PENARTH TOWN COUNCIL’S TAXATION IDEAS ARE CONSIDERED BY WELSH GOVERNMENT

The 5-star Holm House Hotel on Marine Parade is one of the local hotels which could be affected by the proposed new Welsh Labour Government “Tourist Tax”. Meanwhile the Labour-controlled Penarth Town Council has been patting itself on the back for thinking up new taxes which the Welsh Labour Government could impose

Two ideas for increasing taxation –  which have been thought-up by members of the Labour-controlled Penarth Town Council – have been listed for fuller consideration by the Welsh Labour Government.

The Welsh Labour Government is already  due to introduce a Land Transaction Tax and Landfill Disposals Tax in April 2018 which will replace the current stamp duty land tax and landfill tax . In April 2019 the Welsh Labour Government will introduce Welsh Rates of Income Tax [called WRIT for short] which will be 10p in the £1 in each band of Income Tax .

Burning the midnight oil: In the chamber of Penarth Town Council members have been coming up with ideas for new taxes which could be levied by the Welsh Labour Government

The Welsh Labour Government “Tax Policy Framework”

However the Welsh Labour Government is also looking for ideas for new taxes for the population of Wales and has compiled a shortlist of 4 new taxation ideas  – 2 of which have come from the submissions made by Penarth Town Council.

The four shortlisted ideas are :-

  • A Levy to support Social Care
  • A Land Tax (submitted by Penarth Council)
  • A Disposable Plastics Tax  (submitted by Penarth Council)
  • A Tourism Tax

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

The Leader of Penarth Town Council Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines) reminded the council’s policy committee that a bit of work had been done on this matter previously when the council had been asked for ideas.  Cllr Cuddy said that Cllr Kathryn McCaffer had provided one idea, Cllr Nigel Humphrey (Labour St Augustine’s)  another idea and Cllr Cuddy himself said he had come up with 2 ideas .

Cllr Cuddy said that of the 4 new taxation  ideas submitted to the Welsh Government by Penarth Town Council  “Two of them have got into the list and that’s really good!” It showed – he said – that “we at least have our finger on the pulse”.

  One of the Penarth Council ideas is for a “Vacant Land Tax” and the other one was on “Plastics”.

Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell)

Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell) raised the issue of one of the proposed new Welsh Labour Government taxes NOT suggested by Penarth Town Council – a “Tourism Tax”.

Cllr Wilson said he envisaged that the proceeds of the proposed Tourism Tax would be spent in the area from which the tax was raised. He said We’ve got hotels in Penarth and nice restaurants and whatever – and if there is going to be a Tourism Tax on those establishments, then the money needs to be spent in Penarth

Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

He stressed that, as a principle, the tax revenue money should be spent in the area in which it was collected.

Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward) said “I don’t know what the tourist organisations think about a tax”.

Cllr Cuddy invited contributions from all Penarth councillors who he suggested should send them to him by email.

Cllr Wilson said that he would submit his comments on the proposed Tourist Tax .

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines) Leader of Penarth Town Council and deputy chair of planning

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WAVE-WATCHERS WELCOME “STORM BRIAN” ON PENARTH ESPLANADE

One of the many local families who turned out to watch the fun as fountains of spray soared up from the sea wall and crashed down onto the Esplanade this morning

A big tide,  a Yellow wind warning and an onshore South Easterly swell , brought families and photographers out onto Penarth Esplanade this morning.

High water was just after 08:00 as dozens of keen photographers waited patiently for the largest waves  to smash into the sea wall and deluge the promenade with spray.

Penarth’s incoming waves posing obligingly for the cameras this morning

A memorable morning on Penarth Esplanade – and photo for the family album

Look out! It’s behind you! : Sometimes even experienced photographers get taken by surprise

Even iPads were pressed into service to capture those elusive waves – and afterwards the Crazy Cafe proved to be a popular venue for wet photographers to warm up with a cuppa

The new Crazy Cafe with its early opening hours was doing a roaring trade as drenched spectators called-in to dry off and warm up with a hot cup of coffee.

