With less than 4 weeks to go before the local elections – a further attempt is being made by developers to win planning permission to develop 30 box-like apartments at Northcliff Lodge – on the iconic green escarpment of Penarth Head – overlooking Cardiff Bay.
The plans is a revised “re-submission” of the heavily-criticised scheme which was thrown out by the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s planning committee in January .
On that occasion the Vale Council’s own “professional planners” took a pasting from Vale councillors – who accused them of “group-think” for having recommended approval of the contentious scheme – a development which would have completely altered the look of the Penarth Headland from Cardiff Bay.
To the chagrin of the Vale Planning Department, the Vale of Glamorgan councillors voted overwhelmingly to reject the Northcliff Lodge scheme.
…. However, with many millions of pounds at stake – the Northcliff Lodge planning battle is anything but over – and a very similar new scheme is now being prepared.
With the local elections less than 4 weeks away – and a with a new Vale of Glamorgan Council about to be elected – the determined developers have chosen this moment to revive their rejected apartment scheme for Northcliff Lodge and are preparing to submit a revised version of the scheme, which appears to be very similar to the rejected original.
Planning agents LRM – acting for the developers Celtic Developments (Penarth) Ltd – have “hand-delivered” letters to every household in the immediate vicinity of Northcliff Lodge soliciting the comments of local residents on the Mark II version of developement.
These comments will be sent to the Vale of Glamorgan Council and form part of the new version of the Northcliff Lodge development proposals.
The Northcliff Lodge scheme has been designed for Celtic Developments by local award-winning architects Loyn & Co – run by the president of of the Penarth Civic Society Chris Loyn who specialises in modernistic designs.
His firm has just moved into new premises in Glebe St, Penarth where 3D models of its designs are on display in the window .
It’s already known that some of the most vociferous opponents of the original Northcliff Lodge scheme will not be in the newly-formed Vale of Glamorgan Council after the May 4th elections
Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines) is not standing for election to the Vale Council – although he is standing as a candidate for Penarth Town Council. It was Cllr Roberts’s eloquent diatribe which galvanised opinion in the planning committee against the Northcliff Lodge scheme.
Also stepping down from the Vale Council next month is another opponent of the scheme – the authoritative and highly experienced Cllr Jeffrey James (Conservative Rhoose).
However another doughty opponent of the Northcliff Lodge Scheme – the formidable Anne Greagsby – is standing for election to the Vale Council on May 4th .
As a member of the public – [ not a councillor] Ms Greagsby spoke powerfully against the scheme in the decisive January meeting of the Vale planning committee – and she continues to oppose it. She now says of the developers “The cheek of them bring this back while the town council and Vale council are stood down! “
“The new Northcliffe application is much the same plan just issued for ‘pre-application’ consultation, with their planning consultancy trying new tactics. They also been lobbying the Design Commission for Wales “
“The previous application was rejected against officer recommendation because the proposed buildings are of an excessive size, massing and form, fail to have regard to the context of the site and its coastal headland context, and fail to either preserve or enhance the character of the nearby Conservation Area and Listed Buildings. No mention that the officers were wrong on bats and trees; on ‘sustainable location’ and car-parking, on cliff-side stability and on adverse effects on the setting of the Custom House etc. Yet there are no photomontages as normal process to show visual impact on our listed buildings and the cliff-side landscape.”
Ms Greagsby says “Objectors do NOT need to respond to this to inform the consultants why they object, other than it’s little changed and the issues raised by the public have not been addressed. They want our reasons for objecting in advance so they address them before it goes to the planning officers. We can make specific objections when it goes to the Council.”
She goes on to point out that “Residents and the Campaign Against Northcliffe Development fear that some Councillors who led the rejection at the planning meeting in January will not be re-elected on 4th May.”