No 2 Royal Buildings is the location of the proposed new hair and beauty salon - the name of which has not yet been made public

No 2 Royal Buildings is the location of the proposed new hair and beauty salon – the name of which has not yet been made public

Members of Penarth Town Council’s planning committee – who heard there are already more than 40 hairdressers in Penarth – this week decided to support a “change of use” of premises in Royal Buildings for yet one more.

The premises –  at 2 Royal Buildings –  had been converted for use as a photographic studio in 2006,  on condition that it not be used for any other form of business.  However, now – ten years on – an application had been made to operate the premises as a hair salon.

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

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

Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell) in the chair, said this was a  “fairly significant location in the Conservation Area site” and was next door to the Etc… restaurant.

Cllr Mark Wilson said the site was actually in “Gwyn’s Ward” [the ward of Cllr Gwyn Roberts Labour St Augustines]

Cllr Roberts however asserted that the borderline between the two wards “runs along the centre of Stanwell Road” and the premises were actually not in St Augustine’s Ward but in either Plymouth Ward or Stanwell Ward  – he wasn’t sure which.

Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

This assertion prompted considerable discussion . Veteran councillor Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward) settled the matter by declaring the premises were in his ward – Plymouth Ward. “I know my ward” – he said.

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Roberts said that the application was for change of use and entailed no change to the exterior of the building. The premises had been empty for some time.

Referring to Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell),  Cllr Roberts said  “I know Mark  will tell us how many hairdressers there are in Penarth”  – but said he would rather see the premises as operating commercial business than being left empty . He would raise  no objection to the change.

Cllr Philip Rapier (Labour ,St Augustines)

Cllr Philip Rapier (Labour ,St Augustines)

Cllr Philip Rapier (Labour St Augustines) said he totally agreed. It was a difficult site – sensitive to the Conservation Area.  He noted there were two similar businesses “successfully trading” nearby . He said he would support the application .

Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward) voted last night with Labour - against his own Conservative colleagues

Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward) considered that  Cllr Rapier had “just said it all”.

Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell) said that in the ward that he represented – [the other side of Royal Buildings]   “We have 3 hairdressers already. We have over 40 in Penarth – nevertheless  we’ve got a concentration of hairdressers in this area and it would be ludicrous if we said ‘no’ to this one“.

Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell)

Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell)

Cllr Wilson added that more customer footfall might help make the area even more viable than it already was and “hopefully, that would be good news” . It was better to have the new businesses  than have an empty shop-front in what he called “a premier part of Penarth” .

Cllr Anthony Ernest, Conservative Plymouth Ward

Cllr Anthony Ernest, Conservative Plymouth Ward

Cllr Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward) said  that “as usual” he took a slightly different view  from that of his “colleagues”.   “I take the view that a diversity of different types and classes of shops is important in a town” he said .

Cllr Ernest said he believed the condition imposed on the photographic studio had been applied to ensure that there was a range of shops in Royal Buildings which he described as “a very,very nice shopping area which has been long-established in the town “.  Once, there had been fishmongers, grocers, poulterers there –  but those classes had been “condensed down and down” .   Cllr Ernest thought the planning committee should try to ensure  that there was “diversification”  both in Royal Buildings and in Cornerswell Road.   Cllr Ernest said that if there was a vote then doubtless he would be outvoted – but that did not stop him making the point.

Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell ) said he was “fascinated that a Conservative was advocating a planned economy”.

Cllr Ian Courtney (Labour Cornerswell)

Cllr Ian Courtney (Labour Cornerswell)

Across the table, Cllr Ian Courtney (Labour Cornerswell)  said he wanted to pick up Cllr Ernest’s point and said  – to laughter  – “sat opposite you and being able to study your quiff I can see that you are a student of hairdressers . You must have had a lot of experience of hairdressers in Penarth” .

However, Cllr Courtney declared that “ We have to let the free market operate  – so I’m inclined to take the view of the chair”. He even envisaged Penarth becoming “ hairdressers’ quarter” or what he called a “centre of excellence and a concentration of economic activity”   .

Cllr Rosemary Cook (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Rosemary Cook (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Rosemary Cook (Labour St Augustines) said the premises had been empty for well over a year and ” I, for one, would be delighted to see them being used”.

