The old Monty Smith Garage was goingf to be demolished - but now it could be re-develop0ed as a massive new supermarket or chain store

The old Monty Smith Garage was going to be demolished – but now it could be re-developed as a massive new supermarket or chain store – the one of the biggest retail spaces in Penarth (Photo John Clark)

The old Monty Smith car showroom at 56 Windsor Road, Penarth may not be demolished after all – and could be converted into a new retail store.

The Capital Shopping Park at Leckwith was created by PMG

The Capital Shopping Park at Leckwith was created by PMG

The firm which has applied for the retail classification for the Monty Smith building is PMG 3 Ltd. which is understood to be a subsidiary of PMG Estates – a prominent Cardiff-based property development firm responsible for several big retail developments in the area including the popular 480,000 square feet Capital Retail Park at Leckwith – near Cardiff City Football Ground.

Local residents have been wondering why there’s been such a long delay in re-developing the site of the former garage and car showroom – once known as Monty Smith’s Motoring Centre. 

Cooke and Arkwright published this artists impression of the cleared site with brand new shops erected on it - now that may not happen

Cooke and Arkwright published this artists impression of the cleared site with brand new shops erected on it – now that plan may have been scrapped .

PMG placed a notice on the building saying they would demolish it in October last year - but the bulldozers never arrived. (Photo John Clark )

PMG placed a notice on the building saying they would demolish it in October last year – but the bulldozers never arrived. (Photo John Clark )

Last year PMG made an application  to the Vale of Glamorgan Council to demolish the building and clear the site potentially to build one or two brand new retail units on the site.

Estate Agents Cooke and Arkwright went as far as creating an artist’s impression on what the proposed new units would look like.

That image showed two retail units side-by-side occupying the site with a forecourt adjoining Windsor Road  The  properties were to be leased to retailers for 15 years and would have been  amongst the largest shops in Penarth .

In the meantime a demolition notice (right above) was attached to fencing on the site indicating that work on tearing down the building would be starting in October 2016 ….but nothing happened.

Now an application for what’s called “Class A1” use [ i.e. an ordinary retail shop or  department store ] for the existing building – implying that the showroom will won’t be knocked down after all – and will now be refurbished and become a big shop, supermarket or department store .

The first floor car showroom of what was The huge concrete mezzanine floor built by Monty Smith inside the old Windsor Kinema would make it an ideal supermarket or chain store

The huge concrete mezzanine floor built at first floor level by Monty Smith inside the old Windsor Kinema is strong enough to support dozens of cars & would provide an uninterrupted retail space which could be ideal for a supermarket or chain store

The Monty Smith Car showroom has a huge retail space at first floor level. That was created when the late Monty Smith bought the old Windsor Kinema and installed an enormous mezzanine concrete floor at first floor level for use as a car showroom. The concrete floor and its substantial support columns beneath was designed to be strong enough to support dozens of cars.

The Windsor Kinema was opened in 1914 and is pictured here in 1923 - still in the silent film era

The Windsor Kinema was opened in 1914 and is pictured here in 1923 – still in the silent film era. The  cinema’s manager – the formidable Miss Maude Jefferies –  certainly knew a thing or two about how to pull in the punters with posters – a example of what perhaps needs to be done at the Pier Pavilion Cinema today

The original Windsor Kinema was purpose-built as a cinema in 1914 by the Willmore Brothers and succeeded the Windsor Hall (which had originally been built by the Congregationalists in 1883). The Windsor Kinema was  in operation until 1958 when it was bought by Monty Smith and redeveloped as the eponymous  car showroom.

The front facade of the cinema was removed  to create the petrol station and forecourt- but the main auditorium remained –  and had the huge concrete floor built inside it at first floor level for the car showroom.


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  1. Concerned Citizen says:

    …. or it could be the planned new health facility with doctors, physios, etc all under one roof, near the bus route and accessible from all parts of Penarth.

    • Steve Greene says:

      …or it could be a kebab shop, a convenient stop off for Plaid on the late night bus back from Cardiff.

    • Philip Rapier says:

      Certainly desperately need a Health Centre with free oxygen masks.One which has a walk in 24 hour self service nebuliser would be Ideal at Monty Smith’s- as the Vale of Glamorgan think it perfectly safe for us to inhale the excess toxic exhaust fumes provided by the Windsor Road “rat-runners”.

      However do not be alarmed as it is concomitant that we impose a non residents “Cog-Smog” -“Congestion Charge” in the Rush Hour.

      Anyone from outside a Penarth Postcode will have to “cough up” the full rate .

      They can’t complain as we and our children are being made to literally “cough up” in the “Cog-Smog” every day of the week.

