The swing bridge – seen as Penarth’s equivalent of Tower Bridge or Sydney Harbour Bridge – was lit up when the 150th anniversary of Penarth Docks was celebrated in 2015

Plans to upgrade the currently-dormant Penarth Marina swing-bridge may result in local residents having to endure rather more than just the “put-put” of a passing pleasure boat.

The upgrade  – to meet the latest Health & Safety Standards –  means that every time the bridge swings open for a yacht to pass through, there will be a 50-second-long interlude of flashing lights, high volume buzzers and loud  Tannoy announcements – in at least two languages.

The swing bridge was lit up and being used by pedestrians in 2014. But has been out of action and “parked ” since June 2016

The flashing lights, louder buzzers and bi-lingual voice-warnings  are deemed necessary to comply with the latest Health & Safety legislation .

Penarth Marina residents had been campaigning for months to have the operation of the Swing Bridge at Town Quay brought back into use –  it saves them a long walk. But perhaps they hadn’t quite bargained for the consequences.

The Penarth Marina swing bridge – when in commission – rotates through 90 degrees to reach across to the opposite side of the waterway. Red lights flash when it’s in traqnsit and a complicated series of interlocked automatic gates opens to admit pedestrians

Marina operators Quay Marinas say that to  comply with the current law, the bridge is now now required to have automatic  warning systems similar to those at the nearby Cardiff Bay Barrage bascule bridges and the Pont-y-Werin bridge.

The planning application for the upgrade says that the new lights to be fitted have to be “bright enough to be visible in sunlight”  and the audible alarms have to be “loud enough to warn those people on the bridge, those who may be approachingand also approaching vessels

Youngsters found crossing the illuminated swing bridge was a novel experience in 2015 .It’s now been out of action for many months

Marina residents may also be dismayed to hear that the new audio warnings “will operate at sound levels similar to those on the Barrage Bascule Bridges” and that   the volume of the safety announcement will be “adjusted” to ensure it’s audible in all weather conditions.

Before it was taken out of commission,  the Marina Swing Bridge had its existing audible alarms  reduced in volume to just a low buzz . However, now those muted alarm loudspeakers are to be returned to what the Marina describes as “their normal operating levels”.

The type of lights and buzzers which would be fitted to the Swing Bridge in Penarth Marina

What’s more, 2 additional flashing light units – with additional audible alarms –  will be installed at the midpoint to make sure anyone already on the bridge is made aware it’s about to start moving.

The planning application says the flashing lights and audible alarms will operate for 10 seconds before the bridge starts to move and then for the 40 seconds or so it takes to open and close – making a total of 50 seconds of flashing lights and audible alarms every time the bridge is opened or closed.

On top of that “additional lighting” will be added to the sides of the bridge to ensure it is brighter and more visible at night for approaching vessels.

The type of horn loudspeaker specified in the application which will relay the audio warnings when the swing bridge is in action

The audio warnings also include voice announcements made via a Tannoy system which will exclaim – first of all in Welsh –  “Eich sylw os gwelwch yn dda. Mae’r bont ar fin symud. Plis symudwch i ffwrdd “.

Having warned the Welsh speakers,  the system then alerts English-speakers who – at this point – would clearly be unaware of what’s about to happen . The English announcement is to say “Attention please, the bridge is about to be operated. Please stand clear” .

The English version however isn’t an exact translation of the Welsh announcement. The words “Plis symudwch i ffwrdd” actually mean “Please move away” …. exactly what some of those with expensive homes within earshot of the swing bridge may now be thinking about doing.






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Penarth Daily News email address dmj@newsnet.uk . Penarth Daily News is an independent free on-line fair and balanced news service published by NewsNet Ltd covering the town of Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, UK. All our news items are based on the information we receive or discover at the time of publication and are published on the basis that they are accurate to the best of our knowledge and belief at that time. Comments posted on the site by commentators reflect their opinions and are not necessarily shared, endorsed or supported by Penarth Daily News.
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  1. The Tax payer says:

    The residents can’t have it all ways. If they want the bridge they have to have the health & sfety that goes with it. This can’t be the only location that has this so why do they think they are any different !
    Also they would be the first to complain when someone gets hurt or killed without this health & safety procedure in place.
    You can’t live in a marina without having boats and all that goes with it 👍

    • Spongebob Squarehead says:

      To The Tax Payer – I detect a bit of Marina Resident envy in your sentiment. Haters will always hate – but I still love you!!!

      • Geoffrey says:

        To SpongeBob Squarehead, what a silly comment. Who’d want to live down there with all the boats back and forth, and cars speeding, and all the matchbox houses – which look as though they have paper-thin walls – crammed on top of each other. No thanks, chum.

      • The Tax payer says:

        Sorry your miles out. Wouldn’t live at the marina if you paid me thanks. Or thinking about that how much would it be worth. If it’s £500 a week i may think about it but only in the summer mind 👍

    • Victor Y says:

      @ The Tax Payer – there are a lot of people living in the marina so it is quite probable that the those campaigning for the bridge to be reinstated are not the same people who live close to it and would therefore have to live with the noise.

  2. Roger Taylor says:

    Those on boats in the marina itself will be the most affected as their vessels have little sound insulation. The

    I don’t understand why Penarth Marina Residents Association have been supporting this refurbishment without actually consulting the residents who are most affected by this. I have twice tried to engage with them about this matter but have been rebuffed. Please could someone from the association contact me to discuss this?

    • Gwynne says:

      Residents association have had no contact from this gentleman posted by Chairman of PMHRA

      • Roger Taylor says:

        That is a falsehood. I emailed the association at 1137 hours on 16th November 2016 and you organisation couldn’t even be bothered to acknowledge my communication.

        An apology is required for you untruthful and malicious statement

  3. Brickie says:

    A sledgehammer to crack a nut. A cynical attempt to make life as unpleasant as possible so the Marina company can decommission it and avoid maintenance expenditure.

  4. AK says:

    The barriers on the barrage locks start to open fractionally before the warning siren and lights (after the bilingual warning) rendering the whole rigmarole pointless.

    Has anyone missed the swing bridge ?

  5. Ken says:

    Ahh…the IT 130 horn speaker; a very fine horn speaker.

  6. Chris David says:

    What the stats? how many people in the UK have been injured or worse by moving bridges in the last 10 years? Yes I think the realists and cynics above have it. As for languages- will it have extra buttons for Proteus McL/Pearson ha.

  7. Bob Ashworth says:

    Why not have the bridge in its current open position by default. When someone needs to cross they phone the marina office to have it closed. In the high season boats will have the bridge moving every 10 minutes or so. Overall disruption to everyone will be lower.

  8. Victor Y says:

    Pont-y-Werin bridge has sirens and flashing lights when it opens/closes doesn’t it? I haven’t heard anyone complain about those.

  9. Guido says:

    Begs the question whether the projected noise levels could result in noise abatement issues for the Vale Council to consider. What takes precedence then ?

  10. snoggerdog says:

    if you live on the baltic coast you can hear the clams farting! (google clam methane).

  11. Steven jones says:

    If you live near to the proposed air raid sirens and disco lights please object on the vale planning site. Its going to be like the blitz throughout the night with all those pesky fishermen leaving at all hours. For all the tourist whiners having to walk 300 yards extra to the bridge by the marina office
    Stay home if you dont like walking!!!!!!
    Ps the marina is an amazing place to live fresh air, views to die for and a great community spirit.

  12. Chris David says:

    Sounds excellent Mr S Jones.

  13. Fishhenge says:

    Views to die for in the Marina? Of what in the vicinity of the swing bridge?

Comments are closed.