A controversial planning application to redevelop the site of the classic Victorian mansion “Gardenhurst” – at the junction of Park Road and Holmesdale Place – has been withdrawn by the developers, the EWM Property Company.
The scheme had originally been debated by Penarth Town Council’s planning committee whose members had carried out a “site visit” in November last year to inspect the mansion and its grounds which are almost entirely masked by trees and bushes.
When the application was then considered in committee on November 26th 2015 , a number of local residents attended the meeting and spoke against the plans. (Full report on PDN http://tinyurl.com/jpmr5t6)
The house is said to have been given as a gift to the people of Penarth by its owners – the Pegler grocery dynasty – to ensure that the “elderly people in Penarth would be cared for”. In a series of local government re-organisations, the 30-room mansion subsequently became the property of the Vale of Glamorgan Council which operated it as an adult day-centre. Rising maintenance costs forced its sale and it was bought by multi-millionaire Philip Day’s EWM Property Company for £1,225,000.
The EWM planning application proposed a “change of use” for the mansion itself under which it would be developed into five apartments- a part of the scheme to which there were no objections.
The contentious element of the application was a proposal to also build four “town houses” in the large rear car park of “Gardenhurst” . It was the design and density of these associated modernistic “town-houses” which provoked criticism and had sparked a series of letters from members of the public to both Penarth Council and the Vale of Glamorgan Council.
Penarth Town Council voted in favour of a motion by Cllr Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward) to recommend refusal of the development .
However Cllr Ernest’s motion had been altered by an amendment moved by Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines) who asserted it would be “strategically bad ” to make a flat recommendation for refusal of the application as this would not “hold a lot of weight” when it came up for consideration before the Vale of Glamorgan Planning Committee (of which Cllr Roberts is also a member).
The final motion read that Penarth Town Council “Welcomes the redevelopment of Gardenhurst and the preservation of this important building. We recognise that there may be scope for the development of the rear car park area. However the proposals for houses as they are grossly insensitive to the Conservation Area and therefore should be rejected.”
As with all planning applications in Penarth, the final decision was to rest with the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s planning committee. However now – prior to any ultimate decision being made by the Vale Planning Committee – the developers have withdrawn the application.