If the St Paul’s Church social housing scheme goes ahead the pavement in Chapel Lane will be ripped up in a road-widening scheme

Councillors cast anxious glances at each other  as half a dozen local residents walked en mass into this week’s meeting of Penarth Town Council’s planning committee.

The residents were there specifically to challenge the latest [Mark III] version of the controversial planning application submitted by the Labour-Party-dominated Newydd Housing Association to develop the St Paul’s Church site and turn it into a densely-packed development of rented apartments for “social housing“.

The developers Newydd Housing Association and WYG have found it necessary to make further changes to the plans – and therefore a new, amended, planning application has had to be submitted.

It now transpires that the latest plans indicate an intention to tear-up the pavement alongside St Paul’s – called “Chapel Lane” –  a factor that hasn’t featured in earlier consultations . People will be expected to walk on the road instead.

Cllr Nigel Humphrey (Labour St Augustines)

The chairman of the planning committee, Cllr Nigel Humphrey (Labour St Augustines)  had earlier noted a “Housing Strategy” report which claimed that the current “established need in Penarth for one-bedroom apartments was 202“and  that the requirement for two-bedroom apartments is currently 147.

Cllr Humphrey invited Tim Land of the St Paul’s Church Community Group to address the committee.

Mr Tim Land –  who spoke at the Penath Council planning committee  meeting

Mr Land reminded the planning committee that it had deferred a decision on the previous version of the St Paul ‘s scheme pending information about the viability of the original stone frontage of the development -[ the only part of St Paul’s which would be left standing and integrated in the overall scheme. He said there was no further information on the Vale Council’s internet planning portal about this and reminded members there was also a question of “planning aesthetic “.

The planned accommodation in the St Paul’s development crams in well over 30 – possibly 40 – social housing tenants – but only provides 5 parking spaces for their cars – and the cars of their visitors.

Mr Land reminded the committee of a “parking appraisal” which had included a survey of available street-parking in the vicinity of St Paul’s. However the survey had been “misleading” in assessing the number of available street-parking spaces and had left out roads such as King St, Salop St and Coronation Terrace. The survey HAD however included places Paget Terrace – some distance away – which “curiously enough, offers more parking”

Criticising the parking appraisal, Mr Land said parking observations had not been carried out at peak times and added  “the survey area is seriously flawed, and suggests the deliberate exclusion of certain streets closest to the site”.

Mr Land also pointed out that a Newydd Housing project in Barry had allocated one parking space for every apartment – but this was not the case at St Paul’s. He said cars would continue to be an integral means of transport in South Wales and that cost-effective electric vehicles would become the standard (i.e. electric cars will still need parking spaces). The St Paul’s apartments he said were designed to have a life of 70 years .

He added that “the current number of parking spaces would suggest that St Paul’s residents are to be discouraged from car ownership    and said that lack of provision for the influx of cars [owned by the St Paul’s tenants ] into the area is “a critical design flaw” in the St Paul’s development.

Summing up, he said the Newydd Housing plans for St Paul’s would contain “too many units” and would add to the “overdensity” of residential units in that area.

This pavement in Chapel Lane would be torn up –  and the road widened – to allow fire trucks access. No alternative pavement is proposed  – so local residents and tenants will have to walk in the road.

Mr Land then revealed that the latest Newydd Housing Association plans now included the removal of  footpath [ i.e. pavement] in Chapel Lane  – the narrow lane which runs alongside the left side of St Paul’s when looking at the front of the building.

He said that originally the Vale of Glamorgan Council had  set a requirement that the pavement should  be “re-constructed” after building work was complete  However there is now a requirement that Chapel Lane has to be made wider in order to accommodate fire-fighting vehicles. Mr Land said  the existing pavement on Chapel Lane would have  to be removed.

Mr Land said removing the Chapel Lane pavement would involve taking away essential infrastructure from the area. It’s called “Chapel Lane” because St Paul’s Church was originally a Methodist chapel.

Mr Land said many people used that pavement. It was part of the infrastructure of the area – and it appeared it was now to be removed. He said the amended design would take away pedestrian access at the rear of the site, removed the amenity area – (the grassy area where residents were to have sat in the sun),  would remove the bin stores to a more difficult area and only part of Chapel Lane would be re-surfaced – the rest of it, he said, would be “left in a dilapidated state”.

He re-iterated that too many dwellings were proposed for the St Paul’s site and there was just not enough local infrastructure to support them.

Planning chairman Cllr Nigel Humphrey said the latest plans indicated there would  still be  [only] 5 parking spaces provided on site, some windows had been changed in response to complaints about “overlooking” and there was now  the widening of the highway by the removal of the footpath [ i.e. pavement] in Chapel Lane.  He said issues regarding the “parking appraisal” had been highlighted before. Neither he nor any of the other members of the planning committee responded to the other points made by Tim Land.

Cllr Humphrey said that the planning committee had recommended there should be further public consultation on the issue of the retention of the St Paul’s front facade. He had been told that officers had not been able to get in to the St Paul’s building – possibly for health and safety reasons –   to carry out a survey of the facade. Cllr Humphrey said there had not been much further discussion on the question of removing or retaining the facade. It was however a condition that the front window be retained  – but it was not known whether that would  be “an actual window for rooms behind or  effectively a big lighting box”.

Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward) said the planning committee appeared to be no further forward towards making a recommendation on the St Paul’s planning application.

Cllr Jon Luxton (Labour Stanwell)

Cllr Jon Luxton (Labour Stanwell) said the developer’s public  consultation had used “poor methodology” and there was “unhappiness amongst the residents“. He said “those voices need to be heard much more they have been”.

