Cllr Lis Burnett Deputy Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council  told the Vale  planning committee that Cllr Bob Penrose had wanted to hand over Cosmeston County Park to Centre Parcs. Cllr Penrose described this  allegation as “a downright lie“.

The Deputy Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council, Cllr Lis Burnett was accused last night by Cllr Bob Penrose (Independent Sully) of having told “a downright lie” to the council’s Planning Committee.

It happened at the final meeting of the current Labour administration’s Planning Committee before a new Vale Council is elected in next week’s local government elections.

The Vale Council has given itself permission to use the two “Mediaeval barns” at Cosmeston Country Park to host wedding ceremonies

At the meeting, the Vale Council’s Planning Committee granted the Vale Council permission for  a “change of use” of the two replica mediaeval barns which form part of the “Mediaeval Village” in Cosmeston Country Park.

It will now enable the council to hire-out the barns on a commercial basis for civil wedding ceremonies 7 days a week –  except for Bank Holidays. It’s anticipated that  “approximately” 10 civil weddings a year will be held at the Mediaeval Village.

The proceedings began with councillors hearing an outline of the proposals from council’s planning officers who recommended,  in their report, that the committee should permit the application – in effect, recommending that the council should to give permission to itself.

Cllr Michael Garland of Sully Community Council

As a member of the public, Cllr Michael Garland of Sully Community Council appeared in person before the Planning Committee to underscore objections to the scheme which Sully Council had already made by letter.

Cllr Garland noted that the Vale Council had already listed Cosmeston Mediaeval Village as a “County Treasure” describing it as a full-scale reconstruction of the original 14th century village which once stood on the site. The village was, he said, a popular heritage attraction which was unique in Britain  – and was of historical, educational and recreational importance for visitors from all over the country and abroad.

Cllr Garland pointed out that if the scheme was approved the Mediaeval Village would be closed to visitors when weddings were being held there and would deter visitors as they would not know when the Village would be open.

The narrow entrance on Lavernock Road which leads to the Mediaeval Village site will have to be re-engineered for wedding traffic.

Traffic attending weddings will access the site through a separate entrance further south along Lavernock Road. Cllr Garland also pointed out that Vale Highways Department had described the proposed access point was “grossly substandard in terms of visibility – as it is located between two bends on Lavernock Road “.

Cllr Garland also pointed out that parking would be a problem. There were currently 210 parking spaces at Cosmeston. If 50 parking spaces were allocated for weddings and the overspill parking area – which was on soft ground which flooded in wet weather – was not used, there would be a 25% reduction in parking for the general public. The result of this – he said would be that people would park on the housing estate across the road – causing severe congestion and difficulties for emergency vehicles.

Cllr Kevin Mahoney (Independent Sully)

Cllr Kevin Mahoney (Independent Sully) spoke next – pointing out that there did not seem to be any means of notifying visitors intending to travel to Cosmeston as to whether or not the Mediaeval Village would actually be open when they arrived.

He said parking would be a problem. Last weekend when visiting with his family he had had to circle the car park to find a space.

The Planning Committee chairman Cllr Fred Johnson – presiding over his last meeting before retiring next week – then introduced as a speaker the Deputy Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council, Cllr Lis Burnett (Labour St Augustines – but who is seeking re-election in Stanwell Ward).  He explained that Cllr Burnett would be leaving the chamber after speaking and would not be participating in the ensuing debate.

Cllr Lis Burnett (Labour St Augustines) Deputy Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cllr Burnett told the committee that no member of the public had submitted any objection to the scheme. The matter had been openly discussed in ‘cabinet’ and at a scrutiny committee.  She had met Cllr Garland for discussions at Cosmeston in August but said  weddings in the replica barns had not been mentioned . She said “I do question what has caused the change of view in the intervening period” .

Cllr Burnett then made her contentious remark. She said “I know that Cllr Penrose [Cllr Bob Penrose, Independent Sully]  has previously suggested handing Cosmeston over to Centre Parcs to establish one of their family resorts.   I should clarify that we are categorically not talking about that scale of venture, or of limiting access”.

Cllr Burnett aimed her next barb at Cllr Kevin Mahoney (Independent Sully) saying   “I don’t know how often Cllr Mahoney visits the Park now that he lives in Barry Island ….[There were angry shouts of objection from councillors in the chamber at this point ] …but  I live just up the road  … and I reckon …and I reckon ..that my family visits about 500 times year”. After her 3 minute speech Cllr Burnett left the chamber.

Cllr Bob Penrose (Independent Sully) said Cllr Burnett’s allegation was “a downright lie”

Cllr Bob Penrose (Independent Sully)  said First of all – and it’s not part of this committee –  I would challenge the cabinet member’s  [i.e. Cllr Burnett’s] statement that I suggested handing over to Centre Parcs. I’m not going to elaborate, but it’s a downright lie”   .

There was a stunned silence followed by exclamations of “Whooh!” in the chamber.

Cllr Penrose also said the Planning Committee was a quasi-judicial committee which was in no way influenced by ‘cabinet’ or by scrutiny committee and said he had no idea why Cllr Burnett had brought that up.

Cllr Penrose said that the proposed separate access junction to the Mediaeval Village site had been turned down previously by the council’s Highways Department as being “unsafe”.

