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 )

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”.

Last month it was revealed that the Vale of Glamorgan Council had backed-down and conceded there would now be a “public consultation” on the controversial scheme (see PDN

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  1. M davies says:

    Just wondering if anyone consulted the Vale Play Development officer or Play Wales for advice on this. I am sure if asked they would be willing talk to residents about any concerns and give helpful advice on what would be an appropriate development of this play space

  2. David Moorcraft says:

    I hate to return to the vexed question of the proposed Skate Park in front of Paget Road, but the obvious question is – where would the users of this skate park come from ? I lived near Paget Place, there are not so many young children / teenagers living there. Who was the skate park going to be for ?
    And there is a perfectly good Skate Park on the middle of the Barrage. It’s not NIMBY-ism, at all, it’s just unnecessary !
    I have to say,(sorrowfully, being a Labour supporter) having met Mr Gwyn Roberts, I find his attitude fixed, (rather like Ms. Burnett’s) and somewhat arrogant, seeming to know better than residents what’s Good for Penarth.

    • Gwenda says:

      I agree with everything you have said, David Moorcraft. I find Mr Gwyn Roberts somewhat arrogant too – it seems that the views of the ‘community’ only count if they match his opinion.

    • Arthur Thistlewood says:

      I think you are being rather hard on the councillors Roberts and Burnett. They are socialists so are bound to know the best way to spend other people’s funds. We residents should apologize to them for being so foolish so may I apologize on behalf of everyone in Penarth? We’ll try, I’m, sure, to be more sensible in future.

  3. carole george says:

    I was very disappointed to read Councillor Roberts’ opinion of “nimbyism” regarding constituents views.Residents are totally in favour of the park upgrade apart from the skatepark element. And yes it is a skatepark not just a scooter park as councillor Roberts promotes. You only need to consult the proposed design.
    I had been promised by Councillor Burnett that alternatives to the skatepark element were to be investigated and this was back in November 2014. How long does it take to look at alternatives?
    Councillor Roberts gives the impression that the whole plan may be scuppered because of residents “wrong” views. I find this totally disrespectful and misleading.

    • plainjane says:

      Agree absolutely. Cllr Roberts makes some rather detogatory comments about the constituents he professes to represent and it appears to be he who is misrepresenting the facts in relation to paget park. Please do get on with the upgrade of the existing facilities that we all support and stop using the skate park element as an excuse to stop it. Next time please consult with residents before wasting money on drawing up grand plans.

      • Ivor Bagman says:

        Don’t you find it strange
        That the Kymin is the ideal spot
        For skateboarders
        Yet Boules prevails in Penarth ?

  4. Johnabutt says:

    Some new equipment to replace what has been removed over many years would be nice. Perhaps someone could go and take a look at some of the so called play parks in the area. The big swing in Cosmeston was removed years ago and has not been replaced. There are many other examples. Saying there is no money does not cut it with a ten year old!

  5. Vince says:

    Why not ask the people who the park is meant for, the children. Just ask the teachers of the local schools to ask the children to vote for what they would like to see in the park and you will have your answer. Easy!

  6. Frank Evans says:

    So sad. Sugo did great pizzas.

  7. Frank Evans says:

    So our councillors know best eh. That will be a first. I refer the honourable readers to Ms Burnett’s tantrum a few weeks back.

  8. Dizzydeb says:

    Here we go again, St Paul’s continues to go to ruin as they didn’t get the result they wanted in the last residents poll! Never mind, elections in May, we live in hope:-(

    • Cymry Llundain says:

      Local elections aren’t this year. They’ll be on Thursday the 4th of May 2017. I’m sure they’ll be pretending to listen and represent the electorate in about 12 months time.

  9. Cymry Llundain says:

    Councillors Burnett and Roberts seem hell-bent on ignoring the wishes of the people they represent re. the skatepark.

    It’s their desperation to get a skatepark built that’s unnecessarily holding-back the upgrading of the childrens’ playgrounds in Penarth.

    Cllr. Roberts’ assertion that the skatepark would be “junior” or a “modest scooter park” is demonstrably false. This goes beyond being disingenuous and would suggest either ignorance on his part or a desire to mislead the community he represents.

  10. Jamie says:

    Not sure what is more worrying about Roberts. His detachment from reality or his total inability to do his job properly. He and Burnett, who incidentally would be well advised to spend less time on Twitter and more time representing her constituents, have been woeful in their involvement in the Paget Road Park redevelopment.

    To then rub salt in the wounds by spouting his quite ignorant personal opinions whilst in public office is disgraceful. I hope people who don’t read PDN are paying attention to what an utter muppet he is and we are rid of his services in 2017.

Comments are closed.