I WAS PUSHED – SAYS PLAID CANDIDATE AT CONTROVERSIAL NORTHCLIFFE LODGE ‘SITE-VISIT’

Amongst those at today's site visit at Northcliff Lodge were

Amongst those at today’s site visit at Northcliff Lodge were (left to right)  the distinguished environmentalist Professor Max Wallis, the site owner Mr Mark Evans, Anne Greagsby (Plaid Cymru candidate for St Augustine’s in May’s Vale elections) , Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward ) a member of the Vale of Glamorgan Council  Planning Committee who is a vehement critic of the project, and Penarth Times reporter Anthony Lewis

Anne Greagsby – one of the two Plaid Cymru candidates standing for election to St Augustine’s Ward in May’s Vale of Glamorgan Council elections – has claimed she was “pushed” on the shoulder by the owner of the Northcliff Lodge site – during a “site-visit” by members of the Vale Planning committee today.

This morning Ms Greagsby along with other members of Plaid Cymru, joined local residents living in the nearby Northcliff flats and the neighbouring Mariner’s Heights apartments, to lobby councillors as they arrived to tour the site.

Planning Committee members  attending the site visit included Cllr Chris Franks (Plaid Dinas Powys) wearing stocking cap back to camera) Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines), Cllr Fred Johnson (planning committee chairman) , Cllr Andrew Parker (Conservative Cowbridge) and Cllr Howard Hamilton (Labour Illtyd Ward Barry)

Planning Committee members attending the site visit included Cllr Chris Franks (Plaid Dinas Powys) wearing stocking cap back to camera) Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines), Cllr Fred Johnson (planning committee chairman) , Cllr Andrew Parker (Conservative Cowbridge) and Cllr Howard Hamilton (Labour Illtyd Ward Barry)

This morning’s visit was in advance of tonight’s meeting of the Vale of Glamorgan Council planning committee at which the planning application to build 30 box-like apartments in three blocks on the steep escarpment will be decided.

Amongst the concerns expressed by local people are lack of parking provision, the loss of the natural tree cover which gives Penarth Headland its distinctive appearance and the impact on the remaining local wildlife.

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 three blocks built at different heights – swamping the Headland with structures in place of natural tree-cover

Amongst the Vale planning committee members attending today’s site visit were chairman Cllr Fred Johnson – who is said to have told the demonstrators that the site-meeting was “private”, Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines), Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward) , Cllr Chris Franks (Plaid Cymru Dinas Powys) , Cllr Andrew Parker (Conservative Cowbridge)    Cllr Howard Hamilton (Labour Illtyd) . Also in attendance were Marcus Goldsworthy, the Vale Council’s head of regeneration and planning and the project’s architect Chris Loyn who is president of Penarth Civic Society.

Ms Greagsby alleges that the ‘landowner’ –  Mr Mark Evans –  was “very aggressive and pushed me on my painful shoulder where I smashed it (have 11 screws in it)” .

When Penarth Times reporter Anthony Lewis took a photo the owner of Northcliff Lodge  landowner complained

When Penarth Times reporter Anthony Lewis took a photo, the owner of Northcliff Lodge complained

Penarth Times reporter, Anthony Lewis, was also remonstrated-with and ordered to leave the site after attempting to take a photograph. Ms Greagsby said the landowner – Mr Evans –  had told her he had called the police – but no officers had actually arrived by the time the demonstrators left

Ms Greagsby says “Many local residents have genuine concerns about this development and sent a petition to the council opposing it”. The scheme has also been recommended for refusal by Penarth Town Council. 

One local resident tried but failed to get councillors to listen to her. She said 30 more apartments would mean 60 more cars in streets already so solid with parked cars she had to take her life in her hands to step-out to catch a bus   .

One elderly local local resident tried – but failed –  to get councillors to listen to her at Northcliff Lodge this morning. She said 30 more apartments would mean 60 more cars being parked in streets already so solidly packed with vehicles that bus drivers were unable to see her at the bus stop. She had to take her life in her hands every time she stepped -out to flag down a bus .

