RESIDENTS WERE “WRONG” TO OPPOSE SKATEBOARD PARK – SAYS LABOUR CLLR.

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines) & Cllr Lis Burnett (Labour St Augustines) confronting St Augsutine's Ward residents on the skateboard project in 2014 . This week he told Penarth Council it was wrong for residents to oppose the scheme and accused them of nimbyism

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines) standing with Cllr Lis Burnett (Labour St Augustines) at his left) –  confronting ward residents on the controversial Paget Road skateboard project in 2014 . This week he told Penarth Council it had been “wrong” for residents to oppose the scheme .

This week Penarth Town Council  has been reviewing how much provision it has for children’s play in the town.

Every three years the Welsh Government requires local authorities to undertake what’s called – in Cardiff Bay civil service jargon – a “Play Sufficiency Assessment ” . This week Penarth councillors have been asked to respond to a report being prepared by the Vale’s “Play Development Officer”. 

The Mayor of Penarth Cllr Rosemary Cook (Labour St Auguistines)

The Mayor of Penarth Cllr Rosemary Cook (Labour St Auguistines)

The Mayor Cllr Rosemary Cook (Labour St Augustines) invited comments.

Cllr Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Road)  said what the forthcoming Vale document might overlook were areas like Penarth beach which –  although pebbly and a bit muddy –  he said, was  “a wonderful play-resource for children”. He said the Kymin also provided play resources for children and children’s parties, the town’s community centres provided play facilities and part of   Cosmeston Country Park also fell within the area.

Leader of the Council Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines)

Leader of the Council Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines)

The leader of the council Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines) said  the Mayor had a statutory duty to have a “play strategy” but ” no actual need to do too much beyond that” . Cllr Cuddy said Penarth Council  could be “a bit more imaginative – looking holistically at what Penarth provides for children – and at what play is “.

Cllr Cuddy said there were three housing associations in Penarth where it might be possible to get a more “collaborative exercise”  going  – also involving the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell)

Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell)

Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell) said ” I am aware that there are parks and other areas  in Penarth which are perhaps under-maintained”. Cllr Thomas cited the example in his own ward of  Wordsworth Park  – which he described as being “fairly bleak” .

He thought that the deficiencies in such areas should be highlighted – urging the Vale Council to improve their maintenance . Other parks , he said, were “quite well maintained and well-used” – but in his ward a ” fine piece of play land is not attractive. That is a shame”.

Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell)

Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell)

Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell) – who is also a Vale of Glamorgan Councillor -noted the constraints under which the Vale Council was operating and that play equipment was “exceedingly expensive”. “In the old-days”, Cllr Wilson said “surfaces could be concrete. Now you can’t do that anymore”. He accepted the points made by Cllrs Ernest, Cuddy and Thomas and agreed with the idea of looking at possible funding with housing associations.

 Cllr Philip Rapier (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Philip Rapier (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Philip Rapier (Labour St Augustines)  said “The facilities may exist . It’s co-ordination and inspiration which sometimes is missing” . He felt there were not enough coordinators with the relevant skills and urged that some form of sponsorship be considered.

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines) said that perhaps “what the council should be doing is rather than looking a providing play facilities,  is to look at  the barriers to play”. 

Cllr Roberts said cited what he called “the somewhat-controversial 20-mph limit across Penarth”. He said “ That would provide an opportunity for kids to play  more safely  outside in the streets – socialising “ . Cllr Roberts said there had once been “Play Streets – I don’t know what happened to them. A street would be closed down at certain times and for that period traffic was banned in order that kids could play”.  Where there was “Section 106” money [paid by commercial developers for local facilities] some should be allocated for the provision of play facilities.

