CONSERVATIVE V LABOUR CLASH ON FORMER ROBERT SMITH CAR SHOWROOM

The chairman of the planning committee Cllr Ben Gray (Conservative Plymouth Ward)  and Deputy Chair Cllr Vince Driscoll (Conservative Dinas Powys) voted against moving into a closed secret session of the planning committee at which financial aspects of the apartment development would have been discussed in private with press and public excluded.

Members of the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s planning committee clashed in public last night over the planning application to redevelop the former Robert Smith car showroom at 88 Windsor Road Penarth into 12 apartments and a commercial gymnasium.

Councillors weren’t too bothered about the detailed plans – but they locked horns in political combat  when it came to discussing the amount of so-called “Section 106” money that the Vale Council would –   or, arguably, should –  receive from the developers to “mitigate” the effect of the development on the community at large.

Planning permission has now – at long last – been given to start the redevelopment of the former Robert Smith car showroom as a block of 12 private apartments and a commercial gymnasium

The car showroom and former garage is a categorised as a “brownfield site” –  sandwiched between the Penarth/Cardiff railway line at the back and Windsor Road at the front.

The scheme involves demolishing most of the  rear of the building, retaining the original (Moorwell Motors) fascia, building a basement car park and creating 12 brand new apartments for private residential accommodation around a  courtyard to be created in the centre of the site.

The apartments and central courtyard to be built behind the front fascia

The projected cost of building work  is so high the developers have persuaded the District Valuer and the Vale of Glamorgan Council that they they couldn’t afford to pay more than £26,264 by way of a Section 106 payment – otherwise the venture would not be a viable proposition.

In the Vale of Glamorgan planning committee meeting last night the debate predictably boiled down to a straightforward argument about whether the recommended Section 106 payment being offered by the developers and approved by the District Valuer  (i.e. the sum of £26,264 ) –  was acceptable.

Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour St Augustines) said the developers should pay more than £500,000 in Section 106 payments and not the “risible£26,264 that was being recommended

Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour St Augustines) said he welcomed the redevelopment of what he described as an “eyesore” – but said that the recommended £26,264 figure was – as he put it – risible” . He demanded that the developers pay a Section 106 contribution North of half a mil.” [ i.e. more than £500,000].

He asserted that it had already been established that St Augustine’s Ward had “the lowest proportion of social housing in Penarth”.  Cllr Thomas said Unfortunately this development not only does nothing to improve that awful position, it in fact makes it worse”.

[PDN Note: In fact the residents of St Augustines Ward appear NOT to want to have yet more social tenants accommodated in their already densely-populated ward – as has become clear in the public debate over the redevelopment of St Paul’s Church. It is said, however, that the Labour Party wants more social tenants in the ward – because they will vote Labour.] 

Pressing on, Cllr Thomas said the council should expect 40%  of the 12 apartments be allocated as “social housing” and “affordable” housing.  He calculated that this would mean that, of the 12 new private apartments,  5 of them should be allocated as social housing [for renting to hard-up tenants]  or as “affordable” apartments [i,e new properties sold at a discount to buyers who cannot afford the full retail price].

The developers are not, in fact, proposing to provide any social housing at all.

The building will look much the same from the front as it does now

[PDN Note: It is being claimed that the extra costs to the council of providing schools, roads and social housing associated with private residential developments  like Sainte Adresse  (a.k.a. Northcliff Lodge) falls on council taxpayers  – unless, that is, developers hand over an acceptable wad of  Section 106 cash to “mitigate” the knock-on effects of their schemes.]

Cllr Thomas said the development of the former Robert Smith premises represented a forthcoming cost to the community of at least half a million”.

Cllr Thomas said “The message to developers is ‘Build in Penarth and the Vale Council will make local-taxpayers subsidise your profits’ – because there WILL  be profits on this”. He claimed the developers were expecting to make at least “a 20% profit”. He opposed the development and said it should be “sent back to be re-designed to a degree that it is viable and can make a reasonable contribution to the community”

Cllr Jonathan Bird (Conservative Wenvoe)

However Cllr Jonathan Bird (Conservative Wenvoe) was not in the least persuaded by Cllr Thomas’s  left-of-centre arithmetic. He told Cllr Thomas  Do you know, I am just staggered at that reaction actually “ and proceeded to give Cllr Thomas a lesson in the basic economics of property development.

Cllr Bird told Cllr Thomas “You said that the place was an ‘eyesore’ and you wanted it developed . It’s not going to be developed if you insist on having [Section 106] money and the developer is making no profit at all – in fact probably making a LOSS at that level”.

Cllr Bird reminded Cllr Thomas that the Vale Council’s Planning Officer Victoria Robinson had already explained  that the planning guidance was to go for the “the best case scenario” – [ i.e. the best achievable outcome bearing in mind all the planning regulations and the fundamental viability of the project ] .