Fortunately the waves weren’t quite powerful enough this morning to fling rocks onto the road and no one was injured by any incoming ordnance from Neptune.

Storm Brian is likely to make it a wet windy and bracing weekend in Penarth so there’ll be plenty more for weather watchers to look out for.

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BIZWATCH: SNOWCAT TO SHOW MOVIES IN MOTHBALLED PIER PAVILION CINEMA

Snowcat Cinema is organising two film shows at Penarth Pier Pavilion’s mothballed digital cinema

The Cardiff-based independent cinema group Snowcat Cinema is to show two John Carpenter movies in the hitherto mothballed digital cinema at Penarth Pier Pavilion.

The three-year-old £1,000,000 Penarth Pier Pavilion Cinema was closed in March this year when Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd – who lease the Pavilion from the Vale of Glamorgan Council  – announced a series of cut-backs owing to financial problems.

The almost new £1,000,000 digital cinema in Penarth Pier Pavilion has been empty and disused for 8 months but it is to open its doors for two nights starting on October 30th for  two “pop-up” Snowcat Cinema presentations.

At one stage it had been hoped to re-open the Pavilion Cinema in September – but cinemagoers were disappointed that no re-opening was announced that month.

Now the Cardiff “pop-up” cinema group “Snowcat Cinema”  has announced that it will be showing two movies at the Pavilion Cinema on two successive nights – October 30th and 31st in conjunction with Halloween. The films are “The Fog” (Oct 30th) and “The Thing”(Oct 31st)

The Snowcat Cinema logo

Snowcat say “We’re really excited to be able to present these films to you in a beautiful, purpose-built cinema with comfortable seats and a massive screen”.

Snowcat is a well established mobile cinema company which says it screens “all kinds of films – from mainstream blockbusters to cult classics, lesser known, and lost movies.”. The organisation says it  “works with venues to put on  events that range from simple screenings to immersive event-cinema”.

The two Snowcat movie presentations at the end of this month have not yet been announced by Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd and there is no information about the movies on the Pavilion’s website.

It also hasn’t yet been  announced whether Snowcat will be using the Pier Pavilion Cinema again for further showings during the autumn and winter.

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NETWORK RAIL IS URGED TO BRIGHTEN-UP PENARTH TOWN STATION

“You are arriving in Penarth – the ‘Garden by the Sea’… Sorry about the station garden”.

Network Rail is being urged to take action to brighten-up the look of Penarth Town Station – the terminus for rail travellers to Penarth.

Back in 2012 the local environmental group Gwyrddio Penarth Greening (GPG) negotiated with Network Rail to install two planters – built from railway sleepers  – on the platform and stocked them with wild flowers  –  but since then little has been done to maintain the flowerbeds or improve the stark utilitarian appearance of the station.

The two GPG planters don’t do much to enhance the look of the Penarth Town Station

Penarth Tourism & Visitor Association (PTVA) has now asked the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s tourism officer to make separate approaches to Network Rail and the German-owned rail company Arriva Trains [whose franchise is currently under review]  “to see whether they could greatly improve the environment of Penarth Town Station”.

The PTVA says it believes  GPG Penarth currently holds the remit for planting and gardening at the station  but says “there is little evidence of any work being undertaken in recent times by them –  or by the rail companies.”

The platform planters show signs of some recent pruning – but that’s about all

GPG had also said at that it planned to “sow wildflowers on the bank to the left of the station” entrance”  and create a “community garden” – but nothing appears to have come of these initiatives.

The original Victorian Penarth Town Station building as it was before demolition by British Rail in 1984 . The station was built for the Cardiff, Penarth and Barry Junction Railway in 1878. (Photo Ben Salter)

The original 1878 Victorian Penarth Town Station was demolished by British Rail in 1984 although it is far from clear how the demolition came to be approved  – as the Penarth Conservation Area had already been established (in 1971) by the former Glamorgan County Council in recognition of the special architectural and historic interest of the town.

The station – one of the key Victorian buildings in the town – should have been protected from demolition – but wasn’t.