Drawing the discussion to a conclusion, Cllr Thomas said that “with the exception of Comrade Ernest”  the consensus was that the committee supported the lifting of the condition imposed in the planning permission.

The final decision will be made by the Vale of Glamorgan Council.




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  1. Julia says:

    As one of the owners of Etc. We are delighted that permission has been given. We look forward to working with Leigharne & her team.

  2. Come to Penarth and experience its diversity, for a town of its size and population it has more than its fair share of eateries both sit downs and takeaways , want a haircut your spoilt for choice , why not visit our range of charity shops , if you fancy a drink we have a variety of bars , some welcoming , some not so. From one end of ‘our’ seafront you can visit the children’s play area and watch the many people walking their dogs and also look out to sea to admire the view . Or you can go to the other end of the seafront and see our failed and now unusable viewing platform. Yes diversity is Penarth’s watchword , providing its more of the same. I also expect the people who wasted money on the viewing platform will be removed from their posts , in any other situation they would have been told to close the door on their way out.

  3. Christopher David says:

    So after all that jawing and Mr Courtney’s excellent chuckle corner observation we find the vacuous VOG have to make a decision on a (minor) decision. What a complete and utter waste of time and money. Something needs scrapping. By the way- Cllr Ernest advocating a “planned economy” Jeezzz hardly.In fact free economy Penarth is lacking in some areas, could really do with a great and proper fishmonger with maybe a seasonal game dealer add on.

  4. Anne Greagsby says:

    Is it fair on all the other hairdressers? There are limits on the number of taxis.

  5. Jon says:

    Hair today, gone tomorrow.

  6. penarthblog says:

    It’s as simple as this, if this business has enough customers to make a decent profit it will succeed, if not it will fail, as always the market will decide and those wanting other types of businesses to open up, I suggest you get your cheque books out and then produce a robust business plan.

  7. Harry says:

    It’s a free market – if this hairdressers can get enough business to survive then it’s irrelevant that there are “more that 40 others”, and if it can’t get enough business then it will close down without the council even having to have dozens of ridiculous meetings about it. Good luck to them

  8. Paul says:

    You know what they say;
    “Hair today, gone tomorrow”….

  9. jm says:

    well, if out long standing councillors don’t even know which ward this major buildingbis in, it’ll be too much to expect them to talk to local eatate agents who have lists of new businesses looking for a chance to start up. If this premises has been empty for a year, it’ll be because it was never advertised openly as being available.
    wish the new business well, but we need more than yet another hairdressers to brow footfall. That must be hard for our councillors to achieve, what with it being next to the railway station and all. no one walks there, of course …..

  10. Mgg says:

    The council cannot AND should not manage the market . If you want a fishmonger then get off one’s sitting apparatus and open one . Then it’s about economies of scale whether the business tails off and ends up fin

  11. Guido says:

    In most cases of business uses, it is not the role of the planners to say yeah or nay on the grounds that an area is already served (or not as the case maybe) by a number of similar uses. The planning system is also not designed to ensure that an area is served by a mix of retail uses either.

  12. Lndsay says:

    A chance to have a pop at the council is always a welcome opportunity on here. However, let’s see it as it is in this case. There is a current restriction on the use of the premises and the council is being asked to lift it. That’s it. Whether a hairdresser, a fishmonger or a taxidermist is likely to be a successful business is a matter for an entrepreneur to decide. It matters not a jot what any of us think.

  13. Christopher David says:

    Quite correct. As I and others have inferred or stated its a free market economy. That doesn’t preclude someone thinking a (for example) fishmonger would be nice. No, the problem is we have a town council that’s made a decision and can’t action it. Why should this decision have to go to the VOG, its expensive bogus “cabinet” and £800 chairs.? We don’t want or need their opinion or ratification. Its a waste of time and money having this ridiculous two tier decision system. Whilst comments the like’s of Mgg’s re managing the market are correct- statements like go and open a fishmongers (for example) are vacuous and not relevant to the discussion. If Fred and Jane mused it would be nice if there as anther dentist in Penarth should they go and open one? – considering they are florists! No we have freedom of thought/speech and some try and exercise it. Anyway point is we have a Penarth council so empower it to make decisions that are binding or what’s the point?