Cllr Bird explained that When you’re in certain areas, you can’t sell for high amounts – and” – turning to Cllr Thomas – said “I’m just staggered that you can’t understand that”.

Cllr Thomas may have attempted to say something at this point but his microphone was muted and his protests – if that’s what they were – went unheard.

Cllr Bird moved to have a vote in favour of the Vale of Glamorgan planning officers’ recommendation to give planning permission to the scheme.

Cllr Bird’s motion was rapidly seconded by Cllr Leighton Rowlands (Conservative Dyfan)  and planning permission was duly AWARDED  for the scheme  – subject to it being completed within 24 months and subject to the developer paying the council the recommended Section 106 payment of  £26,264.

 

 

 

 

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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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25 Responses to CONSERVATIVE V LABOUR CLASH ON FORMER ROBERT SMITH CAR SHOWROOM

  1. Local says:

    What a f***ing joke! Just tear up the planning guidance. It’s meaningless.

    • Philip Rapier says:

      Yet again the Aga Lout Toffs of the Rural Vale treating us like Village Idiots..
      I am surprised they have time to attend meetings with James Howells closing down sale beckoning and them selling off those stylish designer green wellies.
      .The incompetent, negligent Vale Council have permanently around 689 empty homes in the Area. To advocate build at all costs is a disgrace.
      The facts are as reported by the BBC and Wales on line 24 Nov 17
      “A recent freedom of information request , indicated a substantial number of the Vale’s empty properties were in Penarth”………………..
      . “The 2016 figures, released by the BBC Shared Data Unit on Friday, November 24, showed that 689 homes in the Vale had been vacant for more than six months.
      With that equating to roughly one empty home for every 185 residents, ”
      “House building has been a contentious point among residents in the Vale of Glamorgan, particularly Barry, over the past several years, with some arguing that the levels of new homes being constructed were unnecessarily high “

  2. David Day says:

    Why, actually, should the developers pay anything at all to the council? They are developing (the clue is in the word) the local built environment, and taking a series of risks to do so. The community as a whole benefits from such development and benefits from not themselves having to bear a financial or legal risk from the process of development. Compensation for development is nonsense – an oxymoron – with the emphasis on the third and fourth syllables.

    • Amanda Cruttenden says:

      The question in this situation yet again is the lack of social housing. Most people do not bare in mind the reality of the housing crisis. How many people in life like to give the impression that they “ own” their own properties when in reality they are mortgaged up to the hilt and in fact the banks or building societies “own” the property until it is paid for. So called successful business people or people in well – paid jobs could find themselves in a situation where they are made redundant or their business could fail ( especially with the uncertainty of Brexit.) They will then find themselves homeless and in need of social housing themselves. It can happen to anyone at anytime, there is no such thing as financial security unless you are lucky enough to win the lottery and invest wisely. I have sadly come to the conclusion that ther appear to be more “ snobs “ in Penarth than probably anywhere else in Wales with small, selfish , provincial mindsets. With jobs being lost “ left , right and centre” at the moment and I note the irony of that as applied to party politics, there is no place any longer for this snobbish nimbyism. There could be a massive wake-up call for some of the so- called “ successful” people in Penarth who like to project that they’re “ stuffy with money” and love to “ look down “ on the less well off.After all even one of Prince Charles’s closest friends ( when he was younger) ended up homeless on the streets of London. Some people are badly in need of “ a reality check. We come into this World with nothing and we leave with nothing, but we ALL deserve the dignity of having a roof over our heads!

      • Tom Perry says:

        Please don’t be despondent Amanda, it’s not the people of Penarth who have small, selfish, provincial mindsets, it’s the malcontent hobbyists on here.

      • David Day says:

        True. This is why it is wrong to deter new development of any sort, especially, like the ludicrous Labour councillor quoted here, you make development impossible through imposing naive and counter-productive financial penalties for enterprise, risk-taking, innovation, and creativity. It all adds to the housing stock and releases accommodation for those who can afford less valuable property even when there is no ‘affordable’ housing in any particular development.

      • Tim says:

        Some friend if Charles let his closest friend end up on the streets of London when he has huge property portfolio which he could have used to put him up in. Says it all really.

      • Slippery Slope says:

        And what are you doing on here, Tom Perry?

      • Tom Perry says:

        An observer, slippery slope. Who are you anyway?

      • Slippery Slope says:

        “Please don’t be despondent Amanda, it’s not the people of Penarth who have small, selfish, provincial mindsets, it’s the malcontent hobbyists on here.”
        @Tom Perry… you sound more like a bitter, know-all judge affecting a pious cosmopolitan outlook.
        Here you are observing when you could be organising fund-raising events for Syrian refugees.
        Who am I? “An observer”.

