Vaughan Gething – pictured here at St Augustine’s Church – is the Labour AM for Cardiff South and Penarth. He now has the backing of one AM should he decide to stand for the leadership of the Welsh Labour Party

The Labour AM for Cardiff South and Penarth – beleaguered Health Minister Vaughan Gething – has received the backing of at least one Labour AM to succeed Carwyn Jones as First Minister and party leader.

Hefin David Labour AM for Caerphilly

Hefin David Labour AM for Caerphilly

Gething (44) has yet to publicly declare whether or not he will stand for election  but he has won the support one AM – Caerphilly Labour Assembly Member Hefin David.

Hefin David is the only Assembly Member to date to come out in support of the ex-trade-union solicitor Gething as potential Labour Leader.

Welsh Labour Government minister Gething has been widely criticised for his running of the NHS in Wales but is largely unknown to most people. An ITV Wales Opinion poll at the weekend found 66% of those questioned had no view on him.

Welsh Labour Government Finance Minister Mark Drakeford is a former probation officer and was a professor of Social Policy in Cardiff University

So far only  one Assembly Member – the little known left-winger and Jeremy Corbyn supporter Mark Drakeford – has positively declared his intention to stand. In an ITV Wales opinion poll 70% of those questioned had never heard of him.

The colourless Drakeford (63)  now describes himself  – to  the amusement of other parties – as being “Centre-Left”. He is currently minister of finance in the Welsh Labour Government. He has also been an unsuccessful minister of health. As a former local government minister, he reversed the Welsh Labour Government’s stop-start plans to merge the 22 local authorities in Wales into just 8. Those plans are now back under consideration – by the Welsh Labour Government.

Drakeford is being supported by a clutch of other left-wing Labour AMs including Jane Hutt,  Mike Hedges,  Mick Antoniw, Julie Morgan, Julie James, John Griffiths, Rhiannon Passmore and Jenny Rathbone.

Baroness Eluned Morgan is thought to considering whether or not to put her name forward

A third candidate thought to be considering entering the race to succeed Carwyn Jones is Baroness Eluned Morgan (51) – who is AM for Mid and West Wales . 70% of the population of Wales in the ITV poll had never heard of her or have “no view” on her.

Plaid Cymru AM Sian Gwenllian said of all the three candidates, Gething, Drakeford and Morgan “They all seem pretty mediocre. They all seem pretty unambitious for Wales” . She said what was needed was a complete change of government.




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The Esplanade Hotel – once the headquarters of the nomadic rugby team the Barbarians –  back in the days when Penarth Rugby Club took on the greats.(Photo Ben Salter)

Penarth Rugby Club –  which once upon a time proudly clashed shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the biggest names and most famous players in Wales – has been relegated to the lowly “Division 3 East Central” from the start of next season.

The days when the Penarth Club once boasted fixtures with the fabled Barbarians, Llanelli, Newport and Swansea  are now long gone.

Flashback to 1963 – the heady days when Penarth played their annual Easter fixture with the Barbarians

Penarth only managed to clinch 11th – and next to last – place in the National League fixture list this season.

Admittedly eight of this season’s games were only lost by 3 points or less – but they were still losses – not wins – and it’s the winning that counts. And the last match of the season hardly ended on a high note with Penarth RFC scoring Nil and Cambrian Welfare 73.

Penarth RFC Mike Gooding is confident the team can recapture their former glory (Photo Penarth RFC)

Club chairman Mike Gooding has told Media Wales “We’ve been the architects of our own downfall and we haven’t made the most of opportunities we had to pick up points earlier in the season and then we lost a lot of players to injury.” .

But Mr Gooding is looking on the bright side and is confident the “Seasiders” will fight their way back and recapture their former glory – in the not too distant future.  “Relegation” he says will give us the kick up the backside


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Cogan Station’s Grade II listed Victorian pedestrian footbridge is to be restored and refurbished by Network Rail – but nothing is to be done to improve disabled access. Penarth Council’s planning committee was told that for wheelchair users – getting to the opposite platform is a nightmare

Penarth Town Council’s planning committee – considering Network Rail’s plans to refurbish the historic Victorian footbridge bridge over the Cardiff/Barry line at Cogan station –  is recommending that disabled access to the station should be improved .