This is the grassy area of Paget Road Park on which it was planned to install the 105 foot long concrete skateboard rink

This is the grassy area of Paget Road Park on which it was planned to install the 105 foot long concrete skateboard rink

Cllr Roberts – who is also a twin-hatted Vale Councillor – was involved with Cllr Lis Burnett (also Labour St Augustines) in the controversy over the proposed installation of a 100 ft long concrete skateboard park at the Paget Terrace children’s play area- which ran into  public opposition from local residents at a packed public meeting in 2014. (see http://tinyurl.com/mmv5wjb )

In an implicit criticism of local residents in his own ward, Cllr Roberts said  We attempted to upgrade the park on Paget Terrace. We were going to put some huge skatepark with millions of children with radios loud and other rubbish. But I’m afraid that once you get to the practicalities, nimbyism is important.

He said ” The actual  facilities there were very modest – they were no more than a scooter park”. He said the project had now been stopped and was being looked at again “because of the reaction, which I think is, somehow or other, completely wrong”

Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward) was concerned about the deadline of February 12th to respond to the play assessment. Cllr Turner said one thing which had not been considered was the users and their parents”.

Cllr Turner said it was all very well for councillors to talk about what play facilities could be provided  – but said he had been “lobbied by a number of mothers”  about the facilities in the Plymouth Ward . He said it would be a shame if the council responded to the Vale Council without having first talked to “at least some parents about what they think they should have”.

Pressing for prior consultation with residents, Cllr Turner said Penarth Council would be “unwise” to say “this is what we want”.  He said parents should be asked for example  “Do you want a play street – would you actually use it?” . Cllr Turner warnedWe must not make assumptions about what the generation – or two generations –  behind us want”.

Cllr Gwyn Roberts  re-iterated that the council’s approach should be to “remove the barriers to play”.

Posted in Penarth Daily News | 5 Comments

PENARTH BIZWATCH: NEW BAR/RESTAURANT “ETC.” FOR STANWELL RD.

The "Sugo" restaurant is about to become the upmarket "Etc." bar/restaurant

The “Sugo” restaurant is about to become the upmarket “Etc.” bar/restaurant

A new “conceptual restaurant” and cocktail bar – to be called “Etc.” (etcetera) is to be launched in Stanwell Road, Penarth at the premises near the railway bridge formerly known as the Sugo restaurant.

Local businessman and interior designer Alex Mules is the man behind the new venture . He’s currently refurbishing the premises in what’s described as a “sleek modern style” with a view to a launch in March.

Mr Mules is working with award-winning consultant chef Stephen Gomes on the development of the “upmarket fine-dining” which will be offered to customers at the new restaurant.  Mr Gomes is the winner of the Ethnic Chef 2015 Guild of Chefs Award and is  said to be  amongst the first chefs to experiment with natural food science in his dishes and is a passionate advocate of “molecular gastronomy”.

One of the signature "smoke-infused cocktails" which will be available to customers at "Etc."

One of the signature “smoke-infused cocktails” which will be available to customers at “Etc.”

The bar will serve  “signature smoke-infused cocktails”, and is being designed to be “chic” and “somewhere to enjoy a special celebration or after-work drinks.”

Mr Mules says “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed designing the restaurant and bar areas – but now I can’t wait for us to open.”.  “I’m thrilled to be opening this exciting new venture in my home town of Penarth. And collaborating with Chef Stephen for our menu is a dream come true. His imagination and skills can be seen throughout our carefully thought out menus, which focus on stunningly prepared, innovative dishes that will visually delight and give our customers a wonderful dining experience. As well as our restaurant menu Chef Stephen has also come up with a creative menu of smaller plates and dishes for sharing, to be enjoyed whilst sipping Champagne, a cocktail or a favourite glass of wine.”

Master Chef Stephen Gomes commented “I’m delighted to be working with Alex in this exciting venture. We have the ideal fusion of flavours, and the combination of Etc.’s great, fun food, and exciting new drinks, will undoubtedly be magical.”

Posted in Penarth Daily News | 8 Comments

17-year-old ARRESTED AFTER SPATE OF PENARTH CAR CRIME

Officers investigating a spate of car crime in Penarth have arrested a 17 year old .

Officers investigating a spate of car crime in Penarth have arrested a 17 year old .

South Wales Police –  investigating a spate of thefts from cars and vans across Penarth and Dinas Powys – have arrested a 17-year-old male. 

