COSMESTON WEDDINGS: THE VALE COUNCIL TAKES ENFORCEMENT ACTION …AGAINST ITSELF

The only weddings held at Cosmeston to date have been fictional – like this hippie wedding filmed for BBC TV’s politically-loaded medical soap opera “Casualty” some of whose “stars'” – it’s now revealed –  are costing TV licence-payers up to £400,000 a year.

The Vale of Glamorgan Council – now controlled by the Conservative Party – has commenced enforcement action against its own planning department in relation to scheme to allow civil wedding ceremonies to be held at Cosmeston Country Park’s Mediaeval Village .

The civil weddings scheme had been approved by  the former Labour-dominated Planning Committee in its very last meeting in April – just before the unpopular Labour  administratIon was kicked out of office in the May 4th local government elections.

Cllr Lis Burnett (Labour Stanwell) former deputy leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council advocated the Cosmeston Mediaeval Village civil weddings scheme

The Cosmeston civil weddings scheme was the idea of the council’s former Labour cabinet and was backed by its former Deputy Leader Cllr Lis Burnett (Labour Stanwell).

However it now appears that the Vale Highways department had insisted on the scheme being conditional on “highway improvements” being carried-out before any weddings could be held at at Cosmeston…..And it appears such improvements have NOT  been carried out.

Costly engineering work would have to be undertaken at the narrow entrance on Lavernock Road which leads to the Cosmeston Mediaeval Village site before Labour’s civil weddings scheme could be legally allowed to proceed…. For some reason that work has not been carried out.

Apart from the main entrance into Cosmeston Country Park there are two other entrances further towards Sully. The entire site involved in the weddings scheme is marked in red on this council map

The highway improvements at issue appear to be those shown in an amended  site layout plan which the council received (from itself) on 3 March 2017.

They appear to involve yet-to-be-implemented “improvements” to the ancillary entrances to Cosmeston which would provide more direct access to the Mediaeval Village for wedding guests than using the main entrance.

Clearly the Vale Highways Department regards these access points as being too dangerous to be used without extensive highway modifications  – and as yet there is no sign of such roadworks being started.

Actors playing “wedding guests” at a fictional  BBC TV alfresco civic marriage held at Cosmeston Lakes Country Park. Labour’s scheme to allow real civil ceremonies to be held at the park’s Mediaeval Village may well have now come unstuck

The Cosmeston Medieval Weddings scheme had been passed by the old Labour-controlled planning committee in April – as almost the last act of the committee before the May local Government elections.

After Labour was defeated in May’s council elections, Cllr John Thomas (Conservative St Athan) the Leader of the Conservative Group on the new Vale Council, had seemed to be  resigned to the fact that Labour’s Cosmeston Weddings Scheme would go ahead . He said  “Unfortunately once a decision has been made by the planning committee it cannot be rescinded other than by Judicial Review. “

However some PDN sources believe the new Conservative administration has hit on a legal way of scuppering Labour’s unpopular, controversial ( and some would say downright tacky)  Cosmeston civil weddings scheme.

The Vale Council says the alleged breach of planning permission is now under investigation.

 

 

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27 Responses to COSMESTON WEDDINGS: THE VALE COUNCIL TAKES ENFORCEMENT ACTION …AGAINST ITSELF

  1. Frederick says:

    High time the Vale pulled its finger out about putting a stop to the wakeboarding. That’s the most ignorant, invasive and damaging plan of all.

    • Philip Rapier says:

      “Wilful” disregard of an Enforcement Notice is a potential case for M’learned Friends to put before the Bench.
      Unfortunately they will plead incompetence as a defence and we will have to settle for Mal Administration and Negligence in Public Office. Punishable by a night in the Medieval Pig Sty or the Stocks
      Wakeboarding on the other hand is nothing but a desire to walk on water and therefore blasphemous, pagan Witchcraft. This should be punishable by a dip on the newly installed Cosmeston Lake Ducking Stool as these selfish brutes love water so much.

      • Frank Evans says:

        Incompetence, you are right Philip! Labour administration were very incompetent, glad you have seen the light😅

  2. Penarthal says:

    The first non fictional wedding took place at the Medieval Village about a fortnight ago. More are already booked.

  3. Chris David says:

    Great. While they’re at it have a clear out of the planning department. It works against the people. Has its own agenda and sod those that pay them.

  4. Kevin Mahoney says:

    I have recently been pointing out to both the Planning and Highways department the hypocrisy of the highways situation here. In recently dealing with a local resident who wished to construct a drive at his property, Highways pointed that you must have a clear vision at least 60m each way of the road you are joining from a point 2.4m back from the road inside the boundary of your property.

    I pointed out that quite clearly at Cosmeston this would entail chopping the existing hedges at the car park area proposed for the wedding guests both ways to under half their current height for the required 60m in either direction, as currently the sight lines as described are virtually nil, never mind for 60m. Given this, plus the ongoing requirement to then keep the hedges down to a height just under car window level for good plus the cancelling of all paid tours or by individuals during ceremonies I wondered whether the scheme would really prove to be all that commercially viable.

