coastguard tower

An earlier plan for extensions to Penarth’s Victorian Coastguard Tower at Tower Hill was rejected by Penarth Council but approved by the Vale of Glamorgan Council – but not built. Now there’s a new application

A planning application seeking approval to build modern extensions to either side (West and East) of Penarth’s historic Victorian coastguard tower on Tower Hill has now been “called in” to be considered by the full Vale of Glamorgan Planning committee

Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

The plan was originally scheduled to be dealt-with by a Vale Council planning officer on a “delegated basis”, who would have made the final decision – but the application has now been “called in” by Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward).

Penarth Town Council’s planning committee has yet to discuss the matter and is not due to meet until January 19th – which is the deadline set for the receipt of observations by the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

The tower is within the architecturally sensitive Penarth Conservation area.

This is how the new exstensions to the Coastguard Tower would look - facing North (with the sea on the right hand side)

This is how the new extensions to the Coastguard Tower would look – facing North (with the sea on the right hand side)

Originally – in the 1830s – Penarth Coastguards  occupied the Coastguard Cottages – on the cliff to near Northcliff Lodge from which they overlooked the entrance to Cardiff Docks and the Glamorgan Canal entrance .

However in 1864 the coastguards (then part of the Royal Navy)  were re-located to what is now known as Tower Hill (between Plymouth Road and Marine Parade) and needed the eponymous Tower to give them sufficient elevation to scan the coastline and hoist signals.

The Tower and its associated dwellings have been a private home for many years. (Penarth Coastguard is now based on Cliff Walk)

The entry for the Penarth Coastguard Tower in the Vale of Glamorgan's County Treasures List

The entry for the Penarth Coastguard Tower in the Vale of Glamorgan’s County Treasures List

In 2013, when an earlier plan for extensions to the Coastguard Tower had been submitted, the objections of  Penarth Town Council’s Planning Committee were overridden by a Vale of Glamorgan planning officer (not the full planning committee) on a “delegated” basis   – despite the fact that the building is designated as a “County Treasure”.

In 2013 Penarth councillors had expressed concern about the decision and  felt the matter should have been referred to the full Vale Planning Committee.  They sought a meeting with the Vale Council’s planning chief  Marcus Goldsworthy to express their concerns but were then told that the planning approval – issued in 2013 – could not be rescinded.

In the event however, the 2013 proposal did not go ahead and now a revised proposal (as per drawing above)  is under consideration and is now to be determined by the full Vale of Glamorgan Council planning committee.

The full County Treasures list can be seen on  .


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  1. Anne Greagsby says:

    Surely a councillor will call this in? It is preposterous to allow the Vale officers to decide this. The recent Northcliffe decision shows how little regard is given to Penarths iconic buildings and landmarks. Penarths conservation areas matter to the people of Penarth. The town council must be allowed to discuss this before any decision is reached. This extension is ugly – say NO.

    • Modernist says:

      But the Vale officers supposedly have qualifications and are educated. The Councillors are not (necessarily). To simply say it is “ugly” is trite.

  2. Jonny says:

    The building was spoilt when it was originally extended – ugly brickwork and windows.
    That said, how much room do people need? It’s getting beyond, this “extending” all the time. Look how big mine is…What is the matter with everyone?

    • Frank Evans says:

      It’s not the extra room it’s the extra money when it’s sold. Council don’t mind either as it adds the extra band.
      Penarth: All we care about now is money.

      • Richard says:

        I agree that Penarth is all about the money. Probably always has been – full of sneering (often mediocre) wannabes who think financial wealth is all that’s important.

  3. LJS says:

    The original extensions are like warty growths on the side of an historic building. There was no need to build the wart, if the owners wanted a larger building, they should have moved.
    The proposed extensions now disfigure the building even more, such that the original building is lost. This is not conservation. The proposed extensions disrupt the original so much it would be upsetting to see it, it would be better to knock it down than to build the proposals. What goes through an architect’s mind or an owner’s mind.
    The planners were very strict with the Rebecca Evans’ house, yet that was a new build and replaced a property of mediocre design. The plans for this house are wholly unsuitable. The tower has been extended once and there is no need whatsoever to upset this building any further.
    It is by its very definition a tower and needs to remain as such.
    The comments are right, it is time the planners took the conservation area seriously and read the definition and guidelines.

  4. Ben says:

    Here’s one I made earlier
    coastguard tower

  5. Dave says:

    Ahhhhhhh, the good old days, back then open plan and huge kitchens weren’t even thought of, let alone cinema rooms, gyms etc. When you buy something nowadays think ahead want seven kids and five cars then don’t by a two up two down………..

    • Tim says:

      Spot on, Dave. Hear hear.

      • Lindsay says:

        Outside toilet, orange wrappers or Football Echo, tin bath, wash boards, gaslights, candles, crystal set. None of this new fangled nonsense. Blimey, people will be wanting running water before long.

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