Commercial water-sports could include dragon boat racing and kayaking at Cosmeston

Cosmeston Lakes Country Park could soon be seeing more activities like dragon-boat racing ,kayaking and rowing boat hire as the cash-strapped Vale Council aims to install new commercial money-making attractions there

The Labour-run Vale of Glamorgan Council is aiming to boost income at Penarth’s Cosmeston Lakes Country Park by introducing a range of money-spinning commercial attractions at the quiet and idyllic nature and wildlife reserve.

The council is inviting proposals from a number of private companies and sole traders to run new cash-generating franchise operations at what has been mostly – up until now – a placid place just to walk, to relax and to watch wildlife.

The 250 acre park – created from a former cement works and quarry – is regarded as a premier nature reserve which contains a number of  locations officially designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest

A dragon boat casts off from the quayside at Cosmeston .Such visitor rides could become a paying proposition

A dragon boat casts off from the quayside at Cosmeston .Such visitor rides could become a paying proposition

WATER BASED ACTIVITIES : Ideas currently being examined will mean a significant expansion in the range of “water-based leisure activities” at Cosmeston’s two lakes,  including hireable kayaks and rowing boatsThere are already 36 registered “lake users” who have licences to use the lakes  – ranging from sailing clubs to sub-aqua clubs and war-canoe competition organisers  to sub-aqua teams. [The main lake is 9 metres deep (the equivalent of 30 feet or almost 5 fathoms) the lake bed is strewn with rocks and debris and at least one wrecked car. The water temperature very cold].

Zip wire rides - as demonstrated here by Boris johnson - could become a commercial attraction at Cosmeston

Zip-Wire rides – as demonstrated here by Boris Johnson – could become a commercial attraction for visitors to  Cosmeston who want something more to do than just look at birds, plants and scenery

AERIAL AND CLIMBING ACTIVITIES:  Other ideas on the lists are  “high ropes” , Zip-Wire rides (including zip-wire instruction courses)  and artificial climbing walls.

MOUNTAIN-BIKE SKILLS AREA : The Vale Labour Council’s well-known penchant for promoting cycling also figures prominently in the plans – although at this stage it’s not known whether there’s cash support coming from cycling “charities“.

It's proposed to develop a "Mountain Bike Skills Area" within Cosmeston Country Park which will enable fee-paying customers to develop their all-terrain riding techniques.

It’s proposed to develop a “Mountain Bike Skills Area” within Cosmeston Country Park which will enable fee-paying customers to develop their all-terrain riding techniques.

Cllr Lis Burnett (Labour St Augustines) Deputy Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cllr Lis Burnett (Labour St Augustines) Deputy Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cycling is already permitted in the park  – but now it’s proposed to go one stage further and promote off-road cycling or “mountain biking”.

Cllr Lis Burnett (Labour St Augustines) Deputy Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council has been quoted as saying that agreements are already in place with a commercial entity for the creation of a dedicated “Mountain-Bike Skills Area”.

A PDN source says that subject to planning permission the Mountain Bike Skills Area  will be located in “a confined area” of the parkland and will be “tightly controlled”.

This will enable mountain bikers to practice and hone their specialist riding skills –  but these bikers will not be able venture further afield off-road – or off-path-  outside the “skills area” .

It’s being emphasised that what’s being proposed is not a “mountain bike trail ” as such  – as mountain biking is an activity which is not thought to mix well with pedestrians and horses.

The bride and groom hold hands as they deliver their wedding vows - with a script-board held up out of shot just in case they forget to say "I do"

A fictional bride and groom  hold hands as they deliver their wedding vows at a tented wedding in Cosmeston Country Park for TV. Soon Cosmeston may be hosting real weddings  on a regular basis

TOURISM BASED EVENTS:  Other ideas under consideration for Cosmeston are “tourism based events” including weddings ( the BBC TV Casualty soap has already filmed a fictional tented wedding at Cosmeston).

FIELD SPORTS : “Field sports”  [an umbrella description which is usually taken to include hunting, skeet and clay pigeon shooting and competitive angling] –  are also being considered as franchise opportunities at Cosmeston. It’s also planned to set up an archery range.

A commercial archery centre may be developed at Cosmeston Country Park - although it remains to be seen whether the arrows will bring "outrageous fortune" to the Vale Council

A commercial archery centre may be developed at Cosmeston Country Park – although it remains to be seen whether the arrows will bring “outrageous fortune” to the Vale Council

COMMERCIAL “FAYRES” : Cosmeston is also to be promoted as a venue for commercial fairs (or – to use the Vale Council’s preferred spelling  – “fayres” ). The council is also looking at what it calls other “innovative activities and retail opportunities“.