Some local residents taking part in the demonstration today had no political allegiances at all, but were opposed to the effect the scheme would have on traffic, parking and not least on local wildlife.

Much of the local wildlife has already been decanted from the former forested area overlooking the Marina which was controversially felled by the Vale Labour administration last year. They oppose  the potential loss of  the remaining tree cover around Northcliffe Lodge, which is  the only forested area left in the district.

Tonight’s meeting of the Vale of  Glamorgan Council’s Planning Committee – which will decide the matter – is due to begin at 18:00 at the Civic Offices in Barry.

 

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23 Responses to I WAS PUSHED – SAYS PLAID CANDIDATE AT CONTROVERSIAL NORTHCLIFFE LODGE ‘SITE-VISIT’

  1. Kevin Mahoney says:

    Can’t say that I’m overly impressed by the proposals myself. However I think it only fair to point out one or two possible relevent points in the interests of fairness in regards to the site meeting that appear to have been missed in the report, bearing in mind of course that I am one of the fiercest critics of the Vale planning department on many occasions.

    1) For better or for worse the site meetings are official council meetings which are private council meetings and the public are not allowed to contribute, wheras they are allowed to address the full planning committee later if they have applied to speak at the formal planning committee meeting this evening.

    Personally I would prefer it if members of the public were also allowed a brief spell towards the end of site meetings to express their concerns.

    2) When the meetings are held on or near to publicly assessible land then members of the public/ protestors etc are quite entitled to stand around and listen to the presentation without being able to contribute. Even local councillors not on the planning committee are no longer allowed to address the site meetings but must wait until the evenings full planning meeting to speak.

    Before or when the meetings are called to an end then the public are quite entitled to talk to attending councillors who may or may not wish to engage with people present. I always listened and spoke to members of the public who wished to engage when on the planning committee whilst other councillors didn’t wish too, you would have to ask them why not.

    3) The owners site is private and he/she is under no obligation to allow anyone on site ( including planning committee members) so I’m not sure why anyone would be under the false impression that they can march onto somebody else’s property without permission

    4) Legitmate protest is fine but demanding access without permission to someone else’s property to partake in a site meeting to which you are not allowed to participate in probably isn’t.

    I’m sure that a number of people from the extended local area, including as mentioned myself, have genuine concerns in regards to this development but there does seem to be more than a hint of political electioneering from the usual suspects featured amongst the crowd.

    • Matt says:

      Kevin, can you post here how the St Augustine’s ward councillors voted please?

      • Kevin Mahoney says:

        Hi Matt,my apologies for the lateness in replying to your query but I had missed it in the welter of other comments.

        The answer to your question is that the two councillors who represent St Augustines are Lis Burnett and Gwyn Roberts. As mentioned in the report above this one describing events at the evening’s planning committee meeting Gwyn Roberts spoke out and voted against the application and Lis Burnett declared an interest and ruled herself out from voting.

  2. Freddie says:

    How Chris Loyn has the nerve to be president of Penarth Civic Society is beyond me though no doubt his hip, happening followers will explain to the rest of us plebs that his modern-day designs are ‘award-winning’.
    What are the objectives of the ‘civic society’ supposed to be? Filling back alleys and woodland areas with glass and concrete structures the likes of Kevin McCloud would pontificate on as ‘contemporary design’?
    What Penarth desperately needs is a Wildlife Society to try and stick up for the fast-diminishing areas of natural habitat.
    People are a disgrace, building all the time and after the money.

    • Ann Other says:

      The reason people are building is that there is an urgent demand for new housing. In fact, we are not doing it ‘all the time’ and therefore building enough. We are certainly not producing enough of the kind of housing represented by this project – the ‘little boxes’ (to quote the placard slogan copied from the idiotic, snobby old folk song) so disdained by the ancient liberal and socialist elite but which house young families.