On the vexed issue of parking capacity, Cllr Penrose said people were parking on the neighbouring housing estates. He said of Cllr Burnett “I would challenge the cabinet member. Obviously she hasn’t walked around Cosmeston and spoken to the actual residents there – because every person I have met  has thrown this one up – the complaint about the parking” .

Cllr Anthony Powell (Labour Dyfan Ward, Barry)

Cllr Anthony Powell (Labour Dyfan Ward Barry) was a lot more sanguine about Cosmeston weddings.

He said when, as a tourist abroad, he saw local weddings spilling out into a village square, everyone was happy whether they were part of the wedding or not.

“It’s a wonderful thing to see!” he said

His view was endorsed by Cllr Maureen Kelly-Owen (Conservative Plymouth Ward) – making her final appearance at Planning Committee before her retirement next week.

Cllr Maureen Kelly Owen (Conservative Plymouth Ward) was making her last appearance at planning committee

Cllr Kelly-Owen  said she was “somewhat emotionally connected ” to the park as she had been joint chairman of the original Cosmeston project before it had been developed. “We were thrilled to bits to find some mediaeval remains and I have been in love with that park ever since. I wouldn’t do a thing to damage it ”  . She said weddings would “bring the place alive – it will do nothing but enhance it- and for very, very little inconvenience”.

Cllr Penrose moved a vote against “officers’ recommendation” [ i.e. against the wedding scheme]  but only 5 councillors supported this and the motion was lost .

The motion to accept the officers recommendation [and therefore permit the change in use of the two barns at the Mediaeval Village ] was then carried .

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  1. Philip Rapier says:

    Personally I would decline to attend any friend or relatives Wedding being solemenised on the back of a MOCK MEDIAVEAL MUCK SPREADING CART at Cosmeston
    I do also think Councillor Kelly-Owen and those anonymous others in the Kremlin Politburo of the Vale Momentum Group needs to get out more.if gawping at other peoples Weddings is the limit of thei.imagination, altruism, volunteering spirit and understanding of what a Councillor is supposed to do.
    I will let the late Sir John Betjeman do the talking.
    “It’s not their fault they do not know
    The birdsong from the radio,”

    Apply poetic licence to the whole poem and just imagine Cosmeston suits the rhyme. Sir John ambassador for the days when Weddings were Weddings and not held in Cowsheds..

    Slough- John Betjeman

    Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough!
    It isn’t fit for humans now,
    There isn’t grass to graze a cow.
    Swarm over, Death!

    Come, bombs and blow to smithereens
    Those air -conditioned, bright canteens,
    Tinned fruit, tinned meat, tinned milk, tinned beans,
    Tinned minds, tinned breath.

    Mess up the mess they call a town-
    A house for ninety-seven down
    And once a week a half a crown
    For twenty years.

    And get that man with double chin
    Who’ll always cheat and always win,
    Who washes his repulsive skin
    In women’s tears:

    And smash his desk of polished oak
    And smash his hands so used to stroke
    And stop his boring dirty joke
    And make him yell.

    But spare the bald young clerks who add
    The profits of the stinking cad;
    It’s not their fault that they are mad,
    They’ve tasted Hell.

    It’s not their fault they do not know
    The birdsong from the radio,
    It’s not their fault they often go
    To Maidenhead

    And talk of sport and makes of cars
    In various bogus-Tudor bars
    And daren’t look up and see the stars
    But belch instead.

    In labour-saving homes, with care
    Their wives frizz out peroxide hair
    And dry it in synthetic air
    And paint their nails.

    Come, friendly bombs and fall on Slough
    To get it ready for the plough.
    The cabbages are coming now;
    The earth exhales.

    • Mark Foster says:

      If John Betjeman wrote a poem like that about Slough today, they’d put him in jail. That’s progress.

  2. Blue says:

    Come friendly bombs to Lavernock
    Blow up that ghastly floral frock
    Campaigners crawl from ‘neath a rock
    Swarm over, Death!

    Come, bombs and blow to smithereens
    The Vale’s overpriced canteen
    Tinned fruit, tinned meat, tinned milk, tinned beans,
    Tinned minds, tinned breath.

    Mess up the mess they call Penarth-
    Affordable? Now that’s a laugh
    My living space is cut by half
    In front and rear

    And get the woman with double chin
    Who’ll always lie and always spin ,
    Who likes a double double gin
    And trades in fear

    And smash her lies about the oak,
    The birch, the ash and Penarth folk
    And stop her nasal, boring croak
    And stop her smell

    But spare the council clerk who adds
    Value in this town of cads
    It’s not her fault that they are sad,
    She’s wasted, Hell!.

    It’s not their fault they do not know
    The seagulls from the video,
    It’s not their fault they often go
    To Cosmeston

    And talk of weddings on a farm
    In various bogus-Tudor barns
    And daren’t look up and see the harm
    That they have done

    In labour-voting homes, with care
    Their wives vote out the sons of Blair
    And make believe they really care
    About this Wales.

    Come, friendly bombs to Lavernock
    To get it ready for the shock
    Of Weddings to which many flock;
    Epic fails

  3. Local Eye says:

    Four weddings and a Funeral (I’m working on some names)
    Income for the year £1000 max outgoing ie new entrance, hard standing car park, Vale administration costs £50k min. It’s the Pier Pavilion mark two. Good intentions, lousy outcome.

  4. Frank Evans says:

    Labour telling lies. What’s new?

Comments are closed.