Veteran Penarth Councillor Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward) is working to broker a deal aimed at settling the controversy over the unauthorised re-development work that’s been carried out on a classic Penarth Conservation Area residence – Monkton House .
Neighbours have complained about apparently unauthorised works which have been carried out on the £945,000 semi-detached property (which stands at the junction of Marine Parade and Holmesdale Place) including the installation of large dormer windows at the front and rear.
The contentious retrospective planning application had been submitted a month after work started by the developer/purchaser Steve Simpson in association with local firm John Wotton Architects .
Mr Simpson – who is also involved the redevelopment of the “Gardenhurst” mansion across the road – is a director of The Edinburgh Woollen Mill Ltd – the company controlled by multi-millionaire Philip Day. Mr Day’s companies redeveloped the “Holm House Hotel” on Marine Parade and have also bought nearby “Ashdene Manor“, and the derelict mansion “Normandy“ a short distance away on Bridgeman Road. This is now one of the largest property portfolios in Penarth.
When Penarth Town Council planning committee considered a “retrospective” planning application on Monkton House [ submitted a month after the building work had begun] local councillors were scathing about the scheme. Cllr Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward said it had “broken all the rules”, Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines) said it was ” insulting and presumptive “, planning chairman Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell) said neighbours were “incandescent” and such developments were “gaming the system” .
Cllr Clive Williams – who is a “twin-hatted” councillor who also sits on the Vale of Glamorgan Council and its planning committee – had then said he would “call-in” the application so that the final decision would be made by the full Vale of Glamorgan planning committee rather than by just a council planning officer on a “delegated” basis.
Since that meeting Cllr Williams – who remains opposed in principle to the retrospective application – has been endeavouring the broker a deal between all the parties involved . Cllr Williams says he now understands the applicant had in fact consulted neighbours before the work commenced.
Cllr Williams says the applicant has told him he had purchased the property without a survey but on moving in “realised the terrible condition of the building“. He says “the loft space had varying thicknesses of supporting wooden beams causing twisting and putting the rooms out of alignment.” In correcting this the applicant had “added dormer windows, after being assured by his friend he did not require planning permission.”
The applicant has now assured Cllr Williams that he will “completely reinstate the front elevation to its original condition and adjust all aspects the planning department suggested as he now knows his actions were wrong.”
As a result Cllr Williams now says that “Provided amended plans are submitted to the planning department as a revision, correcting the details above and subject to the views of the original objectors” he may be prepared to support approval of the application.
If the contentious retrospective application is amended as now proposed, Cllr Williams says the applicant would benefit by not receiving an enforcement notice, the Vale Council would save costs and it would “most importantly, correct the major concerns of the local residents and others who have been shocked by this development in such a prominent position, in the conservation area.”
Mr Simpson’s proposed plans for the redevelopment of the “Gardenhurst “site were also heavily criticised by Penarth Town Council’s planning committee and were subsequently withdrawn.