      • Tomos says:

        Yeah right, all about putting a roof over the head of the Cratchit family, is it, and not a bit about the idiotic greedy house builders and their associated cronies who benefit financially. Who are you trying to kid?

      • Matt says:

        Ann, none of the proposed houses are classed as “affordable” or “social housing”, so not for the young families you think they’ll cater for. These are premium builds with high service charges designed to maximise revenue from the available land.

    • snoggerdog says:

      its obvious to me what is taking place here “nostalgia”,this site owner is not thinkingof the bucks hes gonna make,whats happening is hes missing the old billybanks ,and can see an opportunity to give back to us northerners “YE OLDDE BILLYBANKS FLATS.and ive got a new motto for your site.and it is “you cant see the trees for the flats”.

  3. Matt says:

    Common sense would say that Penarth will grind to a halt shortly because of the bottlenecks at the Cogan roundabout and Barons Court Junction.

    With Billy Banks 2 (Penarth Heights), The Cog development, and the proposed extra houses at Lavernock, the schools, roads and surgeries won’t be able to cope.

    However, the construction industry will walk away with their pockets full, as always whilst the residents are left with a demonstrably lower quality of life.

    • Ford Prefect says:

      Surely Billy banks 2 (Penarth Heights) is just replacing existing housing on a brown field site?? How is this making the situation worse???

      • Matt says:

        Billy Banks was pretty much empty for the last 15 years so the redevelopment represents 350+ new households. I’m not saying it shouldn’t have been redeveloped, just that the cumulative effect on Penarth’s infrastructure of all these developments is being ignored. You not oblivious to this are you?

      • snoggerdog says:

        because when the old billys were there,if they saw a car they would set it alight or steal it,the new residents only seem to want to drive them (thats at least one each).

  4. Peter Church says:

    I love the term “squalid little boxes” Nimby Plaid Cymru people and the rest of them who most likely live in nice housing stock. The reason they own their own homes?? they purchased them years ago judging by the ages of the protesters.
    If there were a few younger activists then they might have more respect from me.

    PS I have little sympathy for yet another sell off of Penarth Land, all that people think about in Penarth now is ££££££££££££££££3

  5. The Tax payer says:

    I so hope the land owner takes the trespassers to court. They had no right to be on his/her land and the police should have attended.

    • Frank Evans says:

      This wasn’t aggravated trespass if anything the police should be called by the trespassers if they actually were physically assaulted by the land owner. Yes it’s a mad mad world.

      • Anonymous says:

        It was infact an aggravated trespass, they had been asked several times to leave the private lane and instead forced their way onto the landowners private ground. They had no right to enter the grounds of that property. Please do get facts correct before posting insensitive comments on here, there are families involved.

      • Chris David says:

        Oh cmon, its an insensitive proposal in the public interest and if they’ve invited planners to such what do they expect. What is insensitive is not having the guts to publish under your own name. Families involved- phah. Yes the families of those that would be blighted if this went ahead.

  6. Chris David says:

    Its not often I take issue with Kevin Mahoney who tells it as it is but the only time any council or indeed government meetings that have direct impact on the public it pretends to serve should be private, is when its an initial personal matter. This NOT a personal matter except for those that will benefit from the development and Fred Johnson should be voted out ASAP. Build houses and the infrastructure where they’re needed north of the M4 not in overcrowded VOG with its mad small beer politicians. I would say the time has come when this sort of intrusive development should be a matter of public vote. Build on the brownfield sites- the derelict areas and the aforementioned areas of need. This proposal is odious to say the least on several levels.

    • Kevin Mahoney says:

      Thank you Chris

      You misunderstand my post, in hindsight perhaps I could have worded it better.

      I was not advocating that any council meeting including this one should be private, I was pointing out for information purposes for the benefit of readers that whether I agree with it or not that according to the rules of such things that the site meetings are regarded as council meetings at which members of the public or even councillors who are not on the planning committee are not allowed to join in.

