Last night Penarth Conservative councillors queried the minutes of the Octo 20thg planning committee meeting at which Labour members gagged any debate on a huge Taylor WImpey housing development

Last night Penarth Conservative councillors queried the minutes of the Oct 20th planning committee meeting at which Labour members gagged any debate on a huge Taylor Wimpey housing development

The row over a  Labour Party move to gag all discussion of a contentious Taylor Wimpey development in Sully –  last night spilled over into a second Penarth Town Council  planning committee meeting – with a Conservative councillor being called “out of order”.

It began when the chairman Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell) was about to attend to the formality of signing-off the minutes  [the formal record of last month’s meeting] as being a true record.

Town Clerk Emma Smith whose planning minutes were queried by Conservative councillors

Town Clerk Emma Boylan whose planning minutes were queried by Conservative councillors

However the minutes – prepared by the council’s town clerk Emma Boylan –  reflected none of the dissention and disagreement which had taken place in that meeting.

The minutes simply stated only that Cllr Rhiannon Birch (Labour Cornerswell) had proposed a motion which had been seconded by Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines) “To thank Taylor Wimpey for the opportunity to comment. The  committee feels it is not appropriate to comment on this application but would welcome the opportunity to comment on future applications.”

To this, Town Clerk Boylan had added the anodyne line “The motion was passed by 6 votes to 2″ .

Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell) chairman of Penarth planning committee

Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell) chairman of Penarth planning committee

When last night’s committee reached the point when the chairman Cllr Neil Thomas was to sign-off the minutes of that October 20th meeting as being a true record, Cllr Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward) intervened to say he had raised a query with the Town Clerk about the minutes and asked if Cllr Thomas had been informed of this.

Cllr Thomas said he had been notified –  but said he was not entirely sure what the substance of the query was.

Cllr Thomas said “A motion was made which was voted upon. There was no amended motion or an attempt to make a further motion so ” – he told Cllr Ernest – “I’m not really sure what your comment means”.

Cllr Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Ernest said Cllr Rhiannon Birch had proposed a motion that the council should “not comment” on the application [ to develop 150 houses on land west of Swanbridge Road Sully].

Cllr Ernest reminded members that he had disagreed with that. He had said the council should comment on the scheme as it was “a matter of interest to this council and it would affect the Penarth area.   Cllr Ernest said his recollection was that Cllr Clive Williams had seconded his motion.

Cllr Thomas disagreed with Cllr Ernest’s recollection. “There was no seconding going on – because there was no motion – Cllr Ernest had made a comment – he said – but had “not put forward a motion of any sort”.

Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward) was stopped in this tracks.

Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward)  recalled having spoken  – but not to second a motion.

Cllr Thomas said “I see no difficulty with the minutes. They record the 6-2 which was the vote ” .

Cllr Ernest said it would have been “appropriate if the minutes had included some comment that there was a vote on the issue”. Cllr Thomas said this was already indicated by the minutes .

Cllr Rhiannon Birch (Labour Cornerswell)

Cllr Rhiannon Birch (Labour Cornerswell)

Cllr Rhiannon Birch’s motion –  at the October 20th meeting –  had had the effect of freezing the debate and preventing  members of Penarth Town Council’s planning committee from discussing the  Taylor Wimpey  application .

Cllr Rhiannon Birch ( who was not present last night) and her husband Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell)  are “twin-hatted” councillors who are salaried members of the Vale of Glamorgan Council and are also members of its planning committee.

[ PDN Note: The Labour-controlled Vale Council’s so-called Local Development Plan (LDP) is proposing the building of 10,000 new homes in the Vale – hundreds of which are to be developed in and around the village Sully, immediately south of Penarth, raising issues of huge future pressures on roads, schools and local infrastructure. The plans in the LDP have already triggered protests in Sully and raised fears of massive commuter traffic jams through Penarth in years to come. ].

Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell)

Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell)

Cllr Wilson said council minutes customarily only record the decisions made . He said that if notes on the councillors’ discussions were included in the minutes  “then we go down the lines of verbatim minutes. You know and I know all the problems that would involve”. Cllr Wilson said that the existing procedure was consistent with that of the Vale of Glamorgan Planning Department  – “minutes just record the decision” he said.

Cllr Ernest disagreed. He said it would have been appropriate for the  October 20th minutes of Penarth Town Council’s planning committee to have noted that there had been a discussion on the issue . He said that all that the minutes actually showed was “Cllr Rhiannon Birch’s motion – end of story – and the subsequent vote”.

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines) [who is also a salaried member of the Vale of Glamorgan Council and a member of the Vale Council’s Planning Committee] said We do not have verbatim discussions in there. I seconded the motion – that’s all of it there and I think that is perfectly adequate. The very last line shows that there was not unanimity – that is enough”

Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward) said he understood Cllr Ernest’s  point of view. The way the minutes were written had made it appear that there had not been a difference of opinion between councillors.

