CALL FOR PENARTH MARINA’S BIKE-BREAKING SWING-BRIDGE TO BE RE-OPENED

There was a majority vote in favour of re-commissioning the controversial Penarth Marina Swing Bridge at Town Quay  at last night ‘s meeting of the local residents’ association .

The bridge – one of the original features of the Penarth Marina –  dates back to the 1980s and revolves on a vertical axis to span the narrow neck of water between the Outer and Inner Harbour of the Marina  – or at least it does so when it’s working.

The Penarth Marina swing bridge has been parked since 2016

John Constable is chairman of the Penarth Portway Management Company

Mr John Constable the manager of  the Penarth Portway Management Company  told the meeting in 1995 there had been an agreement made between the Vale of Glamorgan Council and the prececessors of Quay Marinas [ Crest Nicholson] to designate the swing bridge as a  “dedicated walkway” which conferred  legal rights of public access .

He said “I think there is a very good case that Stuart [ Stuart Jones the manager of Penarth Quays Marina] is going to have to re-open that bridge ”

Quay Marinas – Mr Constable said – would be required to respond within 28 days to a letter being sent to them by the Vale of Glamorgan Council.  Mr Constable added  This bridge needs to be opened” – and whilst he understood the position of Penarth Quays Marina  he said “It’s not their right to take that bridge away from us “

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

The bridge was taken out of operation by Penarth Marina’s operators Quay Marinas in 2016 following an incident in which a lady cyclist had failed to see the flashing red warning lights on the bridge and had not heard the alarms (which had been reduced in volume because of complaints for local residents ).

The cyclist was not injured, but her bicycle was  damaged. Prior to this a child’s bike had been “trapped” by the bridge when it was being pushed across by an adult (again there were no injuries sustained).

Subsequently Quay Marinas was advised by a Health and Safety consultants that it should not be operating the bridge at all without full-volume alarms and additional flashing lights. As a result, the bridge was taken out of commission and “parked”.

Stuart Jones, Manager of Penarth Quays Marina

Stuart Jones the manager of Penarth Quays Marina drew up a list of “pros and cons” for  local residents and marina customers and asked the Vale of Glamorgan Council to review them and make a decision. They were as follows:-

Pros of bridge closure for local residents

  • No disruption from audible alarms
  • No disruption form audible messages
  • A much quieter neighbourhood without the through traffic associated with visitors, runners and cyclists.
  • The bridge is no longer a rat run for criminals
  • The bridge is no longer an attraction for “tombstoning” and gatherings for groups of youths.
  • Visitor car park is no longer filled with office workers and charter fishermen coming to the marina so is available for visitors to the properties.

Cons of bridge closure for local residents:-

  • No access across the bridge for those without cars and needing the bus.
  • A longer walk to the café for those living in Plas Pamir and Plas St Andresse.
  • Some staff at the Offices at Town Quay have to walk around or find alternative car parking arrangements.

Pros of Bridge Closure for Quay Marinas

  • No risk of further safety incidents with pedestrians/cyclists at the bridge.
  • No further risk of vessels running into the bridge.
  • No ongoing maintenance/operational costs.
  • No disruption to boat movements for Quay Marina customers and visitors

Cons of Bridge Closure for Quay Marinas

  • No parking for customers on Llwyn Passat (charter fishermen)
  • Additional car parking spaces given to local office workers.
  • Requirement to safely decommission/mothball bridge.

Quay Marinas  submitted a Planning Application for upgraded safety systems on the swing bridge to bring it into line with the existing systems on Pont-y-Werin and at the Barrage Locks.

However the company says there were “differing positions” from different departments within the Vale of Glamorgan Council. It says :-

  • The Health and Safety department “wanted a safe bridge operation with audible and visible alarms”.
  • The Environmental Health department – the company says  – declared that “such alarms would be unacceptable to residents who lived adjacent to the bridge.”
  • The Planning Department proposed “quiet alarms” and is claimed to have told the company that there would be no need to consider pedestrians and joggers wearing headphones .

Quay Marinas then withdrew the planning application. Stuart Jones claims the  planning process had “become a political process rather than just looking at the facts.” Meanwhile the company has continued a dialogue with the Vale of Glamorgan Council in what it describes as “a  frustrating situation all round”. 

The Swing Bridge was one of the earliest features installed in Penarth Marina in the 1980s before the boat pontoons were installed and the surrounding houses were built . Now Quay Marinas say some residents claim local house prices are being affected by the possibility of its being returned to service (Photo John Clark) –

Mr Jones says that “House sales are falling through as there is a risk of too much noise pollution” and says   “If we proceed with the alarms we could quite possibly have a notice served on us by the council for noise pollution.”

