The huge Cogan apartment block scheme (seen here in the architects impression and whcih was approved last night) - could be overtaken by the development of a new Network Rail "transport interchange" on the site instead

The huge Cogan apartment block scheme  (seen here in the architects impression)  received formal planning approval last night – but now the entire scheme could be supplanted by the development of a big new Network Rail “transport interchange” for Penarth on the same site .

It’s been revealed that  Network Rail – the body that owns all of Britain’s rail tracks –  is now  interested in developing what’s called a “Transport Interchange”  at Cogan Hill ( adjoining Cogan Station).

The revelation of what could become Penarth’s new “Super-station” came to light as the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s planning committee was  again considering last night a  scheme to build a massive 5-storey  block of 44 “affordable” apartments for a registered social-housing landlord at the “Gateway to Penarth” . It would be the very first thing that people coming into the town would see.

The original scheme for the site had been only for a  34 apartment development.

An aerial view of the site for the 44 apartment block of social housing at Cogan Hill. The apartment plan may be overtaken nu Network Rail plans for a trabnsport interchange on the same spot alongside Cogan Station

An aerial view of the site for the 44 apartment block of social housing at Cogan Hill. The apartment plan may now be supplanted by Network Rail plans for a Transport Interchange on the same spot alongside Cogan Station

…However an internal council report has now confirmed that Network Rail has a “preference that the site [ on which the apartment block would be built] is brought back for use as a transport interchange”.  This declaration has now  thrown a cat-amongst-the-pigeons as far as the social housing apartment development is concerned

Councillors were told that the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Transport and road safety officer has already  been “working with Welsh Government to investigate the use of the site as a transport interchange.”   It’s the first time the idea of a “transport interchange” at the Cogan Hill/ Cogan Station location has been publicly mentioned.

Vale of Glamorgan Council planning chairman Cllr Fred Johnson

Vale of Glamorgan Council planning chairman Cllr Fred Johnson

Planning chairman Cllr Fred Johnson – not for the first time –  intimated that he thought the proposed apartment block would “not get built” (he had said the same thing in the previous planning meeting but the rail development had not been mention then) .

The planning committee however had no option but to go on to consider the Apartment Block proposal – irrespective of whether there is now more than an element of doubt about its construction – and Cllr Johnson ended up voting for it – even though he said he believes the Transport Interchange scheme is preferable.


The revised design for the proposed new Cogan Hill apartment complex which would be on the right hand side as you enter Penarth from Cardiff Penarth

The revised design for the proposed new Cogan Hill apartment complex which would be on the right hand side as you enter Penarth from Cardiff Penarth.

When the Cogan Apartment Block scheme had been considered in an earlier meeting Cllr Peter King (Labour Cornerswell) who is the Vale’s ‘cabinet’ member for Transport  had expressed is concerns about the already high levels of air pollution in the Cogan/Windsor Road area. He  was worried that the massive apartment block would add to what he called “the Canyon Effect” in Cogan which concentrated vehicle exhaust fumes in an area already designated as pollution problem area [an AQMA  or Air Quality Management Area] .

However Vale Council planning head Victoria Robinson said that the planning officers in the Vale’s “Shared Regulatory Services” department had confirmed that “they are satisfied with the  conclusions of the Air Quality Assessment” .

The infamous Cogan Dip and Windsor Road suffers from high levels of air pollution

The infamous Cogan Dip and Windsor Road suffers from high levels of air pollution – which Clrl Peter King postulated would me made worse by the Canyon Effect which would be created  by the proposed new Cogan Hill apartment block. Vale Planners said there is nothing to worry about.

The un-named planning officer carrying out the latest assessment also knocked-down the “Street-Canyon-Effect” theory  –  saying “based on the location of the proposed development and the apparent ‘unlike-Street-Canyon’ characteristics surrounding the development  I can confirm that I do not believe that the proposed development would enhance or extend a Street-Canyon Effect”.

Cllr Peter King (Labour Cornerswell) seen here flanked by Cllr Rhiannon Birch & Cllr Gwyn Roberts - voiced concerns about air pollution at Cogan but said he had been "beaten down"

Cllr Peter King (Labour Cornerswell) seen here flanked by Cllr Rhiannon Birch & Cllr Gwyn Roberts – voiced concerns about air pollution at Cogan but said he had been “beaten down”

Cllr King said ” I am beaten down by people who know more about it [ the Canyon Effect] than I do – but I do remain concerned about Air Quality in that area”. 

Cllr King as ‘cabinet’ Transport member said he was “uncomfortable” about the Network Rail statement on  the now-proposed “Transport Hub” for Cogan – but noted that the Network Rail statement would not be grounds in itself to decline [the planning application for the apartment block]  . He said he would consequently abstain from voting on the planning application.

