The old Blockbuster premises now has a new tenant Brew Stone's new bar and restaurant

The old Blockbuster premises now has a new tenant Brew Stone of Swansea – planning to develop a restaurant, bar and seven bedroom apartment there

Penarth Town Council’s planning committee is supporting a change of use for the former “Blockbuster” video-hire premises on the corner of  Hickman Road and Windsor Road , Penarth to a new Brew Stone restaurant and bar.

Since Blockbuster went bust back in December 2013 there has been a series of initiatives to set up new businesses at the premises. The sequence was as follows:-

  • January 2014: Councillors considering a previous application to covert the premises into a restaurant express fears that McDonald’s, is planning to move in
  • March 2014: There’s speculation that  Domino’s Pizza will be setting up a pizza takeaway there.
  • August 2014 : Despite having obtained planning permission for a takeaway at Blockbusters,  Domino’s decides to look at the vacant former “Tropical Tandoori premises in Windsor Terrace instead.
  • Cllr Lis Burnett (Labour St Augustines)

    Cllr Lis Burnett (Labour St Augustines)

    October 2015: Prezzo encounters an objection to its £750,000 plan – which is supported by Penarth Town Council –  to convert the Spar supermarket in Windsor Road into a new two-floor restaurant . The  Vale of Glamorgan planning officer handling the case says he is  “minded to refuse” Prezzo’s plan.  Vale and Penarth Cllr Lis Burnett (Labour St Augustines) supports the officer’s decision, “calls-in” the proposal and proposes that Prezzo set up at Blockbuster instead . There is a major row.

  • November 2014 : Prezzo dismisses Burnett’s alternative out of hand, sticks to its guns and eventually wins approval for the Spar site in Windsor Road.
  • February 2015 : the property company-  BP2 – signs a 15-year-deal with Swansea company Brew Stone to lease the old Blockbuster premises.
  • January 2016 Brew Stone makes a planning application for “change of use” of the Blockbuster store  into a new Brew Stone pub/restaurant . Brew Stone says wants to develop the Penarth outlet as the foundation of a new restaurant chain which will specialise in wood-fire cuisine, fresh salads, coffees, quality wines and craft beers. A new flue will be installed for a “wood-burning pizza oven”. Brew Stone said “The idea is to promote and unite all businesses on Windsor Road as a social realm with evening vibrance, energy and activity “
  • February 2016: Penarth Town Council’s planning committee considers the  Brew Stone plan.
What the new Brew Stone restaurant would look like in place of the old Blockbuster premises

What the new Brew Stone restaurant would look like in place of the old Blockbuster premises

Penarth's well-respected Town Clerk Shan Bowden will be retiriing in the New Year

Penarth Town Clerk Shan Bowden

In this week’s planning committee meeting, the Town Clerk Shan Bowden reminded members that the site is not in the Penarth Conservation Area. The Brew Stone scheme includes the development of the basement and ground floor with the first and second floors being developed as a seven bedroom apartment. There will be a “22-cover [i.e. table places] restaurant in the basement and a “119cover” restaurant on the ground floor.

 Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward) asked whether the occupants of the 7-bedroom apartment would be working at the premises. The Town Clerk said this was not stated in the application.

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines) said 7 bedrooms were unusual but it was a good thing. There were , he said, an “awful lot” of vacant first floors over retail premises in the town centre  and they could all provide low-cost housing. He welcomed the idea of there being some living accommodation in the scheme. He asked whether Brew Stone would be a “bar” or a “restaurant“.

Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell)

Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell)

Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell) – in the chair – said it would have both and  would be “quite a high-profile place ” . It would be, he said ” yet another destination restaurant for Penarth and for this corner of Wales“.

Cllr Roberts said that when Prezzo had applied to come to Penarth, the [Vale of Glamorgan] planning officer had queried “the number of restaurants in one block” . He said he thought that the measure should be “what type of town Penarth is – and if it’s a destination/ visitors’ town, it’s quite important to take more than the usual number of restaurants and cafes,  because it gets people in”. He thought this was the observation the planning committee should make.