A brighter station – says the PTVA – would improve Penarth and would enhance visitor appeal . The organisation is pressing for work to be undertaken “at the earliest opportunity”.

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PUBLIC MEETING TO BE HELD ON PROPOSED REDEVELOPMENT OF ST PAUL’S CHURCH

The Ex Servicemen’s Club at Windsor Road Penarth is to be the venue for a public meeting on the proposed plans for the development of St Paul’s Church in Arcot St

Members of the public are being invited to an open meeting at Penarth Ex-Servicemen’s Club to discuss the controversial proposed re-development of the former St Paul’s Church in Arcot St, Penarth.

The forthcoming public meeting is scheduled for October 25th at the Ex Servicemen’s Club in Windsor Road. and follows the pre-application consultation which was held by the Newydd Housing Association at the Paget Rooms in Penarth on September 20th 2017

The rear of St Paul’sChurch is to be demolished and 15 social housing apartments built there. The front of the building will have a “community space”

Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines) left the meeting

When the forthcoming public meeting on the former St Paul’s Church was discussed in this week’s meeting of Penarth Town Council’s planning committee,  Cllr Mike Cuddy (Vice chairman of the committee) declared an interest and left the room because he is a share member of the housing association Newydd  which is behind the scheme .

Cllr Nigel Humphrey (Labour St Augustines)

The chairman of the planning committee Cllr Nigel Humphrey said  it had taken a long time for  viable scheme to be proposed for St Paul’s.

He said “I’m keen to see this progress and would like to see an exemplar theme” . Local people – he asserted – had said not that they didn’t want it – but wished to see a good proposal and had some  criticism of the plans which had been presented .

He hoped the meeting on October 25 th would result in what he called “constructive criticism”.

[ PDN Note: In fact when local people were consulted about the future of St Paul’s in a Vale of Glamorgan Council consultation they had overwhelmingly voted for the Penarth Amateur Boxing Club and Penarth Gym Club to retain their use of the building and they had emphatically voted against the building being put to what was then called “community use”]

Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward) said there had already been a number of comments made at the presentation held in the Paget Rooms [ The presentation was organised by the Housing Association  “Newydd”  which is the organisation proposing to build the hybrid housing and community space scheme}.

Cllr Humphrey said he thought it was “important to encourage people to be positive in their criticisms”.

However it then turned out that many of the councillors present at the planning committee meeting  – including Cllr Humphrey – already had a prior engagement for the evening of October 25th and would not be able to attend the public meeting at the Ex Servicemen’s Club.

Cllr Humphrey however said “it would be very good for us to know what everyone says at that meeting”.

 

 

 

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SOME PENARTH TOWN COUNCILLORS TO RECEIVE £500 “ANNUAL PAYMENT”

Five additional Penarth town councillors are now eligible to be paid £500 a year from the Penarth Town Council Precept –  money stumped-up by local council-tax payers

More members of Penarth Town Council are to be entitled to receive an annual payment from the council in respect of their work as councillors.

Currently the only elected members of Penarth Town Council in receipt of payment for their council duties are the Mayor Cllr Ken Lloyd (Conservative Cornerswell ) £1,500, the Deputy Mayor Cllr Jon Luxton (Labour Stanwell) £500 and the Leader of the Council Cllr Mike Cuddy £500 (Labour St Augustines) .

However now the Town Council’s Policy Innovation and Development Committee has formally adopted a recommendation from the so-called “Independent Review Panel”(IRP) – the body which sets the salaries of councillors and members of public bodies in Wales.

Penarth Town Council’s HQ at West House in Stanwell Road, Penarth

The Independent Review Panel has now recommended that an annual payment of £500 should be made to anything from 1 to 5 councillors who are considered to have “specific responsibilities” to the council.

