PENARTH COUNCIL OPPOSES GRANDMOTHER’S BID TO LIVE IN HER OWN HOME

Mrs Joy Atkinson - who has a BA degree in Art and Design in her two-storey detached studio working as a nursery nurse and a cleaner. She has to leave the home that she owns because of a Vale of Glamorgan Council Enforcement Order

Mrs Joy Atkinson – who has a BA degree in Art and Design –  in her two-storey semi-detached studio at 34A Plassey St, Penarth. She is working as a nursery nurse and as a cleaner but is being forced to leave the home that she owns because of a Vale of Glamorgan Council Enforcement Order

There’s been another reversal for the Penarth grandmother who’s been fighting a long-drawn out battle with the planning authorities for the right to continue to live in 34A Plassey Street – the  home that she owns.

Penarth Town Council’s planning committee had originally supported an application from Mrs Joy Atkinson  for “change of use” of  what had been an “artist’s studio” to a “single dwelling house” in order to regularise what had been an informal arrangement.

The lounge area of Mrs Atkinson's property - 34A Plassey St Penarth which the Vale of Glamrogan council says is "sub-standard"

The lounge area of Mrs Atkinson’s property – 34A Plassey Street, Penarth  – a property which the Vale of Glamorgan council says is “sub-standard”

Although Penarth councillors had supported her application they were overruled by the Vale of Glamorgan who refused planning permission for change of use – on the grounds, amongst others, that the property  didn’t have enough  “amenity space” – i.e. a courtyard or garden.

Mrs Joy Atkinson - who was upset to hear that Penarth Town Council had changed it's mind and withdrawn its support for her planning application

Mrs Joy Atkinson was upset to hear that Penarth Town Council had changed its mind and withdrawn its support for her planning application

The Vale Council’s decision meant Mrs Atkinson would have to leave her own home. The council issued an Enforcement Order to ensure she did just that. She was given until September 2016 to move out or face legal action which, she says, could ultimately mean imprisonment.

Mrs Atkinson – a qualified artist and designer who works as a cleaner and nursery nurse – appealed against the Vale of Glamorgan’s decision to the ultimate arbiter – the Planning Inspectorate – but she lost her appeal .

Even so, did not have to pay the appeal costs because the Planning Inspectorate found that her appeal had “not been unreasonable”.

Stephen Doughty (Labour MP Cardiff South and Penarth - left) and Vaughan Gething (Labour AM Cardiff South and Penarth

“They did nothing”: Stephen Doughty (Labour MP Cardiff South and Penarth – left) and Vaughan Gething (Labour AM Cardiff South and Penarth

Mrs Atkinson says she had also been to see Stephen Doughty (Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth) three times – twice with her daughter and once by herself .

Mrs Atkinson said Doughty had told her he would do what he could and would also involve the local Labour Assembly Member Vaughan Gething – but in the end neither of them had done anything.

She has however received the support of a number of local residents and neighbours who signed a petition supporting her original planning application. Her daughter and grandchildren also live in Penarth and although Mrs Atkinson frequently does child-minding for them, they don’t have enough room in their own home to accommodate her.

Still with nowhere to go and nowhere else to live – and with the September deadline drawing nearer –  Mrs Atkinson turned to a local architect to see whether the objections of the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s planning officers could somehow be met by making alterations to the property.

The "artist's studio" at 34A Plassey St which had been turned into a dwelling without planning permission

The “artist’s studio” at 34A Plassey St which had been turned into a dwelling without planning permission

She has now submitted a new plan to the Vale of Glamorgan  Council which proposes demolishing the back-end of the building in which she lives in order to create the “amenity space” which the Vale planning officers say it lacks.

The scheme would involve losing an upstairs bedroom and part of a second downstairs bedroom – just to create empty amenity space”  which Mrs Atkinson says she doesn’t need or want.

Meanwhile paradoxically the Vale Council – whilst arguing on one hand that her home is substandard – has nevertheless set her Council Tax Banding at “Band D” –  the average for a 3 bedroom semi-detached in the area.

This week Penarth Town Council’s planning committee was consulted about her new planning application .

Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell)

Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell)

The chairman Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell) reminded members that they had supported Mrs Atkinson’s original planning application made in January 2014 for “change of use” but the Vale Council had decided not to,  and the Planning Inspectorate had subsequently supported the Vale decision .

Cllr Thomas said the Inspectorate had emphasised an issue of “overlooking” at the boundary with Patrick’s newsagents. “That problem still remains” he said  . [PDN Note: In fact frosted-glass has been installed in side-facing windows ‘overlooking’ Patrick’s] .

Cllr Thomas said “It’s a difficult one. We should accept the views of the Inspectorate and the Vale and say that the problems are still there and those matters have not been resolved and therefore it does not merit support”.

Cllr Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward) aid “I don’t think we should be in the business of supporting sub-standard housing. It’s sub-standard by nature of the fact it does not provide all the essential requirements . In my view we should not agree to the application”.

