Anyone looking for Penarth Town Council and heading West might now easily miss West House. There is now no visible sign  which says it’s “Penarth Town Council” . The new signage omits the word “council” and just proclaims the front lawn of West House as a “Community Garden” .

The Labour run Penarth Town Council – which for years has dissuaded ordinary members of the public from daring to dawdle on its front lawn – has now had a change of heart and is encouraging local residents to take the weight off their feet there – and even indulge in some planting and weeding.

Members of the public have always been a bit diffident about treading on council  territory – not least perhaps because  they were openly referred to as “riff-raff” by council officers. In the past Labour councillors saw West House’s  garden as being very much “for the few – not for the many”….But now, they claim, all that has changed.

The new signage on the frontage of Penarth Town Council’s HQ doesn’t mention the word “council” anymore . Purists might argue that the Welsh translation of “West House” should be “Tŷ’r Gorllewin” – with a circumflex

The front garden of West House has been re-branded this week as the  “West House Community Garden” – and it is now rather more open to the public than once it was .

No longer are the benches in the front garden regarded as the exclusive preserve of councillors – a place to soak-up some rays between onerous committee meetings. The whole area has now, in effect, been proclaimed to be a public park – although there is no sign which categorically  states this.

A (non-bilingual) sign helpfully explains that the circle of wooden benches is, in fact, a “Seating Area”…Who knew?

This plot with vegetables growing in it is described as a “The Vegetable Patch”

Here there is an awkward combination of English and Anglicised South-Walian Welsh

Picnic tables have been installed alongside 3 large wooden planters filled with soil and labelled “Community Plot”, “Victoria Primary School” and “Penarth Town Council” perhaps indicating that the councillors themselves may be about to put their green fingers to the test. No  school other than Victoria Primary School  gets a mention.

In a council meeting on September 19th council officers were asked whether a sign could be erected saying “This Garden is Open to the Public “and were told by a council officer that the new  signage  would indicate that West House front lawn was now a “Community Garden” .

[PDN Note:  There is no sign which categorically says that the West House Garden is open to the public – and it is not clear what the term  “Community Garden” actually means] 

The signage is said to have been  based on original artwork by children at Victoria Primary School who also now have their own dedicated plot within the garden. No other Penarth schools are represented anywhere at West House.

The Town Clerk said free “wi-fi” would be available in the West House garden. [PDN Note: There is , as yet, no public signage which says this] .

The original signage at the front of Penarth Town Council’s HQ at West House was a bit austere – but it did have rather better Welsh on it




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  1. Lesley Monger says:

    Are dogs allowed as it’s not a playing field or playground?

  2. Anne Greagsby says:

    Westhouse garden is in a right state. Shrubs like the rise of Sharon have been dug up and we see bare earth. Gone is the attractive easily maintainable garden to be replaced with what?

  3. Anne Greagsby says:

    Do we really need signs that say ‘seating area’? The garden now looks more like the sales area of a garden centre. Did we miss the consultation on this folly? Obviously didn’t ask any keen gardeners for advice. How much did this cost and how much will it cost to keep tidy and provide new planting every season?

  4. Taxpayer says:

    Shame they could not spend the money on our parks,making them look lovely like they always did .

  5. Jm says:

    But the once pleasant gardens are a right mess, full of garishly painted wooden ‘structures’, bits of old furniture, now we’ll have patronising ‘this is a vegetable patch’ ‘this is a runner bean frane’ type signs everywhere too … in fact, anything but planting!

    The Town Council is so isolated from the town and it’s people I could cry for them – except the tears dried up long ago.

  6. Fiona Whitfield says:

    Wouldn’t feel right sitting there , Id feel not posh enough

  7. Christopher David says:

    Well they’ve made an effort and we like a tidy frontage on our main roads. Now I suggest as it’s so nice they hold all council and committee meetings there so the secrecy is ended. What’s happening with Turner House Mr Ducker Diver Cllr Gray?

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