    I certainly don’t mind anyone having their wedding in a unique location with a nice backdrop for their photos but was concerned about these issues and the detriment to park visitors who may have travelled some distance to visit the medieval village only to find on arrival that they are turned away because of a wedding. Half a dozen trip adviser comments pointing out that vistors had travelled only to find the village shut to the public could well knock back the recent significant upturn in in visitor numbers.

    I do feel that once again there are questions to be asked in respect to the integrity of how such plans are presented to the planning committee. in this case I clearly remember myself and others raising points such as those mentioned above and the answers given were that.

    1) Major alterations would be made to the entrance junction to the smaller car park to be used by guests before any weddings took place on safety grounds.

    2) It was invisaged that the village would just be closed to the public for just an hour or two whilst the ceremony took place.

    As I recall we even had one pompous Labour councillor ( no longer on the council) pontificating that a wedding or two enhanced the day for vistors who would enjoy watching such ceremonies ( presumably from afar behind a wire fence) and that anyone disappointed that the village was shut for an hour or two whilst the ceremony took place could pop off for a quick cup of coffee until it opened again.

    My point is that there really is no effective way of alerting the travelling visiting public that a wedding is on and that the village will be out of bounds during their visit. I’m not sure how any people will pick up on ad hoc bookings on the council website before leaving to travel.

    There has in fact been one wedding held at the village, that of a local couple, I genuinely hope that those married had a lovely day.

    However contrary to the statements made by the planning department I am told by park staff that the whole village was booked as an entity for an entire afternoon not the hour or two put forward during the planning application and of course as highlighted in this report the entrance junction has not been adapted to the Vales own standards that they apply to the rest of the public. In fact I was told after pointing out the inadequacies of a couple of the entrances to the park ( not the main entrance) that it was OK because the entrances were historically there and therefore didn’t require upgrading ( despite what was claimed at the planning application)

    I did point out that two turn left only signs had recently been installed at this car park entrance entrance and that in any other industry once an older now below current standards appliance or installation was worked on that it was normally incumbent to upgrade the entire situation to current standards and that the planning application and presentation had highlighted upgrades to this junction.

    I’m all for maximising revenue streams through appropriate schemes but am concerned at ones which result in denying access to other park users who may have travelled unaware of the the restrictions on their day due to other ad hoc not very well advertised events taking place.

    And I certainly think that the Vale itself should be presenting the correct facts at planning application presentations and also that they should be maintaing the same level of safety factors at road junctions to their prpoerties as they insist of others.

    I do repeat that I have no objection to those who wish to having their marriage ceremony in a nice setting of their choice as long as it can be accommodated in a manner that is workable.

  5. Grechla says:

    I think weddings at the village are a great idea. Why can’t the Council allocate certain days for wedding ceremonies e.g. the first Saturday of every month and maybe a few other midweek days each month. Why can’t the happy couples and their guests use the main car park like anyone else who visits the village? Hep presto highway planning issues disappear!!! I really don’t see the big deal. Other tourist attractions seem to manage private bookings! Does anyone know what revenue is generated by day to day visitors to the village?

    • Kevin Mahoney says:

      I guess the argument against that is that with revunue generating film crews sometimes taking up to almost half the available parking spaces in the main car park another 40 to 50 extra cars take up a large chunk of whats left plus the packed aspect of the main carpark during the Summer anyway.

      I’m also unaware of the details, costings and expected business plan profit benefits of the wedding plan which of course would need to take into account loss of takings from other visitors who would have been paying to tour the village during times that it is lost to weddings. And I repeat my fear that if visitors travel to the park and find that one of the attractions is blanked off to them, will it have a detrimental long term effect on visitor numbers including existing takings from the cafe etc which might effect future franchise fees.

      I would repeat that I’m not against weddings here per se but that they must tailor into the existing activities and also take into account noise from the receptions and other detractions on the park and surrounding local area as far as I’m concerned.

      It doesn’t really inspire confidence that a number of misleading statements were made during the planning application that now turn out to be untrue or have been ignored.

      • May Meredith says:

        I surmise that you haven’t had much involvement with weddings recently Mr Mahoney. The biggest money spinner of them all. The Vale would be exceedingly foolish to turn down such a lucrative income stream.

  6. Frank Evans says:

    It will takes years to sort out the mess and chaos caused by Lis Burnett and her Labour colleagues. Did they leave a note saying “the money has all been spent in Barry”

  7. Jepow says:

    i never notice the difference between tetween an unpopular labour
    administration in Barry and an unpopular Tory one. Bills go up, services get cut, and the binmen still throw the street caddies all over the street.
    Anyone care to say what has improved in Penarth since May?

  8. Local Eye says:

    Decided to go for a walk round the lakes and take in a quick look at the village for once. Got there at 3 and gates closed. Was advised that if we want to visit then it’s £5 per head for a guided tour. That’s sorted then. We’ll go down the bay as we usually do.

