The “professional planners” of the Labour-controlled Vale of Glamorgan Council are now recommending that councillors on the Planning Committee should approve the Vale Council’s own plans to host weddings in the mediaeval barns at Cosmeston Country Park.
The planning committee is due to meet for the last time (before the May 4th council elections) on Thursday April 27th.
Before members will be a report from the council’s planning department recommending that they give the Vale Council itself planning permission for the “change of use” of two mediaeval barn buildings to allow private weddings to be held in them.
Critics say the move is purely another tawdry money-making wheeze by the Labour-run Vale Council – which also wants to set up a commercial wake-boarding centre on one of the lakes – again to help meet the cost of running the council and paying the councillors.
Local residents say such schemes are totally unsuitable for a country park where the emphasis should be on peaceful relaxation and enjoying nature in quiet natural surroundings.
Normally the Vale Council would just have gone ahead and given itself planning permission to do what it wanted – but a spanner has been thrown into the works by Cllr Bob Penrose (Independent Sully) who has “called in” the planning application for consideration before the full planning committee on Thursday.
The Vale Council admits that Sully Community Council and several local residents have expressed “numerous concerns” about the Mediaeval-Village wedding scheme
Local people say that with 50 parking places allocated to each wedding there won’t be enough parking space s left at Cosmeston for ordinary visitors – let alone tv film crews which often use Cosmeston as a base and the proposed “Park and Ride” bus service .
They also say that renting-out the mediaeval barns for weddings will curtail the time these buildings are accessible to ordinary visitors, that the noise generated by the wedding celebrations will disturb local residents and detract from the tranquillity of the park and that – in any case – the barn buildings aren’t suitable for weddings to be held in them.
Cllr Maureen Kelly-Owen (Conservative Plymouth Ward) – in what is likely to be the last planning battle of her council career before she retires next month – has raised the issue of security at Cosmeston.
She is also querying whether the Labour Vale Council’s wedding venue plans for Cosmeston constitute a proper use of the Country Park .
Cllr Kelly Owen’s point about security will not be lost on Vale planning committee members who can recall the terrorist organisation ISIS holding a summer cook-out and rally at Cosmeston Country Park in 2014 without being noticed by the police or park wardens.
It’s understood that the ISIS terrorists didn’t even have to pay the Vale of Glamorgan Council the standard charge for barbecue facilities because they allegedly brought their own equipment and utensils – including knives – with them.
The council officers have brushed-aside Cllr Kelly-Owen’s concerns about security – saying that security is “not a planning matter” .
The council’s own staff planners – not surprisingly – have recommended that the members of the planning committee should agree the proposed “change of use” for the mediaeval barns at Cosmeston .If it is agreed then it’s anticipated that about 10 “marriage events” will take place each year.
In an attempt to allay fears about noise the council officers are suggesting that “no equipment capable of producing amplified sound shall be allowed into the area where the event is taking place” – but critics have already pointed out that this means any wedding could hire a 15-piece swing band – or even a full-size symphony orchestra – if it wanted to – and still be able to get around the rules.
The Labour-controlled Penarth Town Council made no comment on the application (even though it had been invited to by the Labour Vale Council) on the tenuous grounds that the barns in Cosmeston are situated just a few yards outside the boundaries of Penarth (even though the rest of the Country Park is within the curtilage of Penarth).
Local residents living in neighbouring properties apparently haven’t yet responded to council circulars informing them of the plans, and have yet to submit any objections.