Councillors who chair Penarth Town Council’s various  committees –  who would all now ostensibly become entitled to receive the new  £500 annual payment – are:-

  • Cllr Mike Cuddy – chairman of Policy, Development, and Innovation Committee, chairman of Democratic and Civic Services Committee. who is now entitled to receive the £500 per annum payment in addition to his payment as Leader of the Council.
  • Cllr Rhiannon Birch (Labour Cornerswell) who is chair of the Venues, Facilities and Events Committee
  • Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell) who is chairman of the Finance and HR Committee [NB Cllr Wilson  – like Cllr Birch – is also a salaried member of the Vale of Glamorgan Council and indicated in the debate that he would not accept the new payment – if it was offered to him] 
  • Cllr Nigel Humphrey (Labour St Augustines) who is chairman of the Planning Committee.

The money for the new payments will all come from the Penarth Town Precept  [ the additional charge levied by Penarth Town Council which  local residents have to pay through the  Vale of Glamorgan Council Tax].

The Penarth precept already stands at a record high level and has been increased by the Labour controlled Town Council every year by far more than the rate of inflation.

Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell)

Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell) said that it was “not really appropriate” for so-called “dual-hatted” members [ i.e. members of both Penarth Town Council and the Vale of Glamorgan Council] to accept the new £500 annual payment.  [Members of the Vale of Glamorgan Council are already paid salaries ]. Cllr Wilson said that it would be up to each councillor eligible for the payment to decide whether or not to accept it. They could “opt out” if they wished to.

It was decided that Penarth Town Council’s Human Resources Committee would consider the matter and specify which councillors should be the 5 who would be offered the £500 per annum payments.

Cllr Wilson also noted that councillors might also now be available for a revived payment called “Financial Loss Compensation”.  He said |“I am a little bit concerned about that “. If people were genuinely were losing earnings because of attending council meetings, such claims were in order – but if they claimed for loss of earnings when they were NOT in fact losing earnings Cllr Wilson said “I have a little bit of an issue with that“.

The Town Clerk said that in such cases if they were not suffering actual financial loss they would therefore not qualify for a payment.

Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines) Leader of Penarth Town Council and deputy chair of planning

In the chair Cllr Mike Cuddy said that there would need to be a separate discussion on the implementation of the payments,  adding light-heartedly  “especially as we giving a rather good allowance to the Mayor already”.

Cllr Kathryn McCaffer (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Kathryn McCaffer (Conservative Plymouth Ward) said the new payments were being recommended because “they are trying to do whatever they can to encourage people to become local politicians”  . She said “Some of us here work and some of us don’t. If I choose not to go to work on a day, I lose pay because of that so I would take it up”[ i.e. the Financial Loss Compensation payment].

The Council’s HR Committee will meet to discuss the matter in the next few weeks – but its deliberations are not always open to the press or public.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ROOM LEFT FOR ONLY 25 TRADITIONAL BURIALS IN PENARTH CEMETERY

A grave being dug at Penarth Cemetery  – where there are now only 25 spaces left for full burials

Penarth Town councillors were told last night that there in only enough burial space left in the town cemetery for 25 more traditional “coffin burials” to be carried out there.

The few vacant Penarth Cemetery plots still available are expected to be filled – so to speak – within 6 months from now.

Penarth Cemetery. A “scatter lawn” for cremated remains may be developed adjacent to what is now the central pathway of the cemetery

It means the cemetery will then become a venue only for the interment, or for the scattering, of cremated ashes – bringing to an end the time-honoured tradition of the coffin-burial of bodies in sanctified ground in Penarth. There isn’t any more sanctified ground left.

The running of the local cemetery is one of the few real responsibilities which the Labour-controlled Penarth Town Council actually has. Councillors have received several successive warnings over the years about the looming crisis –  but have done little about it.

This year and last year there were complaints from local people about Penarth Town Council’s poor standards of maintenance at the cemetery

Last night councillors heard the latest report on the crisis from council officers which explained that the first burial in Penarth Cemetery took place in 1903 . Local residents had always been able to purchase the rights to burial plots within the cemetery for what are called “full coffin burials”  – but now only 25 full coffin spaces remain available .

The 25 remaining plots – councillors were told – could alternatively also be used for  the interment of cremated remains. As each plot of could accommodate 4 cremated interments there is space left – in theory –  for 100 of these.

