The £500,000 house –  No.7 John Batchelor Way –  faces Cardiff Bay

Penarth Town Council’s planning committee has been cogitating over a proposal  install new windows and glass-fronted balustrade on the frontage of 7 John Batchelor Way, Penarth Marina – one of a pair of  semi-detached homes fronting Cardiff Bay.

The council’s freelance planning consultant – Emma Langmaid of Prospero Planning Ltd –  guided the councillors through the application which she said “fronts directly onto the Marina” .[PDN Note:  In fact the house doesn’t front onto the Marina –  it fronts onto Cardiff Bay. It’s the back of the house,- which is not the subject of a planning application, that overlooks the Marina – 180 degrees in the opposite direction .]

No 7 is the right-hand house of the pair. The proposal involves extending the balcony with a glass-fronted balustrade different to the type that has been installed next door

Ms Langmaid explained that the proposal is a garage conversion, but that the scheme  includes altering the windows at first floor level and also extending the existing first floor balcony.

Ms Langmaid told the committee that other similar applications in the past had been refused  on the basis of “making too many changes” as the property was “quite a key frontage in the marina”. Her concern was that the next-door property had a different type of balcony to that proposed in the application.

The Town Clerk Emma Boylan [who, until the appointment of Ms Langmaid, used to vet planning applications in Penarth] said ” I have refused on the basis of symmetry in the past” – and observed that her recommendation had subsequently been endorsed by the Vale of Glamorgan Council .

Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward) asked how long ago the houses had been built?

Cllr Ian Buckley (Labour Stanwell)

Cllr Ian Buckley (Labour, Cornerswell Ward) said he thought they had been built about 25 years ago  . Cllr Turner he did not think there would be any legislation to prevent a change.

Cllr Buckley asked whether the application would be “alright” if the proposed new balcony was the same as the one on the other house of the pair.   Ms Langmaid said that the houses appear as if they were 2 but were “actually 4 with 2 smaller units at the side” and there was now a “mixture” of balconies in the street .

Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines) who is deputy chairman of the planning committee said “This is an example of Barratt’s trying to move into a more sophisticated design regime I think. It would be a shame to destroy what symmetry they did manage to provide at the time[PDN Note: In fact the houses were built by Crest Nicholson – not Barratts]  .

Cllr Turner asked whether it was “the aesthetics that we don’t like” .

Penarth Council planning committee chairman Cllr Nigel Humphrey

Planning chairman Nigel Humphrey (Labour St Augustines) noted that the houses were not in the Penarth Conservation Area and people should have the liberty to change their properties “even if it does not agree with our taste”.  He wondered if the committee was coming to view that it should make “no comment” on the proposal.

As the committee wrestled with the application, Cllr Ian Buckley (Labour Cornerswell)  said “Personally if that was my house I would like to have that balcony with those opening doors” . He said he would have no objection to the scheme himself –  but would be “swayed” by the experts .

The planning committee eventually came to the conclusion that it would make “no objection” to the proposals. The final decision will be made by the Vale of Glamorgan Council planning office.

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  1. Brickie says:

    I believe the houses WERE constructed by Barratts, certainly less than 20 years ago.

  2. OB says:

    Hurrah for planning chairman Nigel Humphrey. Why the obsession with symmetry and how many passers-by would look up and notice the difference anyway? And look a the photo: the smaller adjoining house has — guess what? — a glass balustrade.

  3. Anne Greagsby says:

    Nigel Humphrey (Labour St Augustines) should not be CHAIR of planning as his job as an architect depends on people wanting to make alterations to their home and on developers. So no surprise that he says ‘people should have the liberty to change their properties “even if it does not agree with our taste’. No ethics in the labour party nowadays. Self interest comes before the interest of the town.

  4. Ann Other says:

    Of course, it would be preferable if someone on the Council knew what was going on, who had built the estate, which way the house was facing, and so on, but, failing that, it’s good to see PDN printing corrections. Maybe the Council could employ you as a governance briefing and library service? The Clerk is surely ill-informed when it comes to the limits of her erstwhile powers: it would be extraordinary were she to have held the power of decision about planning applications though she may have been in a position to make recommendations to the Council who could then make a collective decision to accept, or not, the clerk’s recommendation. All rather worrying.

  5. In For a Penny says:

    What’s the debate?
    It’s hardly Bath’s Royal Crescent down there is it?

  6. Mark Foster says:

    They could put on a performance of the Balcony Pas de Deux from Romeo and Juliet with the glorious Prokofiev music.

  7. Guido says:

    There’s already a plethora of varying balcony styles around the marina, some if not all, on primary frontages.

  8. Max Wallis says:

    ‘Symmetry’ is unsophisticated a principle, Planning Policy Wales has “respect the character of the surrounding area… appropriate scale and design”; TAN12-Design talks of sense of place and “enhance the character, quality and function of an area”. Have you properly reported the planning chairman as supporting ‘liberty’ to make any changes (if not in the Conservation Area) which gives brutalist re-builds eg. in Victoria Road?

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