Cllr Thomas said that with the “widening of the night-time economy in Penarth” it would be interesting to see how the other retail outlets – normally closed in the evenings  – responded to all the footfall outside their doors.

The Mayor Cllr Rosemary Cook (Labour St Augustines)

The Mayor Cllr Rosemary Cook (Labour St Augustines)

The Mayor, Cllr Rosemary Cook (Labour St Augustines),  reminded members that there was a new cocktail bar [ called “Etcetera”]  being set up in the former Sugo restaurant on Stanwell Road.

Cllr Martin Turner said that people applying for licences would have “looked at the market that’s here” and had decided it was worth investing  in a restaurant in Penarth.

Cllr Neil Thomas agreed, saying it was “a matter of market forces” . He wondered  however whether there was a “tipping point” when there were too many such premises  – and when some started to fail –  but said this was not a planning committee matter.

The committee decided to support the Brew Stone application . The final decision will be made by the Vale of Glamorgan planning committee.

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  1. Frank (yawn) Bird says:

    Just what Penarth needs so desperately, another bar!

    • ColaniXL says:

      Just what Penarth needs so desperately, another moaning commentator! How about a little positivity? Go on, it won’t hurt, I promise. Think outside of the small town bubble and you might see that a thriving town centre will encourage spending in the local economy not only from residents but from those who come to visit from neighbouring towns and cities. I often head out to some of the diverse eateries offered by Cowbridge and Pontcanna, and with enough variety and choice on offer in Penarth, I think the gesture would be reciprocated.

      • Bevans says:

        Well said, what else would you like to see in a town centre?? I thought shops and bars were the norm! Some people will moan about anything.

  2. Christopher David says:

    Minded by the “high minded” -what high falutin twaddle. Probably thinks he sits in a “cabinet” and Liz B communicates with post it notes. There’s long standing precedent for a two storey eating drinking dancing den I Pen Town Centre. It will be a really dodgy looking decision if Brew Stone get turned down. We need small quality establishments. Jeezzz not Muk Donald’s ever please. In fact I think a start up one year rent rebate scheme should be considered for small cap business seeking to establish in the town. Well we do give perpetual 80% rates rebate to charity shops in order they can pay their directors up to £750,000 each PA! (+perks) What real value do they bring to a town centre? They could easily be slotted in on the outskirts and pay proper (but lower) rates.

    • RetailGuru says:

      Chris, most of the charity shops in Penarth actually make more than enough surpluses to warrant paying full rates.

      Relocating the charity shops to the outskirts would drive out of town the footfall that they create; yes, create. There is definitely a place for charity shops in the central part of any town, but the number of them should be capped. A ‘town plan’ outlining this capped number should be produced. It could also cap the number of coffee shops, estate agents and supermarkets too!

  3. RetailGuru says:

    Good luck to them, although personally I’m concerned about the viability of another restaurant – can Penarth take another one? It is a shame that we’re not seeing the arrival of a strong retailer, Penarth deserves it and I’m worried that the balance of the town is too heavily into food and not ‘quality’ retail.

  4. Fiona Whitfield says:

    99p or £1.00 world please I can hear you all now but im allowed a point of view too Wilkinsons? Home bargains ?

  5. Christopher David says:

    OK Ret- ail you’re the Guru, but I’m not sure charity shops would alter the footfall one bit. People need what they need. Having said that if “charity shops” pay FULL rates and stop creaming off us fine. Were subsidising huge salaries for regional managers- ask Mr Doughty and directors. Even if they create footfall with free front of house, taken advantage of labour and a rates subsidies they have an unfair advantage over “legitimate” business. Not cut n dried is it !!! Anyway- there should be an investigation if Mr Mighty Minded turns down Brew Stone.

  6. Christopher David says:

    Ret- what do you mean by “quality retail” ?

    • RetailGuru says:

      Products that we actually need, personal service from people that care, presentation that is pleasant on the eye and prices that are affordable.