ICE CREAM PARLOUR : Although ice cream retailing is being restricted by the Vale on Penarth Pier, the council appears to have no such inhibitions at Cosmeston where a brand-new  “dog-friendly” ice cream parlour is to be installed at the main visitor centre.

The ice cream parlour would be installed on the left hand side of the visitor centre

The ice cream parlour will be “dog friendly” and will be installed on the left hand side of the visitor centre

It’s proposed to install the new “dog friendly” ice cream parlour to the left of the main entrance of the visitor centre, where the reception area used to be.The existing cafe to the right will remain as it is.   The Vale Council will have to submit a planning application (to itself) to carry out the work . So far no such application has been made

The council is said to have had discussions with “lots of businesses” in the course of putting together the plans for Cosmeston’s development and firms have made offers for the respective franchises in a “tendering process”  . An informed source said “it may or may not happen at the moment”.

There has however been a lukewarm reception for what little of the plans have – as yet –  been announced . Plaid Cymru has already registered concerns about the proposed developments and has demanded that the Vale Council comes clean about the full scope of what is actually being proposed . The party has warned the Vale Council not to proceed too quickly with these schemes.

Cllr Lis Burnett says “The council has, of course, taken great care in vetting all submissions to ensure that proposals complement what is already on offer at the country park and in no way disadvantage existing users of the park”  .

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  1. Christopher David says:

    Some of this may be good as long as it doesn’t impact on the essence of what Cosmeston is to many. By the way- “competitive angling” is knows as “match fishing”. And its not what angling is about for most. The description you use is worrying if it proves a metaphor for how things may develop. How about competitive yoga or speed birdwatching….ohhhh.

  2. Tom says:

    Sounds appalling. Now before all the pious party-goers come on saying ‘Don’t be such a negative spoilsport’, let’s all have a think where one can go these days to enjoy easily accessible countryside and wildlife? Cosmeston – until it turned into a ‘fayre’ – was one of the few places. Now they want to make it even more rammed? What is it with people seeing a green space and thinking let’s fill it with houses or concrete or “activities”. Imagine in a few years time how precious a patch of unspoilt greenery will be – when everywhere else is packed – but no, it’s got to be turned into an amusement park. I’m waiting for the Big Wheel.

  3. penarthblog says:

    In principal I’m in favour of more commercial activity at the lakes and at other locations as long as it’s done with sensitivity.

  4. Johnabutt says:

    If they allow canoes in unrestricted numbers there will be no wild ducks worth the name. Same with all the other wildlife, which by its very nature needs to be ‘wild’.

  5. Anne Greagsby says:

    Beware of ‘commercial’ activity in parks. Look at the once quiet Victoria Park in Cardiff which now has a huge blow up slide, trampolines and crazy golf which would be more at home on Barry Island. Is this what we want in Cosmeston? When will the vale cllrs come clean about what exactly they have in store for us?

  6. rodtharrod says:

    Making the park viable is one thing – profit-making is another. What about the extra transport this project will inevitably attract? More vehicles through Sully and lower Penarth to and from the Merrie Harrier. But like most things ‘Vale Council’ they sound like short-term ‘sticking plaster’ projects to plug holes in their budgets rather than long term well thought out plans for the electorate and residents that they are supposed to represent. The Vale Council have already mandated to turn Cosmestion car park into a 500 capacity park-and-ride to accommodate potentially 1,300 plus new houses being added to the immediate surrounding area. Before you build a house you make sure the foundations are solidly in place. Before doing any of these things the infrastructure must be in place. Labour in the Vale has set itself dogedly against any thought of a by-pass to relieve all these situations…when even the First Minister has agreed it would be considered if applied for by the Vale and Jane Hutt says ‘something must be done.’ That’s their own people! They’d rather turn Five Mile Road into a ‘Trunk Road’ – responsibility of the Assembly Government’ to justify the take over of the Airport…

  7. whatsoccurin says:

    The main attraction of Cosmeston is that it is a pleasant local backwater-there are not many places where you can go to the toilet and find a Viking standing next to you (extra for Dr Who!!) I cannot see commercialism taking off-it would immediately mean charging for Car Parking,many motorists would prefer Cardiff Bay or Whitmore Bay Barry. It is also a former quarry and many of us recall the years when swimmers were tempted, and a number drowned. Vale Council need to think this through.

  8. Jonny Rotten says:

    I have not thought some of these through, but they might raise some money?