Cllr Turner said the local population had “made it clear to the Vale Council what their thoughts are”  .

Summing up, Cllr Humphrey said the committee thought there should be further public consultation before the committee made a recommendation on the application to the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

He added “bearing in mind the need for affordable housing we are quite keen to see something happening”.

Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines) Leader of Penarth Town Council

The Leader of Penarth Town Council Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines) is a shareholder in the Newydd Housing Association and withdrew from the committee whilst the St Paul’s planning application was under discussion.

[ PDN Note: The scheme to re-develop St Paul’s Church as social housing apartments is said to have been originally cooked-up – out of the public eye –  by the previous Labour administration in the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

Thoughout the entire planning process the Labour-controlled Penarth Town Council has not issued any formal comments or recommendations which are critical of the St Paul’s scheme.] 







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  1. The Tax payer says:

    How can they remove the pavement when hundreds of people use it each day and it’s used by so many cars ?? 😎

  2. Philip Rapier says:

    The Newydd self appointing quango and the Cowbridge only Tory All Male Cabinet shamocracy would probably get away with this were we not living in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy.
    We will not allow you to put the lives of some of the most vulnerable citizens of Penarth at risk.
    Shame on you as it is festering ignorance and overcrowding like this that caused Grenfell..

    Here is the LAW as relating to Flats and Maisonettes Fire and Rescue Vehicle Access
    Vehicle access to the exterior of a building is needed to enable high reach appliances, such as turntable ladders and hydraulic platforms, to be used, and to enable pumping appliances to supply water and equipment for fire-fighting and rescue activities. The access arrangements increase with building size and height.
    Conversions – in the case of conversions, as specified in regulation 4, the building as converted shall meet the requirements of this standard in so far as is reasonably practicable, and in no case be worse than before the conversion (regulation 12, schedule 6).
    Flats or maisonettes with a common entrance, a vehicle access route for fire-fighting vehicles from a public road should be provided not more than 45m from the common entrance.
    Turning facilities
    . Access route for fire and rescue service vehicles
    Access Flats and maisonettes
    Minimum width of road between kerbs 3.7m
    Minimum width of gateways etc 3.5m
    Minimum clearance height 4.0m
    Minimum turning circle between kerbs 26.0m
    Minimum turning circle between walls 29.0m
    Minimum axle loading 14 tonnes
    Dead end route – fire and rescue service vehicles should not have to reverse more than 20m from the end of an access road. Where any dead-end route is more than 20m long, turning facilities should be provided. This can be a turning circle or a hammerhead designed on the basis of the diagram and table below.


    • The Tax payer says:

      Philip. You really do need to get a life mate or get a job with the echo as a reporter if they would have you ?? 😎😎

  3. JohnPowell says:

    Cars cars cars cars cars cars …

  4. Local resident says:

    Any planning application in this very overcrowded area should include consideration nearby residential streets. Mr Land is correct to include Salop St which is certainly nearer than Paget Place. Parking here now has the added effect of of car users from the doctors surgery, Albert Primary, St Augustine’s Hall, Albert Rd Church and community Centre, residents of Albert Rd flats ( parking there seems to be only for the expensive end although there is a bike rack!) the health shop, shoppers and occasionally local residents. It would seem that St Paul’s development was a done deal and public consultation merely window dressing. Roll on local elections!

  5. Dizzydeb says:

    Cars, vans, campervans and taxis!
    Add all these appartments and this part of PENARTH will become a parking nightmare! Not to mention another 30 cars trying to get in & out of PENARTH!
    Let’s go back to a community hall and sports venue, that’s what the residents voted for. Use ALL the Crest Nicholson 106 agreement money on restoring St Pauls.

    • Lex79 says:

      I agree, give Penarth residents a community hall and sports venue. It’s totally absurd to ram in more affordable homes here and removing a pavement to do so just shows this is. It the right place.

    • FlowerPower says:

      What we voted for was for the boxing & gym club to continue to have use of the facility – specific use for the specific groups. What we didn’t vote for was a community centre.

  6. Penileaks says:

    Perhaps before making any recommendation, the Penarth Council should spend some time watching who and how many people actually use this stretch of lane to pass between Arcot Street and Glebe Street – and not in the middle of the night please to get a low reading !
    I regularly work in that immediate area and there are a number of old and somewhat infirm people who use all or part of this lane to walk along and there are also many children and mothers with prams who use it as well, particularly around school start and finishing times.
    If the pavement is going to be removed on the lower part of this lane, then the developers should be required to provide a similar pedestrian pavement on their land running parallel with the existing one.
    Is the Glebe Street end of this lane also to have it’s narrow pavement removed to provide this widened access ?
    If so, there is someone’s front door exiting straight on to that area and I assume that exiting a house directly onto a public roadway is against residential planning laws and so the use of this residential unit will become illegal. Still, I suppose that the residents of that unit could always be offered one of the new flats in St Pauls !
    Wake up and smell the coffee Penarth and Vale councils, this is a vast overdevelopment by anyone’s standards and should be completely re-thought with planning rules not bent to suit the housing association and Vale of Glamorgan dreams of ticking as many boxes as possible on the provision of social housing.

  7. 92 and a social butterfly says:


  8. Adam Mathews says:

    “The next Welsh Government must show far more ambition, and a willingness to work with the whole sector, recognising the need to deliver 70,000 new homes over the next Assembly term.” – Andrew RT Davies.

Comments are closed.