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines) said  he had made “representations on behalf of the person that’s living there, that retrospective planning permission was withdrawn for”.

Cllr Roberts said “the Vale have some sympathy with  the person  and had given quite a long enforcement notice period to try and allow the person to find somewhere else”.

Cllr Roberts  alleged that the occupant had bought the property and moved in with clear planning application refusal . He wondered whether the new application was what he called “a deliberate attempt to cloud the  issue” . Cllr Roberts said  “What we can’t get away from is that we have our professional planning officers in the Vale and an Inspector – and the inspector being more adamant than the Vale”.

Cllr Thomas pointed out that the Planning Inspector had said he was sympathetic to the situation.

Cllr Roberts  (who is a “twin-hatted” member of the Vale of Glamorgan planning committee) said “we would be flying in the face of  the experts” – and the Penarth  Council planning committee needed take account of its own “credibility”.

Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward)  said the public would be looking at the this and saying “ last time you agreed to this and now you’re not agreeing to it”  – but, Cllr Williams said, “I think this is quite legitimate in this case. We have extra information this time which we didn’t have first time”.

Cllr Philip Rapier (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Philip Rapier (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Philip Rapier (Labour St Augustines) said he thought the committee “had the balance about right. Unless there has been a significant change .. you can’t go against what an inspector has said . That would not be correct practice I feel sure.”

Adding that the situation was “very regrettable“, Cllr Rapier said he supported refusal.

The Penarth Council planning committee is now to recommend refusal of the planning application to alter the property –  but the final decision will be made by the Vale of Glamorgan Council .

 

 

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13 Responses to PENARTH COUNCIL OPPOSES GRANDMOTHER’S BID TO LIVE IN HER OWN HOME

  1. M davies says:

    This sounds really confusing
    The applicant clearly does not want an outside space
    Why make her create
    Does this ruling mean that anyone without an outside space ( I.e. All those happily living in flats) will also have to amend their properties to create a space they do not want?

  2. Mark Foster says:

    Go on, give it to a Libyan, Iraqi or Syrian asylum seeker or jihadist. He could keep his AK47s and vests in the amenity space at the back. After all, the democratic Labour and Tory party politicians mentioned didn’t cause the problems in the Middle East. Coming from Zambia, Vaughan Gething would know all about these sub standard Penarth housing conditions.

    Make sure you don’t kick out these ridiculous twin-hatted bufoons at the May election, so Alun Michael’s stasi can come around to arrest this good woman.

  3. martin houghton says:

    Is this really only about ‘An amenity space’? And is ‘Very regrettable’ an appropriate choice of words? Local governance on this scale is pathetic. I walk past this home every day. It bearly registers. Unlike the other eyesore I walk past too. Penarth Heights. Where 300 homes are being created. With no ‘amenity space’ for children, no shops, no nothing. A future Billy Banks in the making. Where fly tipping by residents on adjacent grounds is already a blight on our landscape. Where local governance has singularly failed in vision and ambition.
    And yet in Plassey Street they intend to throw a respectable and obviously caring woman out of her home? Because of a lack of ‘amenity space’?!!
    Time for this power crazed bunch of incompetents to consider their position. Time to abolish this level of amateur beaurocracy.

    • Bobby says:

      Please Martin, as you said yourself Penarth Heights consist of peoples “homes” so please be a little less disparaging about where we live! You might not like the look of them but that is just your own opinion!!!

  4. Ivor Bagman says:

    Why not leave the poor lady alone.
    You let a certain gent sleep
    In a bus shelter.
    Also – what amenity space is there
    At Beachcliffe ?????

  5. Nigel Bull says:

    It would obviously be better used as a commercial property with perhaps attendant noise and continual arrival of cars or even lorries. It is an ugly extension and does not blend in with it’s surroundings.

    So be careful what you wish and vote for……..it might end up reverting to it’s previous use as an artist’s studio, an artist that beats steel into shape with an anvil and a hearth emitting smoke! Then you really will have something to consider.

  6. Christopher David says:

    I see Foster’s (lager?) gone off piste from Window 10 again- check those bars But I do agree with his last two sentences- wow. So we are short of social hosing- even small, very small developments are having silly demands made on them re so called social housing. But the self important have to have their say and kick a Gran eh. As for Doughty- he’s out of his depth with a Lego set.

  7. In-The-Know says:

    I’m useless at these things, but couldn’t someone start a petition? I’m sure Mrs Atkinson would get a lot of support.

  8. Fishhenge says:

    About time.

  9. RetailGuru says:

    This all sounds pretty unreasonable. OK, planning permission should have been sought before the premises were converted, BUT, why can’t people just sit round a table and use a bit of common sense and reason? What is the point in wasting time denying this person their home? It’s all a waste of time and money. She’s not doing any harm, it seems to me. And there are much uglier houses in Penarth… mine for example! Built in the late 1800’s but plug ugly.

    This seems like a power trip to me.

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