With next May’s council elections less than 7 months away – what some regard as a suspiciously-significant number of long-awaited public-works in Penarth suddenly seem to be under way – all at once.
No doubt by pure coincidence, much of the work is due to be completed shortly before the next local elections – which will cement-in the next Vale of Glamorgan and Penarth Town Councils for unprecedented 5-year-long terms of office – running until 2022.
PENARTH’S CLOCK ROUNDABOUT
On Penarth’s Clock roundabout – the veritable central hub of the town – work is under way on installing sockets for no less than three Christmas trees which the Labour-controlled Penarth Town Council is commissioning this year.
The council has already been criticised for not planting any of the usual flowers on the roundabout this summer- and for pouring commercial weedkiller on it – allegedly to thwart attempts by local environmentalists to grow marigolds there. The cost of the latest construction work on the roundabout is not yet known.
Also coming soon for Penarth are new public benches at locations yet to be confirmed.
PENARTH HEAD VIEWING PLATFORM
Meanwhile on Penarth Head, the Vale Council has finally got around to carrying out a long-delayed attempt to “landscape” its much criticised 150 tonne engineering-brick and reinforced concrete “viewing platform” .
Twelve months after being promised, a planting of shrubs has at last now taken place around the base of the dark-grey mausoleum-like turret in an attempt to “soften” the visual impact of the Soviet-style edifice. Three expensive silver birch saplings have been planted at its entrance.
No work, however, has been done to rectify another major Vale Council blunder – the complete absence of any public information for visitors to the viewing platform.
Several recesses for information plaques around the parapet of the platform were misaligned by mistake and wrongly line up with local houses and flats, rather than towards the coastal features to be seen across the Bristol Channel.
CLIFF-TOP PLAY AREA
Cliff-Top Play Area: Earlier today PDN confirmed the Vale Council’s £100,000 so-called “cutting edge” upgrade of the existing play facilities at Cliff Walk .
Already some local residents have commented that there’s nothing wrong with the present facilities and that there are other play areas in Penarth which are in a far worse condition and in much greater need of attention.
PENARTH LEISURE CENTRE
As previously reported on PDN, the Vale Council has announced a further major £1,047,000 renovation at Penarth Leisure Centre – again at council-tax payers’ expense.
This will include a revamp of the long-neglected changing rooms at the centre where hinges are missing from some doors and there are lockers which are unlockable. On completion, most swimmers will now be expected to use cubicles in a new combined “unisex” facility.
Some local residents appear not to regard the plethora of public works and the imminence of the coming elections as a pure co-incidence.
Local residents posting on Twitter appear to suggest the Vale Council’s Labour administration may be using Council-Tax-Payer’s money to indulge in some window-dressing ahead of next May’s local government elections.