As previously reported by PDN there has been a series of break-ins to vehicles which began on Saturday January  30th and continued over the weekend through until February 2nd  – with as many as 11 vehicles being targeted in a single day .

Cliff St Penarth looking uphill from Queen's Road.

Cliff St and Queen’s road were amongst the Penarth streets where cars were targeted.

Break-ins were reported in Queens Road, Cliff Street, John Street and Bramble Rise in Penarth.  There were also break-ins at St David’s Avenue and Harlech Drive in Dinas Powys. Thousands of pounds worth of tools and personal items such as satellite navigation equipment and CDs  were  stolen.

Sgt. Wayne Lock  is  in charge of policing Penarth

Sgt. Wayne Lock is in charge of policing Penarth

Sergeant Wayne Lock who is in charge of policing in Penarth had reported to Penarth Town Council on Wednesday this week that they had hoped to make an arrest on shortly  and had visited the address of a suspect – only to find that the person they wanted to question was out .

An arrest was actually carried out later and the suspect has now been released on ;police bail until later this month.

Meanwhile police are e urging owners of cars and vans in Penarth to  be vigilant, to investigate suspicious noises or behaviour, to park in  secure, private places such as driveways or garages and in well-lit areas. Drivers are also advised to try to prevent easy access to doors of vehicles, by parking close to walls and , where possible – to take valuable  indoors overnight or when vehicles are unattended for long periods of time.

Inspector Rob Miles, said: “We have made an arrest and enquiries are ongoing in respect of that. We have increased night-time patrols in these areas and urge people to safeguard their property as best they can ,.Securing your vehicle and taking simple measures can drastically minimise the chance of your vehicle being targeted.”

Anyone who has information about any of the incidents is urged to contact South Wales Police via 101 or they can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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ALUN MICHAEL’S 4% POLICE PRECEPT HIKE IS APPROVED

£484.99 is what highest-banded households in  Penarth will have to pay for policing this year

£484.99 is what highest-banded households in Penarth will have to pay for policing this year

Many householders in Penarth,  facing yet another inflation-busting hike in South Wales Police Precept charges, will find themselves forking-out well over £400 on top of their Council Tax this year.

Alun Michael Labour's South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner

Alun Michael Labour’s South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner

The so-called ‘South Wales Police and Crime Panel‘ has this week agreed to Labour Police an Crime Commissioner Alun Michael’s fourth successive request to increase his 2016/17 Police Precept Charges on local householders –  this time by 4% .

This is a rise which is – yet again –  way above the rate of inflation but the lowest imposed since Alun Michael was first elected in 2012 ; he stands for re-election in May.

Nominally  local authorities and the South Wales Police quote the precept-increase which is applicable to a wholly-unrepresentative  Band “D” property  – a strategy which creates the illusory impression of a relatively low increase. (A Band “D”  increase of “16p a week” is being quoted by South Wales Police).

In fact most people in Penarth don’t live in Band D properties  – and the charge they actually face will be considerably higher than the figures being publicly bandied-about.  The actual charges appear in the table below – taken from South Wales Police and Crime Panel documents :-

What the new police precept charge means for you - according to your council tax band.

What the new police precept charge means for you – according to your council tax band.

The highest police charges will be faced by those living in Penarth properties in a Band I category who will be charged £484.99 on top of their Council Tax for their police services over the next 12 months. The next highest will be those living in Band H properties who face a bill of £415.70 .

The total annual South Wales Police Precept  now being charged to Vale Council Tax Payers alone is £11,754,008. The entire impost for the whole of the South Wales Police area for 2016/17 will be £99,278,585.

Alun Michael claims his force has had to make what he calls “tough decisions”  – blaming,  funding cuts from the Home Office. What has not been publicly trumpeted however is the revelation that Alun Michael is now planning to increase the number of police officers  – currently at 2,800.