      Locals need not be afraid of the charge as residents will be able to register to have 100% exemptions. I suggest we charge half the London Rate to non Penarth Post Code Residents –£5.75 a day —and 100% exemption for Registered Penarth Residents and Commuters who work in the Town
      If you don’t move your car in the Rush Hour you won’t pay and this will persuade more on to Public Transport at the same time reducing the number of “Rat Runners” overnight .
      Any surplus goes in to reducing the Council Tax so it is a win- win situation. No more
      “Cog -Smog” and cheaper Council Tax.

  2. penarthblog says:

    For as long as I can remember, parking has been one of the problems that’s faced Penarth and this would an ideal place for a car park, close to shops, restaurants and other things and although traffic management would be an issue, I think on balance, there would be more positives than negatives in developing the site for this purpose.

  3. Tom says:

    Never mind a car park – let’s just keep building housing and not bother about the pollution or congestion. This is the ideal location for social housing. Social housing is much needed in Penarth. I don’t know how people could raise any concerns about social housing. What really needs to happen is that all them people in those big ‘ouses on Marine Parade move out and the properties become social housing. When you think about it, it’s a total disgrace that one family is allowed to live in these vast mansions. They should not be single occupancy, whether or not the occupants pay taxes etc. They should be much-needed social housing. Of course, the situation then arises that these old Victorian properties aren’t built with fire escapes/wheelchair access etc so in an ideal world, obviously, all these old buildings – and the garage – would be knocked down to rebuild SOCIAL HOUSING.

    • Sion says:

      In total agreement with you, Tom, and on that note, I do believe there are far too many parks in Penarth. Take that field area behind Cornerswell Road, for starters. Nobody uses it and it’s an ideal location for social housing, which is much needed in Penarth. You could get a fair few five-storey blocks on that. Also, I think the proposed demolition of St Paul’s Church has created a good benchmark for the future – once the currently vibrant All Saint’s loses its following, let’s get that down and knock up some social housing on the square which is currently mainly an area of (totally unacceptable) green. I understand Penarth Town Council held talks ‘in camera’ about the St Augustine’s slope – let’s hope that’s with a view to creating a few storeys of social housing too. If we work our way across from the seafront, why are there two parks? One is enough, and even then – when one considers the need for social housing in Penarth – that’s pushing it. Hopefully, the Vale ‘won’t have the budget’ to maintain that rubbishy old bandstand – some have the temerity to say is part of the town’s heritage but what about the need for social housing? Get that down and knock up the flats, I say. Coming inland, I don’t see much else left aside from Belle Vue Park and let’s face it, you could easily lose the upper half of that which is not used and would be an ideal location for social housing. Obviously, we’ve got Cogan up-and-running, plus I imagine Northcliffe will be back on course after the appeal. The next step, as you say Tom, is flushing out those single occupancy families on the likes of Marine Parade. I estimate you could get around five families minimum in each one of those and social housing is much needed in Penarth. I don’t listen to those people who say it’s about knowing where to draw the line – social housing is much needed in Penarth.

      • Richard says:

        What do you mean “coming inland…[you] don’t see much else left aside from Belle Vue Park’? For goodness sake man, think. When was the last time anyone played a round of mini golf on the clifftops? Rake over those hillocks and jack up the multi-storey social housing.

  4. Josh says:

    On the subject of social housing – which is much needed in Penarth – why on earth haven’t they built on Plassey Square yet? This is surely the ideal location – nobody uses that field and it’s conveniently situated next to the revamped children’s play area (which is another fantastic improvement by our Labour-led team at the Vale.)
    I really do think they’re missing a trick in Plassey Square – a good number of tower blocks there would compliment that one they’ve built on the hill. We don’t need parks anymore. The rate of obesity is rising, Dominos are delivering more pizzas. People are increasingly fat and lazy and don’t need recreational areas (though restaurants and cafes are a must, with reduced rates for the residents of social housing, which is much needed in Penarth).

    • Gary says:

      Totally agree about Plassey Square. I estimate you could get, what, a good 400 units on there no problem – multi-storey obviously. Access already in place. Bob’s your uncle. And that field off Cornerswell Road is crying out for it. What’s the matter with people? Social housing is much needed in Penarth.

    • 92 and a social butterfly says:

      Hold off jerry building on Plassey Square until after The Big Lunch.

  5. Eric says:

    On the subject of social housing, I’ve always thought the sea a damn nuisance in that respect – all that space which could be built on is currently wasted on water and Nature. Can’t one of these bright sparks spending our money on fabulously-designed benches devise some sort of floating platform which allows the construction of social housing in the Bristol Channel? And look at Flat Holm – currently a SSSI as I understand it but that shouldn’t stop the Vale, not least if one considers their plans for a theme park in Cosmeston (despite the wildlife.)