      • Fishhenge says:

        It’s the “successful” people in places like Penarth and elsewhere whose taxes support, amongst other things, the less successful people in this country to live in sheltered housing and be supported by the state. So good luck to them.

      • Chris David says:

        Um actually no we don’t, the reality is we don’t deserve anything. Lovely sentiments but it just doesn’t work like that. Sapiens are nothing special in the universe but we are very selfish and destructive? That I think both endorses your point and shows its impracticality. A lot of us have seen both sides. And your statement re lottery winners is massively wide of the truth.

  3. Eyes and Ears says:

    Crooks. There should be no movement on Section 106 money. That’s 2 projects given the ok with hardly any thing for the community.

  4. Concerned Windsor Road Resident. says:

    The Old Robert Smith garage used to sell / have fuel pumps. Regarding ” Disused Petrol / Fuel storage tanks made safe from Fire / Explosion” BS.6187:2000. the law is quite clear. Remove or Fill. Following the Rendering safe of this exercise (either option) witnessed by a Petroleum Officer, a Decommissioning Certificate is issued to the Licensing Authority. SIMPLE QUESTION. Has / When will, this this work be undertaken

    • John64 says:

      I can’t be certain about it, but it was some time between 1999 and 2006 that the, by then, fuel storage tanks were filled with foam in accordance with the regulations.
      On the broader question, I’m not getting into any debate about the merits of “affordable” / “social” housing but what does strike me is that ‘106’ money now seems to be being used as a “cash cow” for local authorities. ‘Section 106’ was meant to cover major developments, i.e. Penarth Heights, not small re-developments. Cllr. Bird is right. Even if you accept that the developer should pay ‘106’ money then £26K for 12 apartments (or £2.2K per unit) does not seem excessive. It begs the question, what was the cost of ‘section 106’ per unit for Penarth Heights?

  5. Racist Mark (aka Mark Foster) says:

    Look at the way they’re dressed. They all look like members of the Mafia. Scum, the Tory and Labour parties are. That’s British democracy for you. What you need is a leader to get rid of the lot of them.

  6. Chris David says:

    Once again the jealous lefty spoilers and champagne socialists promote development at any cost. Penarthians (sic) don’t want their town spoilt even further. But what really bothers me is yet more secrecy. There should be nothing discussed in secret outside personal matters and Goldsworthy et al are a suspicious lot. From the Senedd secreting the Sargeant report to these petty politicians we should be on out guard.

  7. Chris David says:

    Oh another closet gravy trainer! Yes of course Mr Hardley, maybe because I have some unlike you no content snipers luv x Ps- god- fictional character, try giving us some facts sweetie 🙂

    • Tom Perry says:

      I cannot approve of Mr Hadley’s vulgar tone but your typically arrogant, predictable attempt at a put down is equally depressing.

      • Chris David says:

        Funny how the personal attackers get depressed when retaliated against! Well Mr Perry no one needs or seeks your approval, so climb of your arrogant high horse and try commenting on the issues at hand – in the main bad and suspect building planning coupled with the destruction of our green spaces, wildlife and all the secrecy surrounding these problems. Now who’s the malcontent ha.

    • Tom Perry says:

      Yet more nonsense Mr David. Knowing your insistence on the last word it’s over to you, I’ve got better to do on a sunny Sunday. 😘

  8. Amanda Cruttenden says:

    Thanks so much for your comment Slippery Slope@Tom Perry. His response proved my point very nicely didn’t it. The sad attitude today is that if you have any kind of a “ social conscience “ you’re labelled a “ loony lefty” I have been fortunate enough in life to have experienced “ both sides of the coin” and therefore I like to think I can have a reasonably balanced viewpoint.I am far from being just an observer, I am a full- time Carer for my son who has severe , enduring health problems and after 8 years have just been served notice to quit our private rental of 8 years. At one time we had 7 family businesses, so I’m also familiar with the World of risk- taking, enterprise and innovation . Sadly, they nearly always go “ hand in hand” with flexible accountancy and offshore accounts which do nothing for the infrastructure of our country , both physically , economically or socially. I have no allegiance to any Political Party. I’m interested in a level playing field and for people in authority to “ try and join the dots” before making important decisions if we are going to sustain our country as a balanced, progressive democracy.

  9. AK says:

    There is plenty of ‘affordable housing’ in Penarth. The trouble is it generally has a ‘to let’ sign instead of a ‘ for sale’ sign. Too many landlords.

    As for the developments, the developer needs to be profitable otherwise the site, and that of the former filling station and other empty properties will remain as derelict eyesores.

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