It’s now being proposed that  – to extend the life of the cemetery –  cremated remains could be placed in a multi-compartmented  “columbarium” to be built in what is now the toilet block at the cemetery .( It’s proposed that new toilets be built in what was formerly the “mortuary viewing area”)  .

The cemetery chapel with its buttressed walls and mansard windows is one of Penarth’s unsung architectural treaures. On the right is the mortuary building

The old mortuary at the cemetery would also be re-developed as a similar columbarium facility

It’s proposed to renovate the 1904 Chapel at the cemetery as a “flexible community space” allowing it to be used for both traditional memorial services and other activities

The 1904 Chapel and mortuary at Penarth Cemetery is run by Penarth Town Council. The chapel – now just used to store machinery –  may now become a “community space” for public use. The mortuary (on the left) – currently public toilets – would have a columbarium installed in it for the interment of cremated remains

The council officers say the Chapel has been assessed as being structurally sound. It contains several historical features including a classic Victorian-style tiled floor and it is feared that the building will “degrade if remedial action is not taken”    .

Cllr Rhiannon Birch (Labour Cornerswell)

Cllr Rhiannon Birch (Labour Cornerswell) addressed the central question of the grave spaces. She understood there was legislation which provided for graves which were “no longer kept up” to be taken back into public ownerships that they could be “re-used” .

The council officer who compiled the report – Arabella Calder – said this only applied to London boroughs and the scheme had not been extended to the rest of the England. In any case Wales had not been considered as part of any extended burial plot re-use scheme. The Church of England was now taking a “much more relaxed stance” on this matter and was now allowing the re-use of plots.   However, as the Church in Wales is “disestablished“, Wales was not included.

Cllr Birch said surely Penarth Cemetery was secular?  However Ms Calder replied that it is  a multi-demoninational cemetery and is “sanctified ground”.

The Town Clerk said she did not want the council to find itself – as she put it –   “in a situation where it had to close the gates of the cemetery before decisions were made. ” 

Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell)

Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell) said he was in favour of accepting the recommendations made in the report.   He said “Architecturally the chapel looks great in some ways  and it is a very under-utilised asset . I am also very much aware that in this area of Glamorgan it’s becoming very competitive in terms of burial grounds and burial places “. Cllr Wilson said the council needed to “up its game”. He suggested that the council should “talk to other landowners about possible areas  of consecrated ground”.

The Town Clerk replied that the council had already investigated  land-with Welsh Government about land which was available in the Penarth area – but that had been a “no-go”. The council had also looked at Vale of Glamorgan land “but that wasn’t an avenue we could go down”. Officers had therefore recommended that the best option was for the council to develop the asset which it already had [Penarth Cemetery]. This, she said,  would be “far cheaper than any redevelopment of part of the Golf Club land”  [ The Glamorganshire Golf Club is adjacent to Penarth Cemetery]

Cllr Ben Gray (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

In answer to a question from Cllr Ben Gray (Conservative Plymouth Ward) the council officer who wrote the report- Arabella Calder –  said that about another 100 spaces had been identigfied within the grounds of the cemetery for the interment of cremated remains. This would provide capacity for “another 12 months – 2 years tops”. After that there was no other option but “scatter lawns” and “Columbaria ” – as proposed in the council report.

The Town Clerk commented that Chapel was currently in good enough condition to be renovated but she could not “guarantee that forever”  .

Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward) – harking back to Cllr Wilson’s remarks about finding more land for burials said “It could be a toss up between Cemeteries and Leisure Gardens of course”.

Cllr Turner said that deciding which was the best thing would be “a difficult question to answer”  [ “Leisure Gardens” is a council euphemism for council allotments rented to gardeners for growing crops]

The Town Clerk warned that if  “a second cemetery” was developed at a different location that would raise a “resource issue”.

  •  The Council will now undertake a tendering process to appoint architects to develop a design brief for the renovation of the cemetery chapel.
  • There will now also be a public consultation on the future operation of the Chapel and of the cemetery.

 

 

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