    • Lindsay says:

      Many people on here choose to refer to the VoG Council as “Barry” and allege a bias in favour of that town. If that is the mindset then I would have thought that the opportunity to have an exclusively Penarth input into decision making would be welcomed.

    • Mgg says:

      Hi my comment regarding go open a fishmongers was in response to a comment suggesting that we don’t need a hairdressersv we need a fishmongers . I was saying perhaps without clarity that one can’t just throw out such a request and expect others to pick up the baton and take all the risk if one is not willing to do the same

  14. Christopher David says:

    Indeed Lindsay indeed. Yes Mgg- I think someone was just expressing an opinion or wish. That’s all.

  15. Tim Hughes says:

    “Why should this decision have to go to the VOG, its expensive bogus “cabinet” and £800 chairs.? We don’t want or need their opinion or ratification.”
    The reason is that the VoG is the unitary authority with responsibility for planning. It would be very expensive/inefficient if Penarth, Barry, Dinas, Cowbridge, etc. all had there own planning departments. It is debatable whether the Penarth Council input into the current process represents value for money but given the absolutely massive planning expertise among Penarth residents, as judged by contributions on planning issues in the PDN, it might be dangerous not to have an outlet for this regular tirade. As for myself I am content with the current system.

  16. Christopher David says:

    Ah “General Jobsworth” Hi Mr Hughes. OK well prove your point re costs i.e. “expensive/inefficiency”. So what you’re saying is we don’t need Penarth Town Council? What does the diatribe between “but given” and “regular tirade” actually mean? You appear to be saying that the public are self defeating. In other words a bit stupid and not worthy of an actionable opinion? Explain. You never have any original ideas! You just demonstrate your self interest- do you sit on one of the £800 chairs?

    • Tim Hughes says:

      Try not to put words in other peoples mouths, try not to ask so many questions, try not to give instructions to other people and try not to abuse them.

  17. Christopher David says:

    Ah yes- you are indeed trying 🙂 Oh and deeply contradictory- or is that confused?

    • Tim Hughes says:

      And try not always to have the last word, you know it’s a control issue. No need for a reponse!

      • Christopher David says:

        I don’t believe you see the irony of your last post TH hah ha. And now its doubled- oh joy 🙂

  18. Penileaks says:

    So, trying to get away from some of the bitchyness above, i’m amazed by the claimed 40+ hairdressers that are currently supposed to be in Penarth.
    My wife and I can think of only 15 and so we are missing 25 or so..
    If anyone on here has nothing better to do, try listing all the 40. We will be amazed if you can !

  19. Chris David says:

    Ohhh that’s a bit bitchy! And how many employees – i.e. hairdressers in each of the 15?

  20. Chris David says:

    A hairdresser as I understand it is a person who “dresses” hair, i.e. cuts styles etc. If you say there are 15 hairdressing establishments in Penarth and the median number of employees is 3 then 15 x 3 = 45. My guess and I’ll admit it is a guess there are far more. I have made some non scientific presumptions based on the figure you gave us, but they seem reasonable!

    • Penileaks says:

      I understand your explanation, but the article refers to, and I quote ‘ Members of Penarth Town Council’s planning committee – who heard there are already more than 40 hairdressers in Penarth – this week decided to support a “change of use” of premises in Royal Buildings for yet one more.’
      The article refers to a premises, not one singular hairdresser. This new salon may indeed only have one hairdresser working in it when it opens, but I doubt it.
      I still think that the reference to ‘…more than 40 hairdressers in Penarth’, means 40 different premises, does it not ?
      Anyway, it really does not matter, it was just an observation that we could not think of where they all were….but who in the end really cares as long as one can chose where to get once bonce tidied up occasionally !

  21. Chris David says:

    Ahhh and there was me thinking you’d be amazed heh 🙂 . OK well I’ve learnt in life to study the words carefully. There’s an old saying “never spoil a good story with the truth” NOT that PDN’s spinning of course (although someone may have spun the council!), but one must study the detail! So bottom line is I think we now agree there are more than 40 hairdressers in Penarth. I read it as premises ….for about 5 seconds. But yes- getting one’s bonce tidied is important is it not and Penarth is spoiled for choice.

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