The refurbishment plans were first reported by PDN last month (see ) and would involve repair and refurbishment of the existing pedestrian bridge which links the two platforms.

Cllr Jon Luxton (Labour Stanwell)

It came up at the  end of a long session – a point in the proceedings when  the committee members were looking forward to getting home and putting their feet up.

All that was necessary was for the committee to rubber-stamp a routine recommendation for a Network Rail scheme to restore the Victorian footbridge linking the two platforms at Cogan Station….But it was then that Deputy Mayor of Penarth, Cllr Jon Luxton, – who is a wheelchair user – threw a spanner in the works .

Cllr Luxton noted that there was nothing in the planning application or the restoration plans to make the historic Grade II listed bridge accessible for people with wheelchairs. “Are they just going to leave the steps there?” he asked .  “We ought to be fixing it “ – he said .

Cllr Nigel Humphrey (Labour St Augustines)

The chairman Cllr Nigel Humphrey asked Cllr Luxton “What would you see them [i.e. Network Rail] do then? ”

Cllr Luxton retorted “Put ramps over it!”.

Cllr Humphrey patiently explained to Cllr Luxton ” Planning is not retrospective. This is an existing bridge.” 

However Cllr Luxton was not in the least phased by Cllr Humphrey’s comment. He doggedly re-iterated that Network Rail should be fixing the bridge and making “a proper job of it” .Cllr Luxton said  “It’s crazy. That station is the bind of some people’s lives  – to get to the other side “.

The Town Clerk rallied to Cllr Humphrey’s corner and said she imagined there would already be a set budget in place for this particular project.

Cllr Luxton wasn’t swallowing that. “It’s an accessibility issue” – he said –  “It’s the Equality Act that I’m concerned with” [ i.e. the legislation which requires access for disabled people to public buildings and facilities ]  . If they [Network Rail] are making changes, they should make it accessible. Cllr Luxton said he was not saying it was a “winnable case –  but surely it’s an ethical case“.

Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines)

Deputy planning chairman Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines) came up with an alternative course of action – which sounded suspiciously like filing Cllr Luxton’s proposals in a drawer marked “long grass”.

Cllr Cuddy said that in a recent “City Deal” paper to the council there was a call for a “wish list”  of improvements . He said it would be interesting to see if disabled access was actually in the list for potential future works at Cogan Station. Many, many, stations he said were in the same position [on disabled access] as Cogan.

However Cllr Luxton already had the figures at his fingertips. He said “20% of stations are inaccessible” [to disabled people] he said  – noting that “the Disability Discrimination Act was passed in 1995 and yet we have hardly improved since then”.

In 2015 a wheelchair user was injured when he and his wife attempted take the tortuous route  to reach the opposite platform at Cogan Station .

The Town Clerk proposed that the planning committee should state in its formal observation to the Vale of Glamorgan Council on the Cogan Station footbridge refurbishment that “We would like to see full accessibility looked at”.

Cllr Luxton wasn’t satisfied with that. He demanded the council go further. He said Network Rail should be asked for their plan and “the budget associated with it” . Warming to his point Cllr Luxton said that-  paradoxically – the current legislation required that railway ticket offices had to be accessible to disabled people –  but actual trains did not.

Cllr Humphrey – in the chair – ruled that there was no legitimate planning reason to object to Network Rail’s proposals. He proposed that the committee should say it had no objection to the proposed works on the rail footbridge –  but it could add that ‘disabled access is inadequate’ and that there should be “proposals to address that”.  With some members looking at the clock, the planning committee so agreed.

PDN Note: The well-publicised case of a disabled wheelchair user who was injured when his wife attempted to take him the “long way around” to reach the opposite platform at Cogan was reported by PDN  in March 2015 on




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The Crepe Escape in Glebe St Penarth has been awarded the title “Dessert Outlet of the Year” in the annual Welsh Food Awards

Alison Jones – owner of Glebe Street’s “The Crepe Escape”

Penarth’s well-known Glebe Street crêperie, “The Crêpe Escape“, has –  for the first time – won an award at annual Welsh Food Awards. 

