NORTHCLIFF LODGE “LITTLE BOXES” SCHEME – OPPOSED BY PENARTH COUNCIL – GETS VALE PLANNERS OK

This watercolour impression of the development makes it look a lot greener than it would actually look in reality when viewed from Cardiff, Cardiff Bay or the Cardiff Barrage . The development would comprise 30 apartments in three blocks built at different heights - swamping the Headland with structures in place of natural tree-cover

This watercolour impression of the development makes it look a lot greener than it would actually look in reality when viewed from Cardiff, Cardiff Bay or the Cardiff Barrage . The development would comprise 30 apartments in 3 blocks built at different heights – swamping the Headland with structures in place of natural tree-cover

A controversial plan to fell several trees and build 30 box-styled apartments in 3 blocks on what remains of the forested headland of Penarth on the site of “Northcliff Lodge” – has  been recommended for approval by the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s planning department.

The scheme is now due to come up for consideration next week by the Vale of Glamorgan’s Labour-controlled full planning committee  – a committee which rarely votes against the recommendations of its so-called “professional officers“.

The development would occupy a dominant site on the iconic Penarth headland

The development would occupy a dominant site on the iconic Penarth headland

Details of the scheme were first reported by PDN in December 2015 . Fuller details were later published on April 1st 2016 this year http://tinyurl.com/jfy65ts.

Penarth Town Council’s planning committee considered the application in April and voted to recommend that it be rejected  (See http://tinyurl.com/joq9d9f )because it would be:-

  • An OVERDOMINANT form of development that could threaten the future of the
    listed buildings, Custom House and Marine Building.
  • An OVERCROWDED form of development.
  • It would be DETRIMENTAL TO THE ICONIC HEADLAND – known as the Bear’s Head and believed to be where the name of “Penarth” is derived.
  • Penarth Council voiced particular concern about the potential loss of so many trees

However, now that the Vale Council’s planners have – as usual – ignored the comments of Penarth Town Council , and have given the scheme their blessing, the decision that really matters is that of the full Vale Council planning committee – which is to be taken on Thursday next week.

An architectural impression of the scheme as view from the North - or the Cardiff Bay Barrage

An architectural impression of the scheme as view from the North – or the Cardiff Bay Barrage

The proposed Northcliff Lodge 30-dwelling scheme is described in the planning  documentation as being “overtly contemporary” –  but it’s been castigated by some critics who call it “Little Boxes” – a reference to the 1960s hit record by Pete Seeger which satirised such developments and their attendant lifestyles.

The distinguished environmentalist Dr Max Wallis of Friends of the Earth is opposing the Northcliff Lodge development

The distinguished environmentalist Dr Max Wallis of Friends of the Earth is opposing the Northcliff Lodge development

The scheme has also been criticised by the environmental group Friends of the Earth. Dr Max Wallis who is planning coordinator for Barry & Vale Friends of the Earth has accused planning officers of “ bending the rules” in not providing the amount of parking-spaces which would normally required by such a development.

He says that the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s new Parking Standards document seeks high density development with reduced parking places near those town centres which have a range of facilities and are served by public transport. Dr Wallis says  “The Northcliffe Lodge site is not “near”  as in their definition, it does not have easy walking access to even a foodstore, whilst the minimal hourly bus service does not run from 7am to 7pm as the Standards require.”

Dr Wallis says that if the Vale Council planners applied their normal criteria, – which would include car parking space for each dwelling plus “amenity space” [ i.e. gardens] , a total of less than 10 dwellings would be allowed .

Dr Wallis says the planning officers’ acceptance of a “local company” applying for 30 apartments with quite inadequate car-space “suggests encouragement from the top”.

He also adds that “Labour politicians do argue for going-easy on parking standards when a development includes ‘affordable’/social housing.    Yet at Northcliffe Lodge, the developer is wriggling out of the obligation to provide 40% affordable housing on the argument that the service charges they plan to levy would be over much for social tenants.” In conclusion Dr Wallis says  “How curious that officers would bend the rules for crammed yuppy development on Penarth’s iconic cliff overlooking Cardiff Bay”.