    Let go Fracking: Speculative shale gas drilling for youngsters.
    Radical barbecues: Hire out Barbecues to all banned groups.
    Swan hunting: A right royal roast up, might be combined with the barbecues above.
    Peeking duck fest: Hire a canoe to catch the duck of your choice and sell it to the local take away.
    Dangerous kite fighting: Get those sharpened strings ready for great fun for all the family
    Woodland trail clearing, Cut down as much fire wood as you can carry.
    Is it Coal Today: Sponsor an eastern European miner to dig for coal.
    Clear the weeds: A small area where you can pay to cut down locally produced cannabis.
    Lake Diving: Learn how to get penalties from the best defenders in the world.
    Medieval Village Torture: See how they squirm when the village is demolished for not having the correct planning permission.

  9. snoggerdog says:

    the R.I.B.s that fly around the barrage lake are a pain,disturbing the wildlife on a regular basis,ive read somewhere that the lake district banned speedboats a year or two ago, i think if you travel in one of these boats its compulsory to scream as loud as possible.these councils say they are wildlife friendly but look at the way they give all the green spaces a buzzcut every couple of weeks denying the wildlife any cover or food.

  10. Paul says:

    They dug a big pit, filled it wiv water, now they wanna charge people for the privilege of visiting in their cars. Just fill it back it in. Sorted..

  11. Mark Foster says:

    Liz could put on evening performances of Sibelius 5th Symphony by the lake and you plebs could imagine the swans flying in from Finland

  12. Andrew Worsley says:

    I think they should have a huge blow up character at the entrance perhaps Mickey Mouse to begin with ???? and what about hooping the swans ‘everyone gets a prize’ just throw a hoola hoop over your selected swan , if successful you get a prize . Oh and we need a candy floss and brandy snap stall or two. And im all for a big dipper , all the thrills and spills and the squeals of delight from children and intoxicated young people , what fun?? Oh and can we have a hook a duck stall ? or maybe somehow hook a real duck attraction . more in keeping with the wildlife?? And before anyone says anything , no im not asking for a dodgem cars attraction , but I wouldn’t say no to a ‘Waltzer’ roundabout , what fun and can it be situated on the ground near to the existing café , that dog walkers now use? much better to have people enjoying themselves . I was going to mention a large ‘ swinging basket ‘ ride too but not quite sure as it would not seem right in a wildlife park unless we put it out of sight maybe thers a space somewhere near the medieval village now all the rare animals have gone? Oh one more thing there must be a miniature scenic railway im sure loads will love that , maybe housed in the rangers building once they are all sacked or given funny uniforms to wear. Yes I can see it being a money spinner much better than boring swans and ducks and the like !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!??????????????.

  13. AK says:

    The nature reserve area is in the lake beyond the bridge, and will probably remain undisturbed and out of bounds.

    Boat movements in the Bay don’t seem to disturb the wildlife, there are cygnets, ducklings and even wild mink in the Bay.

    It will happen slowly if at all – these are commercial options which need to be profitable to survive, so it’s not going to turn to Alton Towers by 2017.

    • Johnabutt says:

      You can regularly see people trampling all over the “out of bounds” reserve behind the lake. The whole idea is a joke, just send in the bulldozers and build a row of beach huts, then the council could rent them out!

  14. Tsawyer says:

    Maybe the vale council should charge a fee for entering Barry Island, as it seems no financial income from Barry!!

  15. Lindsay says:

    I can deal with most of these ideas but draw the line at inviting Boris. Unless, of course, he would agree to share a zip wire with his kindred spirit Andrew R T Davies. Now that would pull in the punters!

    • Steve says:

      The Vale council is enough of a circus without any additional performances.

      • Peter Church says:

        You got there first!
        The Lindsay twins are flag wavers for Labour VoG Council and for spending your money in general.
        I suspect “they” might be “both” in VoG supported quangos rather than in any money making enterprises.

      • Lyndsay Doyle says:

        As you have mentioned me, I will put you right.
        I am a businessman. I own three shops in Cardiff and employ fourteen people. I pay taxes, do not belong to any political party, and do not have any affiliation to any local authority.
        As usual, your assessment does not have any reference to any facts. You are so far off the mark I wonder how you could possibly manage to use a knife and fork without wounding yourself.
        As for spending money, my businesses support me and my family, and my employees and their families, and are supported by thousands of loyal customers.
        I deplore greed and corruption in business and politics, and I dislike small-mindedness in ill-informed people.
        On the matter of Cosmeston, many people visit for the wildness and the nature. I fail to see how a range of commercial ventures will add to the attraction. I give it a thumbs down.

  16. Fishhenge says:

    Can we have a McDonalds there?

