Headlands School – once the Penarth Hotel – is a Grade II listed building.

Labour councillors in Penarth have been castigated by Plaid Cymru for “ignoring” the Grade II listed Headlands School building in St Augustine’s Road, Penarth.

Plaid Cymru candidate Aled Thomas is standing in St Augustines with Anne Greagsby

One of the Plaid candidates aiming to break Labour’s grip on the two  St Augustine’s Ward seats  on the Vale of Glamorgan Council – Aled Thomas – has expressed his concerns about the historic school building in the South Wales Echo and is demanding to know “why  the Labour-led Vale Council ignored this building for so long?”

He says the building was initially the Penarth Hotel, built in 1868 by the Taff Vale Railway Company later becoming a Nautical Training School and was then converted into a children’s home by the widow of Major JA Gibbs in memory of her husband – killed in action in WW1.

Aled Thomas says “It has been proposed by its owners Action for Children that this site should be adapted to create headquarters for the charity by converting the listed school into prestigious offices. The Labour-led Vale Council has proposed the site for housing development in its Local Development Plan, with up to 67 new houses planned with no consideration for conservation.”

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines) is accused by Plaid Cymru of not having opposed the felling of trees at Headlands

Aled Thomas also notes that Labour Penarth Town councillor Gwyn Roberts “voted against objecting to the felling of many trees which are such an important part of the landscape”. Mr Thomas says Plaid Cymru is ” very concerned about the lack of efforts by the current council to restore and preserve architectural treasures in Penarth” but that the “Conservation Officer for the Vale Council doesn’t seem to be dealing with the issue”.

Plaid Cymru’s St Augustine candidates Aled Thomas and Anne Greagsby say the building and its parkland side should be retained in respect of war hero Major J.A Gibbs.

They say “If Action for Children decides to sell the building, we would approach the National Trust to take on Headlands and safeguard it for the public.”

The Headlands parkland  once belonged to the Augustine monks and later the Taff Vale Railway

Plaid Cymru is also pressing for the extensive parkland at the rear of Headlands School to be used for leisure purposes and that the old hotel building itself should be used for “public and business events along the lines of Dyffryn House and Gardens”.

Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell) is a former mayor of Penarth and a governor of Headlands School

Plaid Cymru’s  Headlands campaign may put pressure on Penarth Town Council planning chairman Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour)  – who is also a governor of Headlands School.

Cllr Thomas (no relation) is Aled Thomas’s direct rival in the May 8th Elections. Both are in contention for one of the two Vale of Glamorgan seats representing St Augustine’s Ward.

However, Cllr Thomas lives not in St Augustines Ward but in Cornerswell Ward and is attempting to become a “twin-hatted” Labour councillor who would – if elected – represent two different wards of Penarth on two different councils.

If elected he would continue to represent Cornerswell Ward  on Penarth Town Council but also wants to secure a salaried seat representing St Augustines on the Vale of Glamorgan Council.



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  1. Dizzydeb says:

    Yes everything on the literature I have received from Plaid I agree with, if they can deliver. St Pauls and Headlands will surely become social housing under labour once they have knocked them down and rebuilt ugly boxes. A spread sheet showing how each candidate would deal with the real issues that concern the residents of Penarth would be useful.

    • Matt says:

      Well said! I also like the idea of getting the National Trust involved: they do amazing work. They’ve transformed Dyffryn and I wish they could take over Margham Park and Dunraven from the councils that manage them.

  2. Big Davey says:

    I was under the impression that if this building were not used for educating the under privileged then it automatically returned to the Earl of Plymouth’s estate.

    As it has been boarded up for more than 15 years I would argue that it should have been returned to the Earl of Plymouth’s estate.

  3. sjleworthy says:

    has Cllr Neil Thomas, in that bottom, photo been on the pop?

  4. The Tax payer says:

    Should Aled Roberts be allowed out on his own ? Hope Anne is keeping an eye on him ? But then who’s keeping an eye on Anne ?? 🙂

  5. The says:

    She’ll be offering him a lift on her tandem next – watch out lad

  6. Kate says:

    Seems like the Plaid Cymru candidates are in tune with local concerns in St Augustine’s ward – which is more than can be said for Labour incumbents. Well done for not letting these issues get swept under the political carpet.

  7. Philip Rapier says:

    Well as I sit here in the Acres of Garden of Rapier Towers admiring my several Preservation Order Trees and counting my good fortune. Could it just be that Conservation Areas are to both preserve the past and encouragement of the young to enjoy a stroll and be aspirational.? Perhaps they are not for Planning Officers to Rape -Pillage-Trash-and Burn after all.

  8. Fishhenge says:

    Anyone from Plaid up for a sit-in at St Paul’s church?


Comments are closed.