  9. Michael Garland says:

    I went to visit the Medieval Village on that Saturday 12 o’clock, and after entering the Village was shouted at by a person who came out of the Museum, to be told that the Medieval Village was closed for a wedding and that I should leave. I did question why there were not any notices displayed to say that the Village was closed. I was told that it was not their problem?
    I was leaving the Village when a family turned up and they were really disappointed to find that the Village was closed. They returned to the car park and left.
    I even checked the Vale Council website but there were no details displayed about the Medieval being closed there either.
    It was also noticeable that one of the conditions (condition 4), improvements to the access, imposed by the Vale Council Planning Department, and their Highways Department as part of the Planning Approval had not been carried out. As thisi would compromise the safety of vehicle users entering or leaving the site using this access point and also vehicles travelling along Lavernock Road, this was duly reported and Enforcement Action began.
    Like Kevin Mahoney, I am not against the holding of weddings here, as long as it Is not detrimental to visitors to the Medieval Village and compromises its historical and educational attraction.
    It was also stated at the Planning Committee Meeting that the Village would only be closed for an hour or two while a wedding took place, and Councillors made the assumption that visitors would go off and have a cup of coffee or a walk around the park while they waited for the wedding to finish and not be closed to the public from 9am until the early hours of the morning as stated in the Planning Application documents.

  10. Grechla says:

    I really do fail to see what the issue is here – why not encourage a bit of diversification at a site that is desperate for funding. With all the funding pressures that the Council faces, an additional source of income with relatively minimal impact can only be a good thing. Wedding photos would be spread far and wide on social media showing Cosmeston in a great light and perhaps encouraging further visitors which would mean additional income for the café etc etc

    • Michael Garland says:

      You don’t need to have a wedding at the Medieval Village to have your wedding photos taken in the Park. Many couples do this already.
      But the unannounced closures of the Medieval Village for Weddings especially on weekends and bank holidays will lead to less visitors coming to enjoy the Medieval Village and the Park.
      Cosmeston Park is cost effective at present, the Council want to raise extra income to spend elsewhere.
      The cafe is privately run so any additional income here does not go to the Council.

  11. Chris David says:

    I see Ms Meredith is a philistine and business expert as well as a health expert! Well it doesn’t seem fitting that “we” should have events that close a pubic owned country park and museum off to its owners the public. It’s also clear there are safety problems with road access, egress and parking. Mr Garland was shouted at by someone who felt he/she were exercising their rights in ejecting him from his own property!! Sorry Kevin you are one of the few considered and honest councillors we have, but I personally can’t agree that the VoG should coral the village for events not open to all the public. As for that water or wake boarding idea, its quite beyond comprehension that a council would consider such a scheme for our country park. I hope the new council can rid us of the labour legacy and no I don’t give a damn what “denomination” they are. These were the budget geniuses that got the meals in wheels budget wrong by 150% + and spent huge amounts in chairs for themselves- thrones no doubt at that cost. Surely the new bunch have some good business people…..persons that don’t want to wreck the Vale on board?

    • May Meredith says:

      I think it’s worth repeating, bombast and pomposity. Crack on with the carte vitale scheme, your time is too precious to waste here.

  12. Steven says:

    What the f***. The council needs to increase income. If you all want Cosmeston and the village to remain open, then events will need to happen. Weddings, wakeboarding, or heavens forbid car parking. NOTHING IN LIFE IS FREE. It’s either that or our council tax bills go through the roof. If I want to visit Cardiff I need to pay for parking, Alton towers charges for parking. Omg. John Lewis charges for parking. If people living in Penearth (I live in Penarth) hate all these changes move away. Please note that the vog council hasn’t spread the roads and pavements for weed growth. There is not a magic money tree. The council has to increase its income or basic services will be reduced. Get over it!

    • Frederick says:

      You’re being ridiculous and froth-mouthed – you ‘get over it’ chum.
      What the f*** are you talking about?
      Taking your argument to its logical conclusion, the place would be a mass of money-making ‘schemes’ akin to Barry Island funfair.
      We, as council tax payers, have a responsibility to the environment and wildlife and to future generations.
      If you don’t like the idea of preserving natural habitats move away (perhaps to Cardiff where you’ll have parking charges galore and no birdsong.)
      What the council needs to do is less about increasing its income and more about decreasing its spend on white elephants such as that woeful viewing platform.
      You can’t use money as an excuse for everything, least of all your – or the council’s – ignorance.

    • Chris David says:

      Well Steven and if the bad things happen, that make you clever ? Or right- as in it’s right? Like I said Oscar Wilde has you summed up.

  13. Chris David says:

    Yeah yeah lets rent out a Hen Harriers for fun, splash paint on a Picasso for $10 a throw- cut down all our rain forests and sell the Orangutans as slaves. Flog yer mother to horny pirates, yeah yeah cmon lets do anything cuz were wild and clever. Some people know the price of everything and …………………look it up- Oscar Wilde.

  14. Peter Church says:

    “There is not a magic money tree”

    Yes there is, Ask Jeremy.
    and I don’t mean Vine!

  15. Mr a p misstum says:

    Come what May? Think Mr C D has bested you. He’s right. It’s a country park, not an An Archers Barry Island. Signs the new VoG will improve things. Just hope they keep the Louts in Labour firmly in check- mate.

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