in every six had to wait too long for Accident and Emergency treatment ?

He also asked whose fault it was that people in Wales were 9  times more likely to have to wait too long for their NHS test results compared with patients in England?

Hunt said  from 2011, funding for the NHS in England went up by 15.6% but in Wales the Welsh Labour Government had chosen to increase funding by only 8% . 

Even though this was a Labour-initiated debate, Doughty did not attempt a second intervention.

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BIZWATCH: PENARTH LIFEBOAT STALWART HELMS NEW CYBER-SECURITY VENTURE

Penarth Lifeboat’s Operations Manager Jason Dunlop (seen here with Olympic Gold medallist Hannah Mills) is now also at the helm of a new cyber security firm that’s been set up at Tec Marina in Penarth

The well-known operations manager for Penarth lifeboat, Jason Dunlop, is taking the helm of a new cyber-security business venture based at Penarth Marina.

Mr Dunlop is a veteran lifeboat crew volunteer with a number of awards to his credit for his rescue work with the RNLI. Now – in his day-job –  he is handling regional development for Xcina, a company which provides firms with monitoring and  data analysis services, cyber detection and response to cyber-threats.

Penarth’s Tec Marina complex in Penarth Marina is the Welsh base of the new cyber-security firm Xcina

Xcina is a part of the Shearwater Group and has just opened a new office at the co-working space and innovation centre Tec Marina – in Penarth Marina .

The firm offers local businesses a range of services to improve their cyber-security. In addition,  Xcina will also help prepare businesses to handle the raft of new data regulations coming into force in May this year.

Mr Dunlop  says “This is an exciting time for Xcina and we look forward to further announcements this year as we continue our investment and expansion in Wales.”

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PENARTH COUNCIL EJECTS REPORTERS FROM “EXTRA ORDINARY” MEETING

At Penarth Town Council’s HQ last night it wasn’t just the now-redundant Christmas Snowman who was left out in the cold. Journalists were required to leave the “extra ordinary” council meeting

The Labour-controlled Penarth Town Council has – yet again – invoked Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 to exclude members of the public and journalists from a special “Extra Ordinary” meeting of the council held last night.

The agenda for the meeting – which is supposed to be publicly available beforehand  – was  was heavily redacted and excluded multiple pages of documents printed on yellow paper which were distributed only to councillors.

Both the Penarth Times and Penarth Daily News were required to leave the meeting for a period of 40 minutes whilst a debate was held in the council chamber.

One PDN source says the long-term financial position of the council, the Paget Rooms, the Kymin and plans to increase this year’s Penarth Town Precept (to be loaded onto the overall Council Tax paid by Penarth residents) were discussed, but PDN has not yet been  to confirm this and has not been allowed access to the council papers.

This is by no means the first time the secretive council has ejected journalists from its meetings.  Last year, the press and public were also barred from attending part of the December 6th meeting of Penarth Town Council or see the relevant council reports – and again the same restrictive legislation was invoked to “justify” the exclusion.

The agenda of last night’s Penarth Council meeting would normally have included the minutes of that December 6th Penarth Council meeting  which were to be “signed off” at last night’s meeting. However a large section of the minutes of that December meeting – covering the section of the meeting from which reporters had been excluded – was missing.

 

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