The earlier design of the 34-dwelling apartment complex turned out to be of higher than the propopsed new 44 apartment building

The earlier design of the 34-dwelling apartment complex turned out to be of higher than the propopsed new 44 apartment building

Not only was there the complication of the embryo  Network Rail Transport Interchange but the Vale planning committee  had also got itself in a tangle because it had approved an early scheme for a similar 34-apartment block on the site. This scheme had not gone ahead and no legal agreement had been entered into.

Chairman Fred Johnson asked Planning Head Victoria Robinson whether the council would now get itself into difficulties should it turn down this latest application. Robinson said the planning rules hadn’t changed a lot since the previous application had been made  -[ i.e. the council would be in difficulties if it now refused the updated – larger- apartment scheme ] .

Cllr Bob Penrose (Independent Sully)

Cllr Bob Penrose (Independent Sully)

Cllr Bob Penrose (Independent Sully) pointed out that there appeared to be a big difference between that earlier planning application and the current one. The original had been for 34 apartments in a 3 storey building whereas the current one was for 44 apartments in a 5 storey building .

Cllr Johnson said there wasn’t a big difference n the respective heights of the earlier and the later proposed development

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines) who is reportedly stepping down from the Vale Council at the May elections  saidAs I speak I feel I am beaten here . I have deep concerns . It’s not a Conservation Area but it is the ‘Gateway to Penarth ‘ . Penarth’s business is tourism and [this proposed building] is so oppressive  – right on the road to Penarth – it really concerns me.” 

Cllr Roberts said “I know how much we need affordable housing – and this offers 44 [homes] – a very substantial number in relation to the size of Penarth – so we should be supporting it   and the town council reluctantly supported it for those reasons. But this is a huge oppressive site  right on the road”.

Cllr Roberts proposed that the design be modified to make it “less oppressive on the street scene”. He said he would abstain from voting on it .

Cllr Bob Penrose proposed that the committee defer consideration of the plan to give the developer an opporturnity to come back with a scheme more in keeping with what the original scheme had been . A more sympathetic scheme could be suggested – he said

Head of planning Victoria Robinson said she had no measurements to hand for the previous proposed block – but Cllr Andrew Parker – handily an architect in his own right – set-to with the scale drawings to establish that the proposed new building was actually 75cm lower  than the original.

Cllr Nick Hodges (Plaid Cymru)

Cllr Nick Hodges (Plaid Cymru)

Plaid Cymru councillor Nick Hodges told chairman Fred Johnson  “You’ve had this proposal before the committee two times in a row. You have said you do not think this will ever get built. Why are we wasting outr time with it?”.

Cllr Johnson said I think it’s vital for a transport hub in that location . It is wanted and necessary – but I have to go with what is before me tonight [ i.e. the apartment block proposal]. If you are asking me what my preference is – it’s for a Transport Hub “

The “officer’s recommendation” ( to approve the scheme) was then voted-on and carried.





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  1. Birkett says:

    Is it not time to simply accept that there is no more room to build in/around/on Penarth?! I drove past Wimpey’s new site near Cowbridge yesterday and, whilst it’s often sad to see fields built on, there is at least the space around there to accommodate new housing. Penarth, if it hasn’t already happened, will soon be completely over developed. The town is ironically, much more densely developed than much of the big city over the water.

    • Philip Rapier says:

      “Be afraid, be very afraid” —

      c.100 metres of Windsor Road is already in “worst case scenario Air Pollution” by admission of the Vale’s own Oct 2016 statistics.”

      Do not fall for the “Transport Interchange ” con trick either as it is merely a ruse, a trap if you like to help achieve the destruction of the Penarth, Sully, Lavernock, Dinas Powys Cosmeston, Hinterland with the construction of an ultimate goal of 2000 homes. This will bring 3000 more vehicles to add to the pernicious “Cog-Smog”

      We will need to fight to prevent it because the the Welsh Govt will use Compulsory Purchase Powers it already has under the Transport and Works Act 1992. ANY structure within the Cogan Station environs (regardless of age, or social purpose) may be demolished under this law to make way for a “Transport Interchange”

      Are you afraid yet? No! Trust me-you will be! Consider the words of Sadiq Khan Mayor of London and how both he and Boris Johnson used this “trojan horse” to build an equally unnecessary “Commuter Village” AND “Transport Interchange ” on the edge of Barking.—————————-

      —“The 180-hectare brownfield site on the northern bank of the Thames will include a new railway station and —–transport interchange.—– Under the earlier masterplan, 734 homes have already been built, with another 414 under construction. Work on the new homes will begin next year.
      “Mr Khan said: “Barking Riverside has enormous potential to deliver THOUSANDS of the much-needed homes”
      Source Evening Standard Tuesday 6 September 2016 10:09 BST

  2. andrewsketty says:

    I love Cllr Roberts comment about Penarth’s ‘business is tourism’ He did not even respond to my e mail to him voicing my concern over the closure of our cinema and future of our iconic Pavilion. Says it all

  3. Dizzydeb says:

    We can’t get out of PENARTH in the mornings!!!! What more is there to consider?

