The Vale of Glamorgan Council’s planning committee has deferred a decision on the revised planning application to build a controversial 4-storey, 44-apartment block at the “Gateway to Penarth” on Cogan Hill.
If approved, the massive apartment block – which some local residents have already dubbed “Colditz”, “Stalag 14” and “Penarth Penitentiary” – would be the first thing people see as they enter the town.
The location is also adjacent to the infamous “Cogan Dip” Air Quality Management Area where the concentration of noxious exhaust fumes from stationery traffic often exceeds permitted limits.
Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines) – [the councillor who pole-axed the contentious planning application for the Northcliff Lodge residential development last month ] moved that there should be a “site visit” by Vale Planning Committee members to the site before any decision is made on the scheme.
Cllr Roberts said he was concerned about the visual intrusion the scheme would have on the entrance to Penarth and the local air pollution. He wanted members of the planning committee to see the site for themselves before taking any decision.
His motion was seconded by Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward) who had also supported Cllr Roberts’s motion opposing Northcliff Lodge.Cllr Roberts’s motion – calling for a site visit to Cogan Hill – was carried unanimously.
The concerns about poor air quality in the Cogan Area also worried Cllr Peter King, (Labour Cornerswell) who is a member of the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s five-strong ‘cabinet’ which actually runs the council – and is the cabinet member for transport.
Cllr King asserted that the problem at Cogan was what he called “the Canyon Effect”. He said that the topography of Penarth Heights, and the terrace-effect at the bottom end of Windsor Road, “holds the air“. He asked members “Please when you visit – look at how this [development] will extend that canyon”.
Cllr Clive Williams – who had seconded the motion for a site visit – said that the council wanted more affordable housing – but this site was the entrance into Penarth and he thought a better design could have been produced.
The Planning Department of the Vale of Glamorgan Council had already recommended to councillors that they should permit the Cogan Hill development to go ahead.
However Cllr Fred Johnson the chairman of the Planning Committee – who has been deselected by the Labour party and will not stand again for re-election to the Vale Council in the forthcoming elections in May – said “Myself, I don’t think it will ever get built”.