He says “Quay Marinas are being labelled as the bad guys and as an organisation taking away a service from the public.  I have had personal attacks on my integrity whereas at all times we have been trying to find a balanced sensible solution to the problem.”

Last night most people attending the Penarth Marina Residents Association voted for the bridge to be restored to operation . However the key issue is who would be liable in the event of an accident involving the bridge  – and that is a matter still to be resolved.

About NewsNet

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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17 Responses to CALL FOR PENARTH MARINA’S BIKE-BREAKING SWING-BRIDGE TO BE RE-OPENED

  1. AK says:

    The Tesco swing bridge voice / alarms seem fairly discrete. The ones on the Barrage are way too loud.

    If the Marina bridge was kept in its parked position then daft pedestrians would not have a chance to play ‘beat the bridge’. Failing that, it only needs to be moved one way until next time access is required for boat or pedestrian.

    • Philip Rapier says:

      I must down to the seas again,
      To the lonely sea and the sky.
      But please do not disturb my posers home.
      With integral garage close by.
      All I ask is a tall ship to stare at all day long.
      And when my yuppie pals drop in.
      We sip our Prosecco and and long .
      For no noisy Master Mariners and boring ways of the sea.
      Just a picture postcard idyllic resort is best for you and me.
      I must down to the seas again.
      To the lonely sea and the sky
      I love the Mariners and couldn’t be keener
      But please no noises from their seafaring life
      After all, it won’t do – this is Penarth Marina.

  2. Salbutamol Mark (aka Mark Foster) says:

    More unbelievable money-wasting rubbish from the intellectual giants who run Penarth and Wales. The solution is to re-open the bridge and ban cyclists who cannot see flashing red lights or hear deafening alarms, especially lady ones, before they kill themselves or somebody else. Jeez, my asthma’s bad today, where’s my inhaler?

  3. Brickie says:

    All so called incidents resulted from cyclists/pedestrians saying they didn’t see or hear the warnings. You cannot make allowances for people who are plugged into earphones, gazing at their phones or, most likely, trying to race onto the bridge before the gate closes. If we have to ‘protect’ the public from every potential hazard, the whole of the Britsh coastline should be fenced off. People need to take some ownership of their safety.

    • John says:

      Quite so – as for the home sales which t is said are falling through (plural!) because of the loud speaker … evidence please! NIMBY nonsense to suggest a working marina should be quiet !!

      • NewsNet says:

        PDN sources say that worried householders turned up in the office of Penarth Quays Marina complaining that the value of their homes would be adversely affected if the audible warnings and flashing lights are brought back into use.

  4. John says:

    Over 30 local residents residing near to the bridge objected to the reopening of the bridge in the recent Planning application – That is pretty much 90% of the group.
    That is fact not fiction check the files.
    PLEASE RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION A MAJORITY OF RESIDENTS ON A SHOW OF HANDS BEFORE A QUIZ NIGHT GET REAL A REPRESENT THE PEOPLE IT EFFECTS!!!!!!!

    • Bobby says:

      The school near my house means I suffer from selfish parents who park their cars over my drive and on the pavement does that mean they’ll shut the school?

  5. John says:

    Bobby, 90% of locals have voiced their opinions to keep the bridge closed. Perhaps you could
    Stop whining about your unfortunate situation and do something about it like the local residents have done. I would be amazed if the council listened to the quizers rather than the people directely effected.by the noisy clapped out bridge (let alone the new alarms blasting across the whole marina.
    I can just see your mind tickingover and changing opinion as i type. Please confirm if i am correct

  6. Confuseddeanus says:

    Forgive me or am I missing something here. As has been stated previously this is a working Marina. If you buy a house near a road you expect traffic noise, if you buy a house near a school you expect parking problems and if you buy a house on a marina you expect all the associated noise generated by boat, car and pedestrian activity. There is significant noise by rigging rattling in heavy winds and visiting seagulls that is part of living on a marina or should this be suppressed as well? Are not all these sounds integral to living near a marina? I could understand the objectors concerns more readily if this was a newly proposed Bridge and not constructed predominately prior to most of the houses. People seem to forget that beyond our residential boundaries becomes public realm and, as inconvenient as it may be sometimes, is there for all of us to enjoy.

    • John says:

      Cobnfused you make excellent points however writing words without research confuses everyone.
      The reason 90% of local people objected in the recent planning application was the implementation of the health and safety rules . If you go and visit the barrage today and listen to the warnings 8 times an hour in welsh and english you will get a real sense of the
      Issue we are facing.
      The second issue is the state of the bridge mechanism. The environmental department did a sound check last year and found it to be way over legal limits.

