Cllr Lis Burnett (Labour St Augustines) , Deputy Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council, has now responded to concerns voiced by Penarth Civic Society about the continuing barren state of Penarth’s iconic Clock Roundabout – the central hub of the town.
Traditionally the roundabout – set on the main junction of the town’s shopping centre – has had colourful floral displays planted on it every year – but no planting whatever has taken place this year other than an abortive attempt to lay concrete paving slabs on the soil.
Frustrated by the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s prolonged inaction, a group of local environmentalists and residents took matters into their own hands and sowed marigold and evening primrose seeds on the roundabout last month. …But, as soon as the plants appeared, they were ripped out by the Vale Council – leaving the once-attractive roundabout as bare brown yet earth again for the peak summer season.
Cllr Burnett has now been explaining the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s ’roundabout strategy’ to Penarth Civic Society.
In an initial response she had originally said “ There is a very clear reason for the current state of the roundabout but not sure anyone really wants to hear.”
When re-assured by the Civic Society that its members “really would like to hear the reason why the roundabout has lost its flowers” Cllr Burnett then issued a fuller response.
In this she said : – “The Vale Council was planning to plant the roundabout with a herbaceous scheme with shrubs and perennials similar to what has been done with the Italian Gardens. It reduces the use of pesticides/herbicides and the need for watering. In that way it is much more environmentally friendly.”
Cllr Burnett also explains, for the first time, the appearance (and abrupt disappearance) of the concrete paving slabs laid on the roundabout in March this year – which were removed just days after being set in place
She says “A design was completed to facilitate the annual Christmas tree without damaging the planting. (Hence the paving) and was about to be implemented. However, in tandem Penarth Town Council was considering a change away from one Christmas tree . Once this was decided, the paving was removed and used elsewhere and a new design was developed. This meant changes to sockets for trees and electricity supplies and it had to be costed and scheduled into the Vale’s work programme. The roundabout will soon be planted up and be back to the standard we have all come to expect from the Vale’s parks team. ”
She added that Penarth Town Council “hadn’t actually made a decision, but by being in touch they avoided expensive planting having to be ripped out”. No comment has been made by Penarth Town Council – which, like the Vale of Glamorgan Council – is also Labour controlled.
With regard to Penarth Head Park, Cllr Burnett now says that “in the interim” the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Parks Team “have been designing planting for Penarth Head Park and working out which park should be their next green flag target.”
However Cllr Burnett had already announced last year that she had “signed off” on a planting programme to mitigate the dominant appearance of the monolithic new Penarth Head Park Viewing Platform. No flowers have yet appeared there.