Work on developing the Victorian villa Monkton House went ahead without planning permission having been obtained first

Work on developing the £945,000 Victorian villa Monkton House on Marine Parade  went ahead without planning permission having been obtained first

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 new front dormer window Monkton House is in the centre of the picture

The new front dormer window Monkton House is in the centre of the picture

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” .

The proposed new frotn dormer window on Monkton House would - and in fact does - overlook Marine Parade.

It’s now proposed that the newly built but unauthorised  front dormer window on Monkton House  – overlooking Marine Parade –  would be removed.

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 Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

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.

Rear Window: The new unauthorised rear dormer which overlooks neighbours' homes

Rear Window: The new unauthorised rear dormer which overlooks neighbours’ homes

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.


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  1. Christopher David says:

    They should be made an example. Too much of this going on and if the “big boys” get away with it everyone will expect to. Pity but there should be no compromise on this. As much as many planning departments are slow and amateurish- or just suffer from very bad taste like the VOG, I for one would support the planning committee if they righty make Monkton House come into line. Remember- in the past Penarth has suffered badly from developers leaving grand houses to rot and damaging them beyond repair in the process in order to get there way. Some see Penarth as a soft target and Monkton House should know better. What example are they setting for their pupils! Will Cllr Williams roll over? I hope not, Its not some grandee showing his mettle, its wrong and compromise will look very fishy.

  2. Richard says:

    ‘work started by the developer/purchaser Steve Simpson in association with local firm John Wotton Architects’ – Sad indictment on these professional people that they don’t know planning laws! Trying to pull the ‘wool over our eyes’ I suggest!

  3. Roger says:

    This is not an acceptable ‘solution’ in my opinion and I can’t imagine why Councillor Clive Williams is working to ‘broker a deal’. The rear dormer is totally out-of-keeping and it should all go back to as it was – what nonsense about the ‘varying thicknesses of supporting wooden beams’ etc. If the council rolls over on this, it sets yet another precedent for people to do as they please. Whether or not people have money, they should abide by the law. If you break the law by speeding or parking illegally, do you ‘broker a deal’ with the authorities? No, you pay up, touch. Same with this, take it down.

  4. Russell says:

    Who is the “friend” that “assured” Mr Simpson he “did not require planning permission”? Can’t make a quick call to the Vale to check, can he?

  5. Simon says:

    Am I correct in thinking Councillor Clive Williams was opposed to the dormer on Stanwell Road and now here, in the heart of the conservation area, he is attempting to ‘broker a deal’? Why?

  6. M davies says:

    This is what happens when you have a weak council who are not prepared to stand up to bully boy developers. We have seen time and again beautiful buildings left to ruins , mysterious fires resulting in a development going ahead with the result that builders think they can go ahead and then get retrospective planning permission.
    What will happen when the other properties in this portfolio start to be developed?

  7. cathy says:

    Seems very strange that someone like Mr. Simpson would have bought the house without a survey
    Cllr Williams think you need to think again,could it be that it’s just because it’s Marine Parade!!!

  8. Ivor Bagman says:

    Looks O.K. to me –
    At least it has not
    Been left derelict
    Like the rest
    In Holmesdale
    Place !!

  9. Ivor Bagman says:

    While I’m on the subject,
    The house on the corner of Holmesdale
    and Plymouth road –
    Do they pay council tax ?

  10. Christopher David says:

    Good question Mr Bagman- is that the house falling down behind big gates? Is it owned by a Boland? I’ve Google mapped it and it looks like a building site

  11. Christopher David says:

    Thank you- hasn’t that been rotting for decades? Pressure needed eh!

  12. Huw says:

    What a load of tosh , who doesn’t get a survey on a million pound property ? They’re trying to blag the council and the suckers are falling for it ! Just because they’ve spent a bit of money in the town the council are bending the rules . Well done councilor williams instead of just following the rules you go out of your way to “broker a deal” or brown nose as some might see it! The rear dormer is just as ugly as the one on stanwell rd , which at least is relatively hidden , this one is clearly visible on major route to the beach . Follow the rules you apply to your voters councilor williams not the money men.

  13. Christopher David says:

    Well said Huw.

  14. CelticMan says:

    No planning – no way should thus be allowed to continue

  15. AK says:

    ‘Broker a deal’ – sounds like Max Clifford !

  16. Christopher David says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much unity on any subject here,. I hope Cllr Williams and the rest are taking note. The people have spoken- enough is enough. Maybe PDN could look to see if there is a story re Edinburgh Woollen Mill as well- or are they White Nights ready to make good?

  17. Anne says:

    I totally agree with Roger This is unacceptable in a conservation area in particular. Why does Councillor Clive Williams think he can ‘broker a deal’? The rear dormer is totally out-of-keeping and it should all go back to as it was. This sets yet another precedent for people to do as they please. Whether or not people have money, they should abide by the law. Our conservation areas are precious and they are due special protection which should be respected and enforced by our Cllrs. Shame on Cllr Williams.

Comments are closed.