It’s emerged that the grounds of Penarth Town Council’s headquarters at West House are being constantly monitored by CCTV.
The revelation was made in a discussion about developments in the front garden of West House – which have been undertaken using Section 106 funding [ money paid by local developers as a condition of receiving planning permission].
Amongst the new features of the West House front garden is a new seating area which has been donated by the immediate past-Mayor of Penarth Cllr Ken Lloyd (Conservative Cornerswell) and his consort Georgia Bennett
The leader of the Conservatives on the town council, Cllr Martin Turner, (Plymouth Ward) praised the development of the front garden of the premises and said “One of the things I think is good is that we have opened up the front of West House . With all the input into the front of West House and garden” Cllr Turner asked “do we have any CCTV covering the area in the event of there being a problem”?
The Town Clerk Emma Boylan confirmed that there was indeed CCTV covering the front garden of West House – an installation of which most councillors appear to have been unaware.
Cllr Turner then asked whether there would be signage installed to warn anyone in the garden that their activities were being video-recorded . It was confirmed that such notices ( which are not on display at the moment) are to be installed.
It appears however that most local residents are unaware that the front lawn and gardens of West House actually ARE open to the general public.
[Despite its name, West House actually faces South and the sunny benches in the garden have been used by councillors to “catch some rays” . Some have regarded it as a private fiefdom – and handy place to display Labour Party banners ]
Cllr Yvonne Murphy (Labour St Augustines) asked whether some signage could be installed to say “This garden is open to the public” ?
Cllr Murphy was told by a council officer that such signage was “on order” and Victoria Primary schoolchildren had done the artwork for this. The new signage would say that the area is a “community garden”. There would also be signs on the various plots in the garden saying “community plots” .
The Town Clerk also pointed out that the council’s “wi-fi” service was also available in the garden for members of the public could use “during their lunch hour” .
Cllr Murphy said “free wi-fi” was one of the main requests of young people to whom she had spoken to in the current consultation on the future of the town [ See https://tinyurl.com/y7e6htph ] . A consultation with Penarth Youth Action and Stanwell School 6th form pupils had asked for such a facility “especially for their revision sessions”
Cllr Ian Buckley (Labour Cornerswell) who is Vice Chair of the Public Spaces committee, said he would like to pass on his thanks to those who had done the work on the West House front garden “because I think it looks absolutely fantastic . I’ve seen them a few days and they have been grafting and it’s not just work – they’ve put some love into that”.
Councillors were told the work on the garden was 75% complete and further planting would take place in the spring .
The Mayor Cllr Jon Luxton said he would like to propose a vote of thanks to all those involved – which was passed by general assent.
Meanwhile there remains doubt as to whether the Penarth Town Centre CCTV system functions at all.