  17. Joe blow says:

    As a young teenager I spent many many hours riding on the big ramps and hills now buried in the middle of the park.

  18. Christopher David says:

    Yup- corrugates sleds on the stone hills. Later I enjoyed the fishing but a few irresponsible prats put paid to that.

  19. Andrew Worsley says:

    Not one comment on my suggestions even though they were the best of the lot , I bet no one had the same wisdom or had my flair for ideas? Oh well what can you do when the populace is bereft of ideas and a wise person comes along and adds ideas?.

  20. Essie says:

    I’m sure the wildlife will be thrilled.

  21. Andrew Worsley says:

    No you cant have a McDonalds at Cosmeston… Fishenge you silly person, its a wildlife park , whatever next?, I only mentioned a discreet stall or two and a few fairground type rides etc , nothing much that will disturb the tranquillity of the wildlife and the music on the Waltzer will have to be under several decibels so it cannot be heard 100 feet away. A Mc Donalds in a wildlife park whatever next ???????????.

  22. Christopher David says:

    In the interests of balance and to show that I don’t just agree with Mr Church, (who has plenty of history to draw from in his making his observations) without thought- I find Lindsay the cowards and Mr Doyle’s comments amusing and pertinent. Well Lindsay’s musings about Boris and RT (although we badly need some non Labour balance in Wales) are amusing and Mr Doyle’s very well said. If only Mr Doyle had shown the same balance in previous posts. Well Mr Doyle you are the kind of businessman I applaud and I agree that Cosmeston should not be (over) commercialised. I do think there are activities that could compliment the park, but blatant “Barry Island” style commercialisation must be resisted with vigour and intensity. However- some of the activities mentioned above could be complimentary and educational. Trouble is, who trusts the VOG to show balance, taste and decorum. The essence of the park and it’s wildlife areas must be preserved. Who ever would have thought we’d see Bitterns in Penarth? Lets see a plan before we completely condemn ay!

  23. Andrew Worsley says:

    The idea of attractions to generate revenue and attract more visitors should be thrown open to the public to suggest suitable attractions and given time to assess the ideas and feasibility. Interested people could vote via this very media for example or another website and a all the info looked at after a set period.

  24. Max Wallis says:

    Mountain biking skills centre! Only a politician could make out mountain biking could be tightly restricted in area and have no impact on other park users. Giving youngsters a BMX track in the northern quarry might make sense (, but wouldn’t make money so the Vale politicians exclude it. Likewise free swimming in the second lake (tolerated at low level for years).
    What they conveniently overlook are the buried drums of chemical waste, stacked in the norther quarry till 1980, then covered over by clever South Glamorgan council. Stand up Cllr Mike Sharp of Barry, former chairman of the South Glamorgan County Council’s Environment Committee, who promised to deal with the “toxic time bomb”. Sooner or later the chemicals from leaking drums will seep into the lake. The Vale of Glamorgan discontinued the monitoring in the 90s, so we’ll only know when anglers start reporting deformed fish in the lake. Or when some student project analyses water creatures for mercury and other toxic metals.

  25. Christopher David says:

    There was a huge chemical, lime and ex military waste dump bordering the mile lane on the Byrd Crescent quarry. This also bordered the stream that runs along the mile lane and empties onto a deep well adjacent to the bridge between to two lakes. Now “buried” under water I think this was a pump house. Almost certainly this will be polluting. I remember this from the 50’s and 60’s.

  26. John Wilson says:

    Just to add to this discussion re water based activites, esp. the suggested wakeboarding. It hasn’t been mentioned here as far as I can see, but acc to the council’s own web site {], both lakes at Cosmeston as designated as SSSI [Site of Special Scientific Interest] due to the presence of a UK endangered aquatic plant, Starry Stonewort. Thus there would have to be a full EIA {Environmental Impact Assessment] before anything could be considered. Wakeboarding would generate too much disturbance in the form of wash and waves, in my view, both for the protected plant and for water level nesting birds such as Mute Swan, Coot, Moorhen, and Great Crested Grebe, and also reed bed nesters such as Reed Warbler and Reed Bunting. These birds do nest there despite assertions in various Facebook threads that no birds do.

  27. Chris David says:

    Reported over 6,000 signatures on the anti Wakeboarding petition now. Surely even the “Kabinet” Kommissar’s (sic) of the VOG wont ignore that. Cabinet…. the committee of senior ministers responsible for controlling government policy. Or jokingly a grand-ed up bunch seated on £800 chairs made by Chip-in-Vale. Elections soon. I’m very naïve so I’m hoping for some independents standing on a no more greenfield building in the vale ticket.

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