The documents reveal there are plans to increase the number of police officers to 3000 - despite crime being at "a 30 year low"

The documents reveal there are plans to increase the number of police officers to 3000 – despite crime being at “a 30 year low”

An internal report laid before the South Wales Police and Crime Panel this week said “The Commissioner and the Chief Constable wish to move closer to 3,000 police officers (to help meet the new and escalating operational threats).” Exactly what these “escalating threats” actually are is not explained.  Elsewhere in the same report it’s claimed that crime is at a 30-year low .

The South Wales Police and Crime Panel report also states “ Whilst the ongoing national economic climate has a significant bearing on the acceptability in level of police precept to be levied on local taxpayers it is also recognised that in times of economic decline the requirements for an efficient and effective police service rise considerably”. No evidence is produced in the report to substantiate this claim.

The unelected members of the South Wales and Crime Panel who rubber-stamped the latest increase in the South Wales Police Precept are:-

  • Bridgend County Borough Council = Cllr Martyn Jones (Labour)
  • Cardiff Council = Cllr Kathryn Lloyd (Liberal Dem ) and Cllr Daniel De’Ath (Labour)
  • Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council = Cllr Ernie Galsworthy (Labour)
  • Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council =  Cllr Peter Rees (Labour)
  • Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council= Cllr Shelley Rees-Owen (Plaid) and Cllr Robert Smith (Labour)
  • Swansea Council =  Cllr Paulette Smith (Labour) and Cllr Gareth Sullivan (Independent)
  • Vale of Glamorgan Council =  Cllr Anne Moore (Labour)

The two co-opted members are:

  • Mr Martyn Jones (a different person from Cllr Martyn Jones – listed above)
  • Mr Mel Jehu

 

 

Posted in Penarth Daily News | 8 Comments

WELSH LANGUAGE SOCIETY ACCUSES PENARTH COUNCIL OF “CONTEMPT”

The Penarth Town Council flag bears the Welsh Language motto " Cynghori er Llesiant" (Counselling for the common good)

The Penarth Town Council flag bears the Welsh Language motto “ Cynghori er Llesiant” (Counselling for the Common Good)

Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg  – the Welsh Language Society –   has accused Penarth Town Council of  what it calls “contempt” towards the Welsh Language following the council’s decision this week to use English rather than Welsh for new street-names in the town.

The Society asserts that none of the council’s officers can speak Welsh, not a single one of the councillors speaks Welsh and claims that the council’s official website doesn’t have a single word of Welsh in it apart from “Penarth” . [See PDN Note at end of item*]

An extract from the "job-pack" issued to candidates applying to succeed Shan Bowden as Town Clerk this year.

An extract from the “job-pack” which was issued to candidates applying to succeed Shan Bowden as Town Clerk of Penarth this year.

Cymdeithas yr Iaith also criticises the published job-description drawn up prior to the appointment of the new Town Clerk which specified that the “ability to speak or
understand Welsh” was a “desirable” attribute for candidates – rather than being an essential one. The society claims the council is not treating Welsh and English equally – as it is obliged to do by statute.

The new David Wilson Homes site is djacent to St Joseph's School on Sully Road, Penarth

The new David Wilson Homes site is adjacent to St Joseph’s School on Sully Road, Penarth

The decision to adopt English-language names [suggested by pupils at St Joseph’s School] for streets on an adjacent new housing estate on Sully Road is  – the Society claims – contrary to Vale of Glamorgan Council policy.

Cymdeithas yr Iaith has now written to the Vale of Glamorgan Council and to the Welsh Language Commissioner.

Cllr Philip Rapier (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Philip Rapier (Labour St Augustines)

Meanwhile there is an accolade for at least one Penarth councillor.

In its latest press release the Welsh Language Society offers its thanks to Cllr  Philip Rapier (Labour St Augustines) who –  the Society says – is “probably the only councillor who has any thought about the value of the Welsh Language”.

* [ PDN Note: In fact the Council website does now contain pdf files of council agendas translated into Welsh. The council’s external publicity material is published bilingually.   The council’s official Welsh Language Policy document appears on http://www.penarthtowncouncil.gov.uk/Core/Penarth-Town-Council/UserFiles/Files/PTC%20Welsh%20Language%20Scheme.pdf  but only in English.]

