This modernistic apartment block could soon be the first building people see on the right hand side of the road when entering Penarth from Cardiff.
It would be built on a plot of overgrown land near Cogan Station – on the right hand side of the main road coming into Penarth – where the now derelict Cogan Community Hall stands.
The planning application for the new development is not the first for an apartment block on the site – there was a proposed earlier scheme for a 34 apartment block – but this revised version is for a higher-density version which would provide 44 dwellings classified as “social /affordable” for the Hafod Housing Association.
The scheme – by local firm John Wotton Architects (who also designed the new Beachcliff) – has been commissioned by Gareth Jenkins acting for Cardiff-based developers Jehu/Hendre. It would comprise a 50/50 mix of one and two bedroom apartments .
The existing, but derelict, Cogan Community Hall – the historic venue of former Prime Minister Lord Callaghan’s famous 1983 speech which torpedoed Labour Leader Michael Foot’s election prospects – is to be demolished.
The site also includes the now blocked up road tunnel which used to run beneath the main road and the two railway lines to emerge in what was then Penarth Docks (and is now the Tesco site) .
When the application came before Penarth Town Council’s planning committee last night Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Cornerswell ) who is also a member the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s planning committee said the overall development was difficult to envisage on paper and proposed that, given the size of the application, a site meeting should be held prior to any discussion of the merits of the scheme. He also suggested that permission be sought to access the “derelict area” of the site.
Cllr Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward) agreed .He said this was a site, the position of which demanded “a particular type of building”. He said “It is a very open site on the principal approach road to Penarth” and thought councillors needed to see whether it would fit in the surroundings.
The planning chairman Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell) agreed it was a “gateway into Penarth” .
Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward) asked whether an earlier planning application had already been made. It was confirmed that an earlier application had been made some time previously but this new application proposed 44 dwellings.
Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustine’s) said this was the main gateway to Penarth and the council had an obligation to consider the application carefully.
Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward) said he understood there was already planning permission for the site but was “held up because of covenants”.
Cllr Williams said he was not being facetious in suggesting that the council should obtain some helium balloons so that councillors could “get the impact of how high that is“. This had been done before in respect of an application for Plymouth Road .
Cllr Thomas said “I think it’s big and overshadowy for that particular piece of road”.
Cllr Mark Wilson intervened to say that members were now discussing the application whereas they should not do so until after the site visit. The chairman Cllr Thomas concurred and ruled that discussion should be deferred.
Cllr Williams said he was anxious to see this scheme go through. The site had been derelict for a very-very long time. “I think the accommodation is wanted in Penarth and if done correctly it’s going to be a good entrance into Penarth”. Cllr Thomas agreed that a site visit should be arranged as soon as possible.
The issue of whether or not helium balloons would be deployed to assist the councillors, was left hanging in the air.