DINGLE PARK’S PROTECTORS ANNOUNCE THEIR RETIREMENT

Dingle Park - and the leader of the Friends of Dingle Park group Robert Donaldson

Dingle Park – and the leader of the Friends of Dingle Park group Robert Donaldson

The leading lights in the Friends of Dingle Park – the organisation which has transformed Dingle Park  from a neglected backwater to  one of the most pleasant public open spaces in Penarth – are to retire.

Robert Donaldson and Louise Nash are stepping down – after years of gathering litter,  picking up plastic bags filled with dog poo, nurturing bee-friendly wild-flower beds and campaigning for  Dingle Park to be equipped with basic amenities such as public seating and notice boards.

Sections of DIngle Park railings which had come apart were welded together again after teh Friends of Dingle Park pressed for repairs.

Sections of DIngle Park railings which had come apart were welded together again after teh Friends of Dingle Park pressed for repairs.

Robert and Louise also pressed for the railings of the park to the repaired and – by-passing councillors and managers – the “Friends of Dingle Park” struck-up a highly productive direct working relationship with the Parks Department officers at the Vale of Glamorgan Council which proved highly effective  .

One of the new recycled plastic benches installed by the Vale of Glamrogan in Dingle Park, Penarth . The Friends ofDingle Park had asked if they could have vintage benches from the Esplanade

One of the new recycled plastic benches installed by the Vale of Glamrogan in Dingle Park, Penarth .

One of their other campaign successes was the installation of new benches in Dingle Park where previously there had been none.The new benches – although looking like conventional seats on iron supports – are actually made entirely from heavyweight recycled plastic which will require no maintenance.

Beds of wildflowers were planted in Dingle Park

Beds of wildflowers were planted in Dingle Park by the Vale of Glamorgan Council

Robert and Louise are  now hoping that other local residents will now come forward to carry on the work that they’ve been doing and maintain the park to the standard it’s now acheived.

There is a platfrom on the opposite side of Dingle Station - but it's totally obscured by overgrowth and fly-tipped refuse

There is a platfrom on the opposite side of Dingle Station – but it’s totally obscured by overgrowth and fly-tipped refuse

One of Mr Donaldson’s most recent campaigns was to persuade the giant German rail company Deutsche Bahn (a.k.a. Arriva Trains Wales) and Network Rail to tackle the problem of fly-tipping and overgrowth at the nearby Dingle Station.

The Germans and Network Rail have both renaged on promises to carry out remedial work at the station despite constant pressure from Mr Donaldson and failed to meet a commitment they’d made to clear the station last November.

Litter lurking in the undergrowth of the unkempt Dingle Road Station platform.

Litter lurking in the undergrowth of the unkempt Dingle Road Station platform.

Penarth Town Planning Committee has received a report outlining the protracted correspondence Mr Donaldson had had with the rail operators “over a number of months” . ( See PDN report   http://tinyurl.com/j2kzfjq ).  Mr Donaldson asked for Penarth Town Council’s support in pressing the matter.

Cllr Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward) said  he understood that issues of fly-tipping on railway land was covered by the Environmental Protection Act – which states that within 25 metres of  a railway platform there’s “a duty and obligation” on the rail operators to clear that land . Cllr Ernest said the operators could be taken to court and fined if they did no comply and suggested that council officers should investigate the process.

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines ) said there were two different enforcement agencies for Environmental Protection Act issues  – the Vale of Glamorgan Council or Natural Resources Wales. He suggested that Penarth Council officers should find out which was the appropriate agency to deal with the matter  – with a view to going to the enforcement agency “with immediate effect“.

Cllr Philip Rapier (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Philip Rapier (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Philip Rapier (Labour St Augustines) noted that it had taken GPG [ the environmental group Gwyrddio Penarth Greening] about 12 months to “enhance the appearance”  of Penarth Town Station and place flower-beds there.   He thought that “cosmetics” of railway stations – as opposed to the tracks – were  the responsibility of  Arriva, whose current contract was currently under review. He was not sure whether “one more go at the conventional route [as opposed to enforcement action] to get the matter dealt with would be a better strategy.

Cllr Gwyn Roberts noted numerous attempts had already been made to get Arriva to attend to the problem . He urged the committee to go immediately for enforcement action.

Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell)

Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell)

Committee chairman Cllr Neil Thomas said “As I understand it, Arriva is nationalised . Unfortunately the nationality is German”

Cllr Anthony Ernest said Penarth’s railway stations were very important. Tens of thousands of people travelled on them regularly and they were also used by visitors coming to Penarth and if they saw a track littered it did not create a good impression. If the Penarth stations had a few flowers on them it would be a great way of attracting more visitors.

Cllr Gwyn Roberts said with the Wales rail franchise coming up for renewal perhaps the council should be speaking to “people who award the franchise” to make sure there was a tight enforceable condition in the franchise to maximise and maintain the appearance of all stations.

The  council is now to establish which enforcement agency deals with railway stations and also write to the body granting the new rail franchises to propose an enforcement clause on the appearance of railway stations.

[PDN Note:  The Blair Labour Government artificially forced the public company that owned the UK’s stations and tracks –  Railtrack  – into administration and transferred assets (without any compensation) to a new state-owned nationalised company Network Rail. Labour minister Stephen Byers dismissed the huge losses made by 250,000 ordinary people who’d bought shares in Railtrack at its flotation as  “grannies losing their blouses”].

 

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7 Responses to DINGLE PARK’S PROTECTORS ANNOUNCE THEIR RETIREMENT

  1. Brickie says:

    Inspirational.

  2. Anne Greagsby says:

    Well done them for such good work. Please note that Greening Penarth is no longer.

  3. Guido says:

    As a daily user of the park, while I like to think I do my bit by picking up what litter and glass I can when out walking the dog, I would nevertheless like to express my thanks to the work and efforts of Robert and Louise over the years in making the park a more pleasant place especially since the cycle path made the whole park more accessable.

  4. Chris David says:

    Well done Robert and L Nash. Robert- now you should stand for the council.

  5. mikeyorke says:

    Well done and thank you for your hard work.

    Let’s hope the new improvements to the park are sympathetic to he hard work carried out.

    May I add, my offer to the council for free benches built by my company still stands. I hope they do take up my offer.

  6. Marilyn newman0 says:

    Thank goodness that there are people like you in this world!

  7. cllr clive williams MBE says:

    I first worked with Robert in 1987, and he has been active ever since. Louise and Robert
    are respected by all of us who know them. Marilyn is correct “thank goodness for people like you”
    My total respect and thanks to you both

Comments are closed.