Penarth Town Council’s planning committee last night considered a revised outline planning application to build a 4-storey 44-apartment block at the “Gateway to Penarth” .
The chairman Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell) told members “the new proposal looks somewhat different from the old one – which if you recall was red brick and sort of monolithic”.
The Town Clerk Emma Boylen said the number of proposed car parking spaces associated with the development had now been reduced from 40 to 31.
Cllr Thomas said half of 44 apartments would be 1-bedroom and the remainder 2-bedroom – meaning there would be roughly 66 bedrooms in all .He said the developers had consulted with the Vale Council [ about the ratio of car-parking spaces to bedrooms] and that this would fit with their recommendation .
Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward) said “It’s still an eyesore”.
Cllr Thomas said it was a “big thing” to his eye. It was wasn’t “quite as offensive” [ as the previous design] – but this was a matter of taste.
It was – he said – a large building “right at the iconic entrance to the town”.
Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell) said finding accommodation was a major issue in Penarth and 44 apartments would “help quite a bit”. However Cllr Wilson wanted to know how many apartments would have disabled access. He went on to say that one of his main concerns was air-pollution and wondered what the council could do to mitigate that.
Picking up on Cllr Wilson’s comment , Cllr Philip Rapier (Labour St Augustines) said a recent report had linked air pollution to cases of dementia within a one mile radius – along with risks of other conditions such as asthma. He urged the Vale of Glamorgan council to update on its website all recent pollution analysis on Windsor Road [which is already an Air Quality Monitoring Area] . Cllr Rapier said pollution in the area was already at “borderline levels” . In the light of the recent findings he expected there to be closer scrutiny of this matter.
Cllr Rapier also highlighted local road safety issues and said that if there was a Section 106 developer’s mitigation payment to be made to the local authority then it might pay for some traffic lights in the area – which were desperately needed.
Cllr Thomas confirmed that there would – or should – be a Section 106 payment made by the developer and he felt that Penarth Town Council should be involved in a discussion about how this money would be spent. He also noted that there was now no community meeting place anywhere in Cornerswell Ward and he would like to see a centre identified for community use – which again could be funded by Section 106 money.
Cllr Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward) said the proposed apartment block would be a “very substantial building and would be massive over-development”. He said he was all for having affordable housing . However all the other buildings in the vicinity were of relatively low height – “and this is going to stand out as a great big block”.
Cllr Tracey Alexander (Labour Cornerswell) said “The number of units worries me. I know we need them. ” Following Cllr Rapiers concerns about air pollution she said there was a case for “planting – for absorption to help the situation “. Overall she felt the building “does stick out like a sort thumb in my opinion”.
Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward) said he personally did not like the design and picked up Cllr Wilson’s comments on affordable housing – noting that there were “ a hundred people in Penarth who could buy the apartments – cash out of their back pocket – and rent them out” . He suggested there should be a restriction limiting sales to owner-occupiers.
The Mayor Cllr Mike Cuddy said he understood that the development was to be for a housing association – he thought it was Hafod working with Jehu the developers – which would have a waiting list for tenants. It would be affordable and the rents would be below those advertised by local estate agents .
Cllr Williams said if the apartments were to be rented by a housing association on an affordable basis then he would withdraw his earlier remarks. He now 100% supported the development.
Cllr Cuddy went on to say that what had been “very poor” was that there had been no analysis carried out of the Gateway to Penarth. The Design and Access section of the planning application was “very shoddy” – but on the whole he supported the development.
Summing up Cllr Thomas said the committee was broadly supportive of the development although there were concerns about the design, about air quality in that area and how that would affect the residents, about the need for planting to mitigate pollution and “soften the design” and about road safety . The council would also want to consulted about the distribution Section 106 cash received from the developer.
Cllr Anthony Ernest said the building would replace the existing “Cogan OAP Hall” – which had originally been built for the American servicemen in WW2 . “It was a nice little hall when it was running and gave a lot of pleasure to the residents of Cogan – and they’ve lost out since that’s gone”.
Cllr Wilson pointed out there were other halls in the area but Cllr Thomas noted out that there were restrictions on Hebron Hall in Cogan as to what could take place there.
The committee – with the caveats above – is to recommend approval of the outline application for the proposed apartment development.