Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward) (left) with Penarth AM and Conservative Leader Andrew R T Davies at the Turner House Gallery today

Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward) (left) with Penarth AM and Conservative Leader Andrew R T Davies at the Turner House Gallery today

The Leader of the Conservative Party in the National Assembly  Andrew R.T.Davies has now stepped into the controversy over the future of Penarth’s only dedicated art gallery –  Turner House.

Last week the Vale of Glamorgan Planning Committee held back from issuing an Enforcement Notice that was about to be dispatched to the National Museum of Wales (who hold the deeds of  Turner House)  about unauthorised modifications which have been carried out in the Grade II Listed building by its current leaseholders – Ffotogallery. (see PDN )

Without permission the balustrade was removed and well was boarded over.

Without permission the balustrade was removed and the lightwell was boarded over.

In 2014 Ffotogallery – a publicly funded arts “charity” – had removed two important architectural features- a central first-floor light-well and a balustrade designed by   to accommodate a temporary Artes Mundi exhibition – but did not restore these listed fixtures when the exhibition ended early last year .

The National Museum  claimed it had not been consulted and had not given permission for the modifications to be carried out. Last week it made a verbal promise to the Vale Council that  it would restore the gallery to its original internal appearance.

Penarth AM and Conservative Leader Andrew R T Davies at Turner House today

Penarth AM and Conservative Leader Andrew R T Davies at Turner House today

Today Andrew R T Davies who is Conservative AM for South Wales Central (which includes Penarth) and is leader of the Conservatives in the Welsh Assembly met Vale and Penarth Councillor Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward) at Turner House.

Mr Davies now has written to the National Museum, to the Vale of Glamorgan Council and to Penarth Town Council and says it’s “ slightly bizarre” that there is no record of the ownership of Turner House in the Land Registry and will study the responses  prior to taking any further steps .

Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward) with Penarth COnservative AM Andrew R T Davies at Turner House

Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward) with Conservative Assembly Leader and Penarth  AM Andrew R T Davies at Turner House today

Cllr Williams had raised concerns in the Vale Planning Committee not only about the unauthorised  alterations to Turner House,  but also about Ffotogallery’s controversial plans to hold a monthly food market inside the listed building – a proposal which has raised widespread concern in the town.

Turner House was originally  bequeathed to the people of Penarth by the gallery’s founder James Pyke Thompson.

A trust, set up to manage the gallery for Penarth after Mr Thompson’s death and which included a representative of Penarth Urban District Council, decided in 1921  – without public consultation – to hand over the deeds of the building and the paintings in it (now worth many millions) to the National Museum of Wales. The change of ownership of Turner House seems never to have been properly registered.

The story of the Turner House bequest is on PDN  (


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  1. Mgg says:

    For crying out loud just because a few jaundiced backward thinking individuals who complain about everything said they thought the market was a bad idea does not constitute the whole town! I havnt seen a poll or a vote or a referendum on the market so theres no evidence .While there is a viable opportunity for chagrin regarding the vague handing over NEARLY100 YEARS AGO of the building and the inner changes lets not confuse this with the on going viability of the sitev If Penarth gets the building back who is going to pay for it? Where is the money coming from for security with the return of the paintings. .No doubt there will be complaints that our council tax is going on art while the pavements are falling apart Tec This bandwagon started with the market idea where was Andrew T before this .Was he championing this cause .No like most he’s a wagon jumper . BE CAREFULL WHAT YOU WISH FOR .Can’t see fifotto continuing lease after this sniping .Then where are we ,Hey you moaners get your money out. is it just me but I havnt seen one report of anyone meeting with fifotto to look at a collaborative plan . No I’ve just seen Mr Drake and Mis Yeo being blamed for every historical chagrin. WALES football motto ..together stronger . .not in this case much better to throw stones and runaway .I used to think parking annoyed me the most about Penarth but this cutting nose off to spite face takes the biscuit .Roll on the jazz!!!!

  2. Bartholomew says:

    What is this “widespread concern” even about? There will be no damage caused to the premises

  3. Philip Rapier says:

    There seems to be a lot of very convenient Amnesia at the Vale of Glamorgan related to what happened to Turner Gallery and West House c. 1974.
    They should be enforced by the Culture Minister and the Counsel General for Wales to return the Buildings to the People of Penarth and refund any payments that were unlawful unless they can produce the evidence the Act was complied with

    The Act was quite specific.

    “The Property Further Provision Order (amendment) to the Act 14 March 1974 states quite clearly the position which in my opinion was disregarded by the Vale Council.
    Paragraph 13 amending Article 8.
    An Authority shall not sell, lease, or exchange, or otherwise dispose of property of which user rights are ensured by this article, or develop the land on which this property is situated unless they have consulted all Authorities entitled to such user rights and made such arrangements as determined by agreement between the Authorities concerned.”

    They have failed to produce evidence they did any such thing so we will have our Property back and a refund please asap.

  4. Jenny Yeo says:

    Thank you to all those in Penarth who have been supportive and in favour of the market. The vast majority saw it as an asset, bringing new people into the gallery and widening it’s reach.
    Three hours once a month would not have marginalised the artists who I hoped would also approach the leaseholders and work with them for more opportunities to use this beautiful building for the benefit of the wider community.

    However having not intended to be a controversial figure, the extreme views taken by the minority and the disturbing amount of personal abuse I have received I will no longer be going ahead with the plans.

    Thanks to MGG, Timothy Hughes and Bartholomew above together with the local retailers and residents who have contacted me to voice their approval and excitement.

    I hope this puts an end to the unpleasantness which has been a negative influence on our lovely town.

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