In the chair Cllr Neil Thomas said “OK maybe in future we can change” but whilst he was speaking Cllr  Gwyn Roberts interjected to say “We have a procedure, chair. We move progress”.

Cllr Ernest said he was fully entitled to raise a matter relating to the accuracy of the minutes.

From the chair Cllr Thomas said  “You’ve heard the discussion. We are not going to reflect on it any further”.  He said the minutes represented an “accurate and consistent approach”  – and they were prepared in the same way as under the previous administration.

Cllr Ernest said “Not entirely” and persisted with his point until he was called “out of order” by Cllr Thomas in the chair, who said there was a motion on the table that the meeting should progress to other business .

The vote to progress to other business was 6 For and 2 Against ( the two opponents being Cllrs Ernest and Williams).



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  1. Paul says:

    These people are poisonous, it’s time they all went and twin hatting banned. Our servants only serve themselves. Again, ask yourself what have these people done for YOU when the next election comes along, do they represent themselves or YOU? Please don’t just switch off your brain and vote for the incumbent or along party lines. Change is long overdue.

  2. penarthblog says:

    Reminds me of an episode of Yes Prime Minister called ‘Man Overboard’. Well worth watching because that storyline along with many others are still relevant today.

  3. Christopher David says:

    What is going on at! Dodgy dealings over building applications in the VOG and certain councillors in Penarth still after all that trying to deny democracy and gaga debate. I think the police need to be called into Penarth as well as the VOG. A time wasting motion thanking Wimpey! What! Ayee me-Lord Wimp thanking yew kindly. Good on Cllr Earnest for sticking up for democracy and pointing out the absolute certainty that this development will impact of Penarth. Surely those councillors denying free speech cant be too thick to see that? No- it may very well be an attempt to gag and deceive by some more interested in party politics than the public they supposedly represent?

  4. Anne Greagsby says:

    Disgraceful. The town council has a duty to put forward views on applications that impact on Penarth. It seems that the labour party want to aid this development against the wishes of the people of Sully and Penarth. If we can’t even have accurate minutes you know we must kick out these labour cllrs at the election in May.

  5. Max Wallis says:

    What’s this shadow boxing? It’s not the 150 Wimpey houses, but the 576 houses the Vale Council leaders want at Upper Cosmeston Farm. Labour’s LDP is in trouble, so they want to dump a huge dormitory suburb at Cosmeston. Formally, both are in the Sully ward. Both are expected to use Penarth as ‘service centre’. The Town Council can refuse to discuss it, but Penarth Civic Society and Friends of the Earth have not been reticent in supporting Sully Community Council and the Save Sully Group in rejecting these Cardiff-serving dormitories. SSG consultants use the Council’s own criteria to show the developments are quite the opposite of “sustainable”, in terms of access to facilities, The poor public transport will get little use and hundreds of cars will load our congested roads. Rather than admit this, double-hatted Cllrs indulge in shadow boxing..

  6. it’s still a matter of the Council being in a difficult position of having to address the wider housing crisis issues & not being able to please everyone!!
    I’ll still vote for the housing developments & it takes big developers like Wimpey to build them. We’ll need a few more roads & bypasses to make it work though!!

    • Paul says:

      Heather, your twitter feed is just one long pro-building, anti-UKIP rant. You seem to support building no matter what part of the country is involved so no big surprise you would vote for more houses and by passes. Your support seems unconditional, do you own a concrete supplying company?

      • Paul says:

        In fact your whole twitter feed looks like providing retweets for building companies, do they pay you?

  7. Christopher David says:

    And the little matter of open government- democracy and free speech? As for roads and bypasses if the WG spent money of the transport structure between Cardiff and the Valleys “they” could build plenty of affordable housing in those regions which compared to us are relatively lowly populated and need all the help they can get to boost their local economies! Also plenty of brownfield sites that don’t impact on a much crowded environment (although I think its you that doesn’t like trees and considers them a health a safety issue- apologies if I’m wrong 🙂 ) Ms Slinky its empire building politics by the wannabees that think they sit in cabinets- not an attempt to address a housing crisis in this area.

  8. Martin Coffee says:

    The sad thing is that if we build any more roads people wont get anywhere faster. The jams further along the journey will just be that much bigger to compensate.

    As for our dual hatted representatives on the Penarth Town Council. It seems to me that the Council is effectively controlled by the Vale which is totally wrong.. Unfortunately it will require a change in the law to prevent this happening.

  9. Frank Evans says:

    Has anyone wondered why council Phil Rapier stopped posting on here?.
    He was told on the qt that certain labour councillors found it annoying and requested he stop. Which he appears to have done. So much for free speech 😅

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