The chairman of the Penarth Tourism and Visitor Association (PTVA) Mr Anthony Ernest says camping SHOULD be allowed at Cosmeston Country Park.
Mr Ernest – a former Mayor of Penarth and a former Conservative councillor for the Plymouth Ward – has welcomed proposals for camping, or “glamping”, [ up-market camping] at Cosmeston which have been developed by the Vale of Glamorgan Council.
The camping scheme received a set back last week when the Vale Council’s Environment and Regeneration Committee voted against the introduction of such a scheme.
However Mr Ernest says that although the camping scheme has “received criticism from some quarters” he says the “innovative proposals, brought forward by the Vale Council, are a reflection of the wishes of many potential visitors, who would like to stay in this part of Wales, which at present is poorly served for caravans and camping, by a few small sites relatively remote from the town.”
As a former Vale of Glamorgan councillor Mr. Ernest was – until 2012 – responsible for the Country Parks in the Vale. He says many potential visitors had told him they would have liked to have had the opportunity to stay for a few days in the Penarth area.
Mr Ernest says “Penarth needs the income generated by visitors to the town, and the recent closures of restaurants and shops shows that we are not immune to the wider economy which has seen business rates and rents rise beyond the reach of business owners, who bring so much variety and colour to the Penarth scene. If we were to have camping or caravan facilities here, this would bring in many visitors who can provide a major income stream for local businesses, without impacting in any way on the regular use of the park by local people”
The Penarth Tourist and Visitor Association – Mr Ernest says – recognises that local residents are “understandably protective of what they feel is “their” park” – but says that “If Penarth is not to suffer a continued downturn in its fortunes, it needs to bring in new high-spend visitors who will buy food, drink and gifts locally, and put extra revenue into both businesses and the Council at the same time.”
If the Vale Council decides to pursue the scheme any further [ following the negative vote of the Environment Committee] he’s asking that the PTVA be consulted at an early stage.