  6. George says:

    I would like to propose a petition calling for the development of the town’s parks in view of the need for social housing. As there is nowhere else left to develop – every scant space in the town being built on – I wish to call on the Welsh Assembly Government to ensure that all green space in Penarth is immediately sequestrated for the construction of social housing. It can only be a matter of time. Why wait?

  7. Jeff says:

    Hear hear to the comments about the need for social housing. I, for one, am sick to death of all this talk about Penarth being a “great place to live”. What does it think it is? The John Lewis of locations? Stack ’em up, pile ’em high Lidl-style. Leave no space undeveloped. That’ll put the Sunday Times and its list of 50 Best Places to Live in its place.

  8. Eric deary me , your suggestion is too silly for words (even though you found some to use from somewhere , probably second hand?) build on the sea how amusing even and may I add a novelty in this day and age of sameness . Your suggestion is so left field (whatever that means??) by the way do you work for the Council as you have the same thought patterns ? Anyway lets be serious , if you had said build on the beach , I would agree with you , the homes could be on stilts and as the beach is under used anyway I think its a splendid idea . Of course room must be left for the lifeboats to get in and out . If people still want to admire the view out to see the sea we have the magnificent viewing platform which is under used at present , signs could be posted directing people to this wonderful facility , just imagine that little park full of familys enjoying the sun . By the way the cracks in the stones were intended and nothing to do with subsidence , if in doubt as that ‘joker’ known as the leader of the VOG Council, he even sent out people to check the site AFTER the work had been done , ‘not before’ which is the usual way , of course this was done so he can say he took action if anything untoward happens. Anyway regarding the beach housing I’m sure im not alone in proposing such an idea. They could turn the Pavilion building into a Tescos supermarket and that way ensure it was used, instead of being an idea lost for a purpose at present. And I totally agree Flat Holm should be brought closer to Penarth and converted into a car park instead of stuck out where it is doing nobody any good and keeping aloof and indifferent to Penarth’s needs , how unconcerned can you get ? (unless you work for the Council that is?) . One last remark can the Council possibly get another viewing platform erected on Steep Holm ?, I do hope so imagine the fun someone using Penarth’s platform looking at somebody else using the Flat Holm one , how terribly amusing and of course hours of fun and maybe they could wave at each other? ( using the telescope of course or they wouldn’t see each other waving). I look forward to seeing at least one of my ideas put into action .

    • Tony says:

      Personally, I can think of no good reason why they don’t shut off the esplanade and build another row of (affordable) housing in front of James Sommerin and Shore. When that bakery opens, they’ll be all right for croissants for breakfast and it’ll be a red Labour textbook demonstration of “amalgamation” to boot.

  9. Grey local says:

    Aren’t there two buildings which belonged to the Smith family along that stretch of road?
    While one is converted for shopping the other could be a much needed car park. While the tennis courts in Rectory Rd could be moved to Cosmeston and another town car park put in its place.

    • CelticMan says:

      The obvious and sensible choice for the much needed car park in Penarth is the tennis courts – totally agree.

  10. Will says:

    In view of the fact all the space has now been used up in Penarth, I imagine the Vale will be seeking ingenious suggestions for potential development sites. May I suggest the Cogan roundabout, with a footbridge to access both Tesco and the train station, providing on-the-doorstep shopping and travel amenities for the inhabitants of a modest tower block.

  11. Jonathan says:

    After my usual morning perambulation of the town, I have to say I do feel the Vale is slacking somewhat in developing certain areas, with particular reference to the wooded dip as one approaches Alexandra Park from Plymouth Road – an area which becomes rather marshy after rain and is currently inhabited by a variety of wildlife, including the lesser spotted woodpecker. How has this area of nature been allowed to remain untouched by the omnipresent hand of the housing developer? Surely several hundred tonnes of concrete would underpin any construction, concomitantly raising the houses to the height of the path (currently an unspoilt recreational area). In this age of dire need for social housing, I do feel this the most shocking oversight. You could get a good few multiple occupancy tower blocks on there.

  12. Chris says:

    Does anyone remember that chap who filmed himself going round Penarth whingeing about how he couldn’t afford a house in the town, couched in the form of a song? I will shortly be providing a link to my modest additional contribution to this sorry state of affairs, on YouTube, where I have compiled a short video touring all the areas which are crying out for development, including the central island on Plymouth Road (outside the Railway pub) plus Station Approach to incorporate the path running down the side of Pizza Pronto, and a clutch of other locations including the area behind Lloyds Bank accessed on Albert Road, and the square at the end of Arcot Street. It’s nothing short of an outrage that these areas remain unbuilt on, thereby failing to provide affordable housing for those wishing to reside in the town.

  13. Cynthia says:

    I do hope Next isn’t coming, as shown in that picture. There are enough ghastly vanilla wannabe types here already without them trailing in from the Romilly Park/Gardens area of Barry to buy their horrible little outfits.