Posted in Penarth Daily News | 16 Comments

HOW POLICE TRACKED-DOWN THE 16-YEAR-OLD COGAN COCAINE RAIL-RUNNER

The 16 year old Cogan "rail-runner" ran from Copgan into the arms of the police at Dinas Powys's Eastbrook Station

The 16 year old Cogan “rail-runner” ran from Cogan into the arms of the police at Dinas Powys’s Eastbrook Station

A 16-year-old Cogan drug dealer is amongst a total of eight people locked up after being caught in possession of illegal drugs destined for the streets of the Vale of Glamorgan .

Thousands of pounds worth of class A and B drugs including cocaine, heroin and MDMA have been seized as a result of police operations which have included early morning raids, spontaneous stop-checks, pre-planned hard stops on motorways and foot chases.

It’s now emerged that on January 13, a 16 year-old male was sent to a young offenders’ institute for 32 months, after he was caught in possession of a kilogramme of cocaine. Officers discovered the drugs at a house in Cardiff which they searched after his arrest .

Police now say that on August 5 last year  the teenager had jumped out of a vehicle which failed to stop for police in Cowslip Drive, Cogan.

He then ran down  the railway tracks towards Dinas Powys in a bid to elude the police. However officers headed him off at Eastbook Railway Station and arrested him  .

Police Superintendent Gary Osborne, operational policing commander across the region, hopes recent success will encourage people with information about drug dealing to come forward. He says  “This year has started very positively – we’ve successfully prosecuted a number of people and it sends out a strong message that we won’t tolerate drug dealing. It shows that we take action on the information we get. We will arrest those who live in, and travel to, or through, this region in order to ply their evil trade and put them before the courts.”

Police say anyone who does have any information about drug dealing in their community should contact South Wales Police via 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Posted in Penarth Daily News | 5 Comments

THREE TUGS AID DISABLED CARGO SHIP OFF PENARTH

Here comes the cavalry. The tugs Trueman and Tradesman race to the aid of the bulk-carrier Assvik off Penarth this afternoon

Here comes the cavalry. The tugs Trueman and Tradesman race to the aid of the stricken  bulk-carrier Assvik off Penarth this afternoon

Three tugs were involved in a major operation this afternoon to bring a disabled cargo ship lying off Penarth into Cardiff Docks.

The ship the bulk cargo-carrier AASVIK  had radioed Milford Haven Coastguard for assistance when she lost power some six miles off Caldy Island, Pembrokeshire.

PDN correspondent “PENARTH SHIPSPOTTER”  reported  (see comments section below) that “Aasvik”  had run into engine or steering problems off Tenby and called for help .

Aasvik being towed into Cardiff by the tug Trueman - with Tradesman hidden out of sight attached to her stern..

Aasvik being towed into Cardiff by the tug Trueman (reversing ahead of her) – with  the second tug Tradesman hidden out of sight attached to her stern.. The two black cones hoisted in a diamond shape indicate that she is under tow .

HM Coastguard at Milford Haven was notified and maintained a monitoring watch on the situation .

The ocean going tug Bremen Fighter was on standby.

The ocean going tug Bremen Fighter was on standby.

The big ocean-going fire-fighting tug Bremen Fighter was sent to her aid and towed her from her position off the Pembrokeshire coast  to Penarth where she dropped anchor offshore to wait for harbour tugs to bring her into Cardiff for repairs at high tide.

The disabled ship Assvik passing Pwenarth Head under tow today

The disabled ship Aasvik passing Penarth Head under tow today

Later today a spokesperson for Associated British Ports said the ship’s problems were purely “weather related” and said there had been no problem with her cargo – but did not refer to the distress signal apparently transmitted by the vessel  .

Aasvik ,which was originally bound for Port Talbot, and ss registered in Gibraltar was finally brought safely into Cardiff Docks at 14:00 this afternoon by the tugs Trueman and Tradesman.

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