      I mention this only because this is declared and stated at the start of every site meeting and whatever I or anyone else thinks about this the chairman and officials will not allow contributions from the public.

      I didn’t say nor mean that I agree with that particular situation in fact I did point out above that I feel that there should be a spot for the public to speak within reason.

      As you know I am the only councillor who keeps presenting motions for greater transparency in votes and the publishing of councillor attendance records.

      Instead of opening these meetings up, the Vale changed the rule just a year or so ago that previously allowed local ward councillors not on the planning committee to speak and address site planning meetings in order to represent any residents concerns, so in fact things are getting even worse not better.

      The one other item that I did highlight just for the benefit of readers is that there is no automatic right of the public to be allowed access to someones private property during these site visits, in fact the planning committee members present are only allowed on by invitation of the property owner.

      Whether after inspecting the site, ensuing discussion about the application should then take place outside the site if access has been denied to any attendent members of the public is of course a moot point that should be open to debate which might ensure that the public can witness the discussion.

      I was for the sake of accuracy making clear the site access procedure so that everyone is aware of the situation, again whether anyone agrees with this or not is a matter for themselves.

      As I have already pointed out I do have certain reservations about this scheme myself however I do note the increasing jumping on the bandwagon activities of a number of declared candidates as May’s local elections approach.

      As of course they are perfectly entitled to do.

      • Max Wallis says:

        The chief officer Debbie Marles writes slightly different:
        – The Managing Director invites the Committee to site visits.
        – The role of the applicant during a site visit shall only be to secure access to the site in accordance with health and safety provisions.
        – Objectors or Community Councils will note be invited to attend a site visit or participate in any discussions on site.
        – On assembling at the site, at the time specified, the chair will explain the purpose and procedures of the site visit so that all are aware that it is a fact finding exercise only and that no decision will be taken until the committee meeting. The Planning Officer or his/her representative will explain the application as it relates to the site and relevant viewpoints. Following any questions to the Planning Officer, or clarification sought on matters which are relevant to the site inspection, the Chair will bring the site visit to a close.
        …..This differs, strangely, from the formula that “the public may attend and observe a site visit, but not participate in any discussions”. As Kevin wrote, even the local Cllrs are not now invited if they are not members of the Planning Cttee. The written rules are clearly inadequate. Let’s compare the Planning Inspectorate:
        “30. Some proposals generate a lot of third party interest many of whom want to be present at the site visit. In most instances a large group following the Inspector and the main parties around the site will be impracticable. The Inspector should reinforce the point that he/she is there to see the site and its surroundings and not to hear representations and that it would assist if the group could nominate one or 2 representatives to accompany the Inspector on the visit.”
        At Northcliffe Lodge, just two from the public plus the owner’s rep and 3-4 officers followed the committee members around, which proved to be quite practicable. No problem! So why don’t the VoG rules cover the public interested parties too?

  7. Anne says:

    The Councillors at the Planning meeting supported local Cllr Gwyn Roberts in voting down the project. Developer-upstart Sam Courtney spoke cockily. but was stunned by the unanimous rejection. Cllr Clive Williams (Plymouth ward) set the mood,in calling the site overlooking the barrage the finest in the Vale. In delivering a bloody nose to chief planner, Marcus Goldsworthy went into secret session to formulate tight terms of rejection – an astute move in view of his recommending the opposite.

    • Karen Medhurst says:

      Well done Cllr Roberts and Cllr Williams – I will celebrate with a large beer! Well done all and Cllr Mahoney well done you on your comments on site visits…………….lets hope the Planning Committee read them……………………………….so they know how they actually should be conducted…………

  8. Chris David says:

    Thank you Kevin for clarifying the position. I abhor secrecy in public politics and VoG Labour appear to be a small minded bunch bent on tuning the Vale into some kind of socialist utopia, but in doing so their version is at constant logger heads with the people they “serve”. So can we have a statement on the vote re the planning application? Rejected or accepted? Any caveats?

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