  4. There is, of course an upside to this story. As the developers have now got Planning Consent for a considerably larger number of units, the value of the land has increased enormously as a result. If Network Rail (or anybody else for that matter) wishes now to buy the land, the cost will be that for Residential Use as distinct from “Open Space” or Industrial, and it will bring a small fortune to the lucky owners, but at greatly added cost to the taxpayer who funds Network Rail. Why have we never heard of this so-called Interchange previously ? It has never appeared to the best of my knowledge in any official documents available in Penarth !

    • Ian Perry says:

      This is why we need proper planning laws and policies in Wales – and smarted elected representatives. The Vale council has just transferred a serious amount of money to a few wealthy private individuals.

      Schemes like this transport hub should have been at the heart of the LDP – even if the idea was to simply set aside land ready for the subsequent LDP.

  5. Tony says:

    I live next to Cogan train station and i do not think these apartments should be built. Traffic in Penarth already exceeds the designed infrastructure. Lets improve Penarth by focusing on transportation, green spaces, schools, etc before we try cramming more housing in. I thought politicians were meant to look out for the community, i have honestly lost all faith in the council.

  6. Guido says:

    Does anyone know what a transport hub is in any event ?

  7. penarthblog says:

    I’m in favour of this development as it’s next to the railway station and within walking distance of a main bus route and social or affordable housing is needed. Its interesting that Network Rail have now joined the debate with a proposal for a transport interchange whatever that means, is it connected to the proposed Metro? So although I’m in favour of development here, I think I’ll wait and see what happens, after all, there are worst places to build homes, Sully for example.

    • Simon says:

      I do find it amusing, all these people who talk about Penarth being a great place to live. Give it 10 years when the place is rammed with the so-called “much-needed social housing” and let’s see then what people say. It’s like the benches that seemed such a good idea – costly, nigh on dangerous but celebrated as a “youth project” and an example of people “doing something”. The town’s “doing something” all right. Over-developed, over-polluted, over-populated, and going down the pan. Just because there’s space doesn’t mean it should be built on but you reap what you sew. Let’s see what we hand on to the much-lauded “youth”…

  8. Jimbo says:

    Anyone know what a “Transport Interchange” is?

  9. Peter Church says:

    Wouldn’t it be great if there was a platform on the Penarth line next to Tescos?
    With a foot bridge connecting the two stations
    It would provide direct connection to the Vale line and reduce its loading while increasing usage for the Penarth line as a benefit!

    • David Wilton says:

      I agree totally. I have campaigned for this many years on this and have written letters to all the different stakeholders and had meetings with those who could make this happen. There is always people who say it can’t happen for reason X, Y Z but reality is if there is a will there is a way.

  10. penarthblog says:

    One definition of a transport hub (also transport interchange) is a place where passengers and cargo are exchanged between vehicles or between transport modes. Public transport hubs include train stations, rapid transit stations, bus stops, tram stop, airports and ferry slips.

    So there we are, given the above, it will be interesting to see what happens on this site.

  11. Just a thought – does this mean they are looking to re-open the old Penarth Dock Station, (surely now to be called Penarth Marina), so that you can actually get to Barry and the Vale without going via Grangetown ? A super idea, even if nearly 50 years have gone by since “The Docks” was last open.

    • Guido says:

      How would that work ? Any train bound for Barry (and the return) would have to reverse either back onto or off the Barry line !!

      • David Wilton says:

        Guido – the argument is Barry line is at capacity, and Cogan residents can’t often get on into Cardiff. The Penarth line isn’t. There used to be a station (called Penarth Docks) on the Penarth line in Cogan (take a look at the building that sells Mobility Scooter and Web Box design agency – its an old station). You don’t need the station building any more – just a simple footbath access onto a one side platform halt (like Dingle). Great for cogan residents and could take traffic off the Barry line making it better for the rest of them.

  12. Mgg says:

    Open the old tunnels!

  13. Guido says:

    I stand corrected, he means for those travelling from Penarth only.

  14. Vic says:

    Or, could it be possible that Network Rail are considering closing the line to Penarth completely. Penarth trains would terminate at the new hub, then a shuttle bus to the town centre. Makes perfect financial sense from Network Rail’s point of view, as they would save a fortune on maintaining the current single track. Just a thought!

  15. Good to have support from a number of contributors, who like the idea of the former Penarth Dock Station (or a new equivalent a yard or so away) being re-instated. I have always argued that the former station’s closure was a grave mistake, but we all know what happened under Dr. Beeching and his misplaced ideas for ruining the railway system in the UK. There used to be a tunnel or subway from Penarth Dock Stn to Cogan Stn, (the bricked up entrance is still there today), and hundreds of people would transfer from the Penarth Line to the Barry Line on a daily basis. All we are suggesting is that this vital link be replaced, so that you can get to Cardiff Airport, Bridgend and even Barry Island – all from Penarth.

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