The Labour-run Vale of Glamorgan Council Vale has – yet again – changed the name of its controversial £156,000 skateboard-park scheme planned for the “Children and Toddler’s Play Area “ at Paget Road, Penarth.
Originally the Vale Council wanted to redevelop this as what it called an “all-ages” Adult Outdoor Gymnasium and Skateboard Park – equipped with a 105 foot long concrete skateboard rink.
When local residents found out about this scheme in 2014, a hastily-convened public meeting had to be arranged at the Windsor Arms Pub on November 10th 2014 at which Vale councillors Lis Burnett and Gwyn Roberts (both Labour St Augustines) found themselves confronting heavy criticism (see PDN http://tinyurl.com/mmv5wjb).
It was established at that meeting that the council had carried out no research whatsoever into whether such a facility was wanted or needed in the area.
The scheme was then officially re-branded as the “Paget Road Open Space Play Facility” . The project was put under the direct control of Marcus Goldsworthy, the Vale Council’s Head of Planning and Regeneration who is the most senior officer in the planning department.
It also emerged that the results of a “noise impact study” were to be reviewed by officers and what the Vale called “further community consultation“ would be required .
At the same time council documents also confirmed that planning consent would be required prior to works commencing on any revamped scheme – which means that it could be considered by the full Vale of Glamorgan Council planning committee rather than the council just quietly giving itself the go-ahead for the contentious project. If there are members of the public who object to the scheme they would be able to address the planning committee meeting and – if the decision goes against them – could lodge a planning appeal.
It’s not yet clear whether the unpopular skateboard rink will remain part of the new proposals in view of what a Vale Council source described as “some disquiet in the vicinity”.
In another change, the council also says the revised and re-named scheme would extend beyond the Paget Road Children’s Play area to “ a number of parks in North Penarth”
Its is now being proposed to change the name of the scheme yet again from “Paget Road Open Space Play Facility” to the “North Penarth Open Space Improvement Scheme” – eliminating the word “play”.
The council says it’s “currently investigating opportunities for improvements at nearby public open spaces in the vicinity of Penarth Heights and as part of this process are considering a number of parks in North Penarth. As such the Council is in the process of devising public consultation for enhancements, which will be undertaken during 2016. It’s under these arrangements that the new name of ‘North Penarth Open Space Improvement Scheme” is being proposed.
In February this year Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines) told Penarth Town Council that local residents had been “wrong” to oppose the original scheme. In an implicit criticism of St Augustines residents, he told Penarth Council “We attempted to upgrade the park on Paget Terrace. We were going to put some huge skatepark with millions of children with radios loud and other rubbish. But I’m afraid that once you get to the practicalities, nimbyism is important.“
He said ” The actual facilities there were [going to be] very modest – they were no more than a scooter park”. He said the project had now been stopped and was being looked at again “because of the reaction, which I think is, somehow or other, completely wrong” .