  14. Mervyn says:

    Am I correct in thinking that Councillor King’s son – apparently the acknowledged authority on the provision of skateboarding facilities in the town – has dismissed the Paget Road ‘Rec’ area as a suitable location for a full-scale skateboarding park? Well, isn’t this an ideal spot crying out for development and social housing? Every cloud and all that? It’s not as if the Vale doesn’t have practice in erecting ugly concrete structures on friable surfaces so they might want to extend any affordable housing project down the escarpment which has undergone recent slippage. I think such an idea would be a run away success.

    • Richard says:

      Have plans to revamp the Rec children’s area been put on hold? Passing earlier, I noticed a nice tree of some age, in the rather more level area, has been sawn down. I don’t recall any notification of such works but it is something of the Wild West where residents lack the assurance or inclination to challenge those carrying out works (as opposed to say Westbourne Road where a petition is raised re tree cutting and a plaque erected in honour of Plaid Cymru). Hence, people generally do as they please.
      Perhaps the Vale has affordable housing in mind and has begun a preliminary clearance programme designed to minimise annoying intervention from environmentalists and other people bothered about preserving an area for wildlife and recreation in the town?
      You could easily slip in a run of 25 units on the site, four storeys high to bring it up to the level of the existing terrace of houses on Paget Road so it isn’t overbearing. The area in which tree clearance has commenced would make an ideal location for the flats’ litter bins etc.
      Obliterating anyone’s view shouldn’t be a problem as a precedent for that was set when the new £500,000 houses were built.
      I do think it must give them sleepless nights at the Vale, imagining the current single terrace on Paget Road not only enjoying 1) a panoramic view but 2) the parking amenity of two sides of the street (while excess cars turn verges to mud in the Gardens, despite drives for each semi-detached – how many cars do people need, for crying out loud, but I digress).
      It seems a miracle the diggers aren’t already on site. What’s stopping them?

  15. Anyone with one iota of sense will tell you that the thing or things needed more than anything else in Penarth and surrounding area are more roads leading out of town to this end I say forget the silly idea of providing a walkway around the cliffs but build a roadway instead , of course a robust sensible one on stilts and it leading to Cardiff to ease the bottleneck at Cogan. What id like to know as well is who the hell built Penarth were it is with no regard to traffic problems in the future ??? even I could have told them their would be problems , and don’t tell me they didn’t have nose to tail horse and cart sort of traffic jams on weekdays back then? And in the Cogan dip the pollution would have come from horses instead, some people have no foresight .

  16. Mgg says:

    Ha ha ha ha ! Don’t you people realise that your proposal for all the social housing on the parks , roundabout , in the sky will get taken up by some local mp as a serious proposition .plus social housing equals Labour voters . Be care full what you joke about. Pre fabs on the pier anyone?

  17. penarthblog says:

    I have to think from the contributions on here that parking is not a problem in Penarth.

  18. Penileaks says:

    And what about the Castle Avenue cemetery and neighbouring golf course. Surely they both qualify for building over and most residents and users of both are either dead, or well on their way to the 20th hole in the sky and so there should not be too many complaints. I’m sure that prospective residents on this proposed Glamorgan Cemetery Social Housing development would be dying to get in !
    Oh, and there is plenty of unused space at West House isn’t there ?

  19. Should have added Cogan was known as Ye Olde Cogan back in the 1880s named after Captain Tommy Cogan the well know whisky smuggler back in 1690 who used to stay at Uncle Jacks Inn that used to stand where the Station Pub is now. Back then they didn’t need to call it the Station as trains had not been invented yet ,as they well knew at the time, so hence the old name. And by the way The Bears Head is not the correct name for the headland on Penarth sea front , its correct name was The Bards Head named after Ethan Ewan Scollop the Court Bard to Prince Lewellyn, because of the odd headwear Scollop used to wear at times it was an easy mistake to make. So now the true meaning has been revealed expect the word Bear to be dropped from the name as it was and is in error.

  20. Matthew Willis says:

    There’s enough social housing in penarth!!

    • Mark says:

      I will not be happy until the whole place is social housing. It’s not right these people with money having big Victorian ‘ouses with bedrooms they don’t use and handsome hardwood doors with chrome knockers (and no wheelchair access). I want to see all that gone, plenty of upvc and concrete and absolutely no GREENERY – my inspiration is an eastern Bloc design where aesthetics count for nought. Some might say that is taking the town to the lowest common denominator of survival and bread and dripping but we need to jam them in. Penarth must have a far higher proportion of social housing than Barry to dilute the sense of entitlement here. People going round as if they have a right to enjoy their hard-earned cash in a nice environment. I’ve never heard such right wing nonsense.

  21. Thanks Matthew Willis always nice to have input from an expert on the subject !!.

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