Penarth Town Council has decided against convening a full-scale public-meeting on the controversial scheme to build a huge power-generating tidal lagoon of the shores of Penarth and Cardiff
The massive rock-boulder walls of the Tidal Lagoon mask the view of the Bristol Channel and the Somerset Coast (to the North and East) onscuring the outlook from the entire sea front of Penarth – including Penarth Pier and Penarth Esplanade. The wall will reach as far as a point due east of Whitcliffe Drive .
Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell) – chairman of Penarth Town Council’s planning committee told members that the Swansea Tidal Lagoon [the precursor project for the Cardiff Lagoon] project had been given the “go-ahead” and was awaiting what he called the “final sign-off” . Cllr Thomas suggested that “people from the Cardiff Tidal Lagoon” should be invited to “come and speak to Penarth Town Council”.
Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines) declared an interest in the matter “as a family member has some dealings with it” – but said he did not intend to vote on the issue.
He thought it was a good idea for the council to meet representatives of the Cardiff Lagoon project but he said “I wonder in fact, if it’s a big enough issue, whether we can consider actually holding a public meeting“ to which other people, including “the Penarth Civic Society and the perhaps Coastal Protection Officer from the Vale of Glamorgan Council” and any others could be invited.
Cllr Roberts added “I think this is something that is a big issue for Penarth” – and there would be concern about the scheme. He wondered whether the council should consider convening a public meeting. Two other councillors expressed their agreement.
However Penarth Council staff officers noted that the Council’s Leisure and Amenities Committee had already resolved to invite representatives of the Cardiff Tidal Lagoon, Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd (leaseholders of Penarth Pier Pavilion) and the Harbourmaster of Cardiff to a committee meeting scheduled for March 16th 2017 .
Cllr Gwyn Roberts again posed the question whether there should not be a public meeting. Cllr Neil Thomas said there were “ a lot of heads nodding” .
Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward) said he was hoping that when the Swansea Lagoon scheme was finally approved there would be not be any provisions “saying you can’t do any more until we’re confident it is going to work” .
Cllr Thomas said his understanding was there would – after Swansea – be a 2-year moratorium on further schemes – Cardiff being the next one planned “while they see how many fish the Swansea one chews up – and what impact it has on Swansea” .
Cllr Turner was concerned that Penarth Council could be convening a “public meeting which is very early in the process”. Cllr Gwyn Roberts however pointed out that if the Swansea Lagoon went ahead – “then I think it is a matter of time before the others go” . Cllr Turner said he wanted to be cautious and not “raise expectations”.
Cllr Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward) “ I think it’s right that we are fully aware of what the intentions are – because this could have massive implications for Penarth as a whole, the Town, the Marina, Cardiff Docks, and I suspect there are going to be very strong objections from the Marina operators and ABP [Associated British Ports – operators of Cardiff Docks] .
Cllr Ernest said he agreed with what had been said, but considered that the council should carefully monitor developments and keep its “ear to the ground” . He said it would be more useful to meet Cardiff Lagoon representatives as they were in the process of developing any proposals – as this would enable the council to influence them during the planning – rather than meeting them afterwards, by which time their plans would have been finalised . “It could be preferable from Penarth’s point of view “ .
Cllr Ernest pointed out that Penarth Council had been “closely involved” when the Cardiff Bay Barrage had been constructed and a Penarth councillor Cllr Percy Chappell – had been on the board of the Cardiff Bay Development Corporation “so we were able to influence what was being developed at that time”.
Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward) asked whether it was known what effect the Penarth/Cardiff Tidal Barrage would have on the water quality of Cardiff Bay.
Cllr Thomas said this was a question which could be asked at the meeting of March 16th to which perhaps Penarth Civic Society could be invited – but thought that the “feeling of the meeting” [i.e. of the planning committee] was that it would be “premature“ to extend the meeting.
Cllr Gwyn Roberts asked “So you are not talking about a public meeting then?”
Cllr Thomas said “ …Not about a general public meeting in the Paget Rooms – No”.
Cllr Ernest pointed out that members of the public were fully entitled to attend meetings of the Leisure and Amenities Committee .
Cllr Turner said wanted it confirmed that the March 16th meeting [of the Leisure and Amenities Committee with Cardiff Tidal Lagoon representatives] would be held only to inform councillors on the process. Cllr Thomas confirmed this would be the case.
Cllr Rosemary Cook (Labour St Augustines) said “Ears to the ground and let’s wait and see”