In last night’s awards ceremony The Crepe Escape – which was founded, and is run by, Alison Jones –  won the coveted title “Dessert Outlet of the Year”.

She said “Wow! I am still in shock! We won a Welsh Food Award!!! So proud of my amazing hard working team.”

“Thanks to my wonderful family and friends and most of all our customers, without you we wouldn’t exist! Thank you.”

No stranger to picking up awards, James Sommerin of Restaurant JS on Penarth Esplanade collected two last night – one for “Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year” and the other for “Chef of the Year”.

The title of “Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year” went to Restaurant James Sommerin – which is based on Penarth Esplanade.

Mr Sommerin himself also received the award for “Chef of the Year” .


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Mr Trevor Brown – who is taking over as headteacher at Stanwell School in September this year

A new headteacher has been appointed for Stanwell Secondary School in Penarth.

He’s Mr Trevor Brown who is the former head of the highly-regarded St Joseph’s Roman Catholic High School in Newport.

In March this year St Joseph’s High School  was named by the Welsh Schools inspectorate Estyn as an example of “good practice” in the way it fosters the talents of able and talented pupils.

Mr Tony Rogers, the chairman of the governors of Stanwell School, has written to parents and carers of pupils to inform them of the appointment – which follows the recent retirement of the former headteacher at Stanwell,  Mr Derek Jones.

Paying tribute to the long-serving former head, Mr Rogers said that on behalf of the governors he would like to thank Mr Jones for his “commitment, energy and vision over the last 8 years”. Mr Rogers said Mr Jones had “contributed immensely to the development of the school and his innovative development of the school facilities, school resources and financial planning has ensured the school is in a secure position for students, parents and teaching staff. He has secured excellent results at both GCSE and A level and the school’s reputation has been enhanced across the local area”.

On Mr Brown’s appointment as Mr Jones’s  successor, Mr Rogers said “The Governors were unanimous in their decision to appoint Mr Brown from a very strong field of applicants and following a rigorous interview process.  “

Mr Rogers said Mr Brown has “a proven track record of securing school improvemnet and is excited at the prosect of leading such a successful and caring school . He is extremely well placed to continue our journey and has a clear mandate to lead us forward”.




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Vale of Glamorgan refuse collectors at work. The new scheme won’t make life easier for them.

The Vale of Glamorgan Council is to carry out 2 public consultations in Penarth next month on future plans for refuse collection and recycling.

As first reported by PDN on February 18th 2018 (see )  from September this year the council is going to be limiting the number of black bags which can be collected to just 2 bags – picked-up once per fortnight . (There will be exceptions for some residents).

Households will be allowed to leave no more than 2 black bags out for fortnightly collection

The council also wants to encourage householders to carry out further segregation of items for recycling and from April 2019  is proposing to introduce a so-called “source separated” recycling system. That means that paper, cardboard, plastic and metal, –  and glass – will each need to be placed in separate containers before being put out for collection.

These new arrangements are being introduced to help the council reach the new “statutory recycling target” of 64% which is being imposed on all local councils by the Welsh Labour Government . Local councils will be fined if they don’t attain the new recycling target figure.

The Vale Council’s public consultations on these arrangements will  be held in Penarth at the following venues and times:- 

  • Friday 04 May, 10:00 – 14:00 at Penarth Pier
  • Thursday 24 May, 10:00 – 14:00 in Penarth Town Centre 


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Police would like to get in touch with this “bring your own bag” customer –  captured on camera in the Penarth Co-op store on March 31st.

Penarth Police have issued photographs of a man who they believe may be able to assist them in enquiries being made into a theft at the Co-op Food Store in Windsor Road Penarth on March 31st.

Police say they would like to speak to this Co-op ‘customer’. The photo shows he is wearing an ensemble consisting of a woolly hat, a zip jacket with horizontal stripes on the front, and has considerately brought his own distinctive large red plastic shopping bag into the store with him – presumably to help save the planet.

Anyone who recognises this individual or who may be able to assist officers in this investigation is asked to call them on 101 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 55111 and quote reference 1800111584.

Alternatively there’s an open invitation for the gentleman in the picture – should he see this news item – to contact the police himself by calling 101.

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