  7. Good luck to them.

    we looked into this site when we were getting messed about a bit with where we are now. i spent ages trying to get face to face with the landlords but as at the time Dominos were interested our money wasnt good enough and quite frankly as a small business were were largley ignored and banging our heads against a wall.

    We had the same thing with our other shop – put offers in on more “prime time” retail and got ignored – opened elswhere and still going after several other “larger” fish have come and gone from those sites – the only constant is more charity shops.

    if an indie has managed to get in to a prime site i think they should be applauded for the effort and suported – im pretty sure if it was starbucks et al it all would have been done far quicker than the wiat they have had along with a deal on rates.

    i would rather see penarth have a reputation and integrity for a being a food destination that go the way of bulk chain retail. that said locals need to shop to so a mix is preferable but unfortunetly near impossible to police.

    i hope brewstones persistence pays off.

  8. A local Penarth Resident says:

    I hope this gets the go-ahead. Add a bit of diversity to the town centre.
    Derelict/vacant premises does no one any goo.
    I did look at the plans and boy has the architect squeezed in those tables. If the business plan calls for 141 covers then that’s what you’ll get!

  9. snoggerdog says:

    bring back,brockingtons,guidis,chun ho,home & colonial,deverall&pawleys,thomas,s,delahayes,jack savages,mannings,woolies,steve smith,clemos &the pandora,that would be start!

  10. AK says:

    Now, if only we could block Windsor Road to traffic from Hickman Road to the roundabout and the lower end of Glebe Street the town centre would thrive !

  11. Martyn says:

    Would be nice if the town “planners” considered putting a crossing on Hickman Road. Make it far safer to get into town for those at the bottom of the hill and for the ‘potential’ increased footfall around the new bar if it goes ahead.

  12. Colin says:

    Beeching cut the line in the 60s due to the fast growing love of cars. The railway was busy morning and late afternoon, but quiet the rest of the day….Sadly, people would rather sit in their cars, texting etc, than use and support a rail service.

  13. Sue@56 says:

    Let’s just get it done. The plans look stunning for what is at the moment an eyesore .

  14. Liz Robinson says:

    Where will all the cars be parked for this number of people in the restaurant without counting the employees cars? Also people will expect to be “dropped off” in front of the door. This is a dangerous and very busy junction.

  15. Christopher David says:

    OK Ret – as long as you’re not suggesting another chain grocer. Ms Robinson- yes you’re right- its a town centre. People drove to blockbuster. Its a trading outlet. End of story. Looking forward to the corner being tidied up.

  16. Fiona Whitfield says:

    As I work I have to send for items online as ive not the time to get into Barry for proper shops a if i need affordable clothing or shoes as I don’t drive, I work voluntary on a day in the week at a charity shop in Penarth and I have visitors moaning that theres only charity shops and cafes so its going to make visitors go into the city to shop.

    • RetailGuru says:

      Hi Fiona,

      Have a think about your ‘affordable’ clothing and shoes. Sometimes buying this stuff can be a false economy as, once washed, the clothing is in poor shape. Take the plunge and check out Penarth’s shops and you’ll be nicely surprised… for a few pounds more you’ll get clothing that isn’t disposable.

      I used to think that Penarth didn’t have much of a range of shops. How wrong could I be! When I actually put my mind to it, I could buy virtually everything that I wanted within our own wonderful town. And guess what? I was supporting hard working people from our own town too, keeping them in jobs and supporting local businesses. It felt good that I was not supporting a gold plated head office in London of a major corporation taking advantage of poor Indian or Bangladeshi textile slaves.

  17. Christopher David says:

    Spot on Ret except the bit about once washed and poor shape. The one thing charity shops do do is keep things recycled to a degree and good quality washes. But as for the rest yes. Charites have in some cases just become a subsidised vehicle to keep club members rich. They detract from local business with their free front of house labour and rate subsidies. The charity sector needs a major overhaul.

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