[PDN NOTE “NORTHCLIFF” AND “NORTHCLIFF LODGE”

Northcliff House (Photo by Noah Shepherd)

Northcliff House (Photo by Noah Shepherd)

The original site of the existing Northcliff development was once dominated by the massive Swiss-chalet style mansion “Northcliff” which was once the home of one of the shipbuilding Batchelor brothers .

North Cliff Lodge - a Swiss-style mini-mansion in its own right valued at £1,200,000 was the "lodge" of the main house Northcliff . It would ibe demolished to make way for the new development

North Cliff Lodge – built in the same style – but to a smaller scale than Northcliff itself  – served as the “lodge” to the main mansion. It still stands – but perhaps not for much longer    

 The smaller house “North Cliff Lodge” was built as the lodge to the main Northcliff mansion. The lodge still stands and was last valued at £1,200,000. It would be demolished if the the development is given approval on Thursday night.

The Batchelor brothers’ shipyard was in Cardiff – on land they had to rent from the Bute family . This is what their yard looked like :-

The Cardiff shipbuilding yard of the Batchelor brothers - both of whom lived in Penarth

The Cardiff shipbuilding yard of the Batchelor brothers – both of whom lived in Penarth

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14 Responses to NORTHCLIFF LODGE “LITTLE BOXES” SCHEME – OPPOSED BY PENARTH COUNCIL – GETS VALE PLANNERS OK

  1. The Tax payer says:

    Can’t see what the problem is with this. After all we now have Penarth heights to look at and that’s no oil painting

  2. Ivor Bagman says:

    Has anyone mentioned the
    Sink hole in Northcliffe car park ?

  3. CelticMan says:

    I smell a 🐀

  4. Richard says:

    Wouldn’t want to be the developer. Won’t be long before the cracks appear.

  5. Penarthal says:

    Hideous.

  6. Must be something wrong with people who wish to build homes on unstable land especially on cliff tops , I wonder if we will get cracks appearing in the Penarth Heights development before long ,now that they cut down the trees that helped stabile and anchor the land on the cliff face just for a better view of Cardiff.

  7. It's me.... says:

    All together now:
    Little boxes on the hillside,
    Little boxes made of ticky tacky,1
    Little boxes on the hillside,
    Little boxes all the same.
    There’s a green one and a pink one
    And a blue one and a yellow one,
    And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
    And they all look just the same.

    And the people in the houses
    All went to the university,
    Where they were put in boxes
    And they came out all the same,
    And there’s doctors and lawyers,
    And business executives,
    And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
    And they all look just the same.

    And they all play on the golf course
    And drink their martinis dry,
    And they all have pretty children
    And the children go to school,
    And the children go to summer camp
    And then to the university,
    Where they are put in boxes
    And they come out all the same.

    And the boys go into business
    And marry and raise a family
    In boxes made of ticky tacky
    And they all look just the same.
    There’s a green one and a pink one
    And a blue one and a yellow one,
    And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
    And they all look just the same.

  8. sjleworthy says:

    It’s almost invisible to human society. Who actually cares?

  9. Gretchla says:

    so long as the land is stable – why not?? When it comes to new builds, people seem to get very hung up about squares that don’t have triangles on top!

  10. Anne Greagsby says:

    Shows up the Vale labour council for ignoring/turning a blind eye to their own policies 40 trees with TPOs to be felled. A historic building demolished. Less than required parking as its so easy to walk up and down the steepest hills in Penarth on bad pavements with few dropped kerbs to the town centre. No affordable housing either. So the big question is – who profits?

    • Tom says:

      Affordable housing, no thank you. Keep the riff raft out i say. Build you dream slum elsewhere, maybe ely… Anne why are you so infatuated with Penarth when you don’t “officially” live here??

  11. Bryn says:

    A disgusting ,horrible, “development”.Why have a planning department when it destroys the amenities -until there is nothing to conserve?

  12. Jane Foster says:

    Shame the council doesn’t like to plant trees as much as architects like to draw them. Those pictures wouldn’t look half so attractive without all that imaginary greenery.

    Hasn’t the sinking of the Titanic – sorry, I meant the Penarth Head Platform taught anyone any lessons about the quality of the remaining land on the Headlands?

    Does anyone know what the owners of the Custom House think about all this development immediately above their planned hotel?

Comments are closed.