      The perfect answer to this conundrum is for the council to fund a new modern quiet bridge with the technology to no longer require the warnings .

  7. Confuseddeanus says:

    Thanks John but my comments are based on observation, common sense and that does not require any research. With respect you mention me confusing the issue and yet you appear to be referring to noise from the barrage. If the swing bridge had continued operating, but the regulations meant that the warnings had to be upgraded to higher audial and visual impact then where would you stand? Surely then the closure is just a red herring (pardon the sea associated pun) and you would have to accept the change….or not?

  8. John says:

    Sorry Confused this is a deadly serious to those of us effected.
    Have a re -read of the article to understand the issue before you post as you are
    Living up to your name at the moment

    • Confuseddeanus says:

      Thanks John and I treat the issue as seriously as is required when there is a threat to connectivity to local residents and the remainder of Penarth. I hope I have made my case succinctly and yes I have read the detail. Your reply just appears as an unfounded defence and holds no water ( pardon the pun). Please enlighten me to my ignorance by responding to my comments in a factual manner rather than an attempt at deflection. I welcome your rebuttal.

  9. John says:

    Confused, dont take it personally but here is a quick simple summary of the situation .
    1. The bridge was decommissioned due to various incidents and new health and safety rules
    2. The council environmental health dept did a sound check on the bridge and concluded that it
    Was way over the legal decibel level
    3. Health and safety rules required new flashing lights and loud speakers giving warnings in
    English and welsh every time the bridge is moved. ( confused thats why i suggested a trip to the barrage to appreciated the disruption to not only those directly effected but the whole of the marina).
    4. 90% of local residents objected to the new lights and speakers in the recent planning application.
    5. No resident is cut off from the rest of penarth ( your latest attempt to justify your words )
    Confused as i have taken the time to explain the facts to you i would be grateful if you would look at a map and see that in fact for 100% of residents it is quicker to
    A. Walk to the lockgate at the marina office and up the hill past custom house to Penarth
    B. Walk along the inner basin to left up penarth porthway- right up terra nova way and then either left up the twisty path or straight on past tescos.

    I hope that has got you up to speed confused anything else you are not sure of don’t hesitate to
    Let me know regards j

  10. Confuseddeanus says:

    John thanks for your summary. Based on your response and the article and I go through your points below;
    1-3. these appear to be statements of facts. But it would appear that the problems that occurred were down to user error and no malfunction or inadequacy of the bridge.
    3. You mentioned the disruption by operation of the Barrage Bridge. By this I assume you mean, as I said before, the functioning of the bridge which has been present there for a number of years. The majority of residents would have bought their property knowing that there were two mechanical Bridges that were likely to entail audio and visual warnings. I visit the Barrage regularly and find the raising of the bridge integral to the functioning of the structure.
    4. Was that every resident on the marina Estate or just 90% of the ones who responded. Either way, hardly surprising, as objectors tend to make the most noise, are self serving and do not take into account the views and needs of the wider population.
    5. I think some of my confusion has rubbed off on you John. I do not recall saying that any of the marinas residents would be cut off from Penarth. Indeed I wouldn’t expect a massive use by residents as living close the bridge their journeys will be away and towards it and not across it.

    In summary to your response and comments. They do not change my views one iota and as the article states in 1995 the bridge should remain as a dedicated walkway with legal rights of access for local residents and all of Penarth now and into the future.

    I hope that has got you up to speed John on what appears to be the facts, my views, and probably the views of most of Penarth residents.

    I will not be making any further comments as it is clear you have your own agenda, but thank you for the debate and I hope common sense prevails that overrides the financial implications to the operator which is really what this is all about.

  11. John says:

    Hi confused, so to
    point no 3 – i suggested a trip to the barrage to hear the extent of the disruption ie noise of the tannoys
    Point no 4 – 90% of the people who responded who are directly effected
    Point no 5 – you said “threat to connectivity to local residents and the remainder of Penarth”

    You now have added a new argument saying as a fact-

    OVERIDES THE FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS TO THE OPERATOR WHICH IS REALLY WHAT ALL THIS IS ABOUT

    I have now the utmost contempt for you – how dare you try and ignore the wishes of 90% of the effected citizens and blame the marina who as far as i can see are stuck in the middle between the
    Council – the environmental health dept – the health and safety rules/dept

    Confused i am really pleased you have taken the time to get up to speed on the issue.
    I would me be more than happy to give you a guided tour of the area now that you have an understanding of the complex problem for all concerned, regards j

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