The Vale of Glamorgan official car – parked in a disabled slot at Tesco in Barry in August

The Vale of Glamorgan has confirmed that is has carried out an internal – and confidential  – investigation into how the council’s official Skoda saloon car  came to be parked in a disabled parking space at the Cadoxton, (Barry)  branch of Tesco Express.

The car is normally used to convey the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and senior council officers to official functions and is normally parked at the Council HQ at the Barry Civic Centre.

A council spokesperson has said  “Unauthorised parking in disabled bays is completely unacceptable and a matter the council takes extremely seriously.”

The incident, snapped by Steve Durbin –  the father of a disabled child –  is said to have happened on August 7th during the council recess  when there are few if any Mayoral engagements carried out. The Vale Council says an immediate investigation was launched as soon as the incident was brought to its attention.

The council now says that the investigation “has now been concluded and, though details of any procedure involving an individual are confidential, I can confirm action has been taken in line with the council’s disciplinary policy.” This would appear to suggest that a member of council staff may have been disciplined over the matter .

Mr Durbin –  who was unable to use the space because the Vale Council car was occupying it –  has said “Vale of Glamorgan mayoral car parked in disabled space at Tesco Express – so I, with disabled son in car, could not use it. No badge, only driver present. Set an example please Vale of Glamorgan council! Yes, there was plenty of space in car park.”

The previous Labour administration in the Vale of  Glamorgan Council laid down  the rules for the use of the Mayoral car . The Labour policy – which has not been amended by the new Conservative adminstration – was that at  the civic car is to be “used by the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor. The Mayor doesn’t drive the car himself but is driven by a chauffeur. The civic car can also be used by the Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive.”

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Penarth police are asking members of the public to help them identify these tho burglars

Penarth police are trying to identify two burglars caught on camera  in what appears to be a bike shed or bike-store.

The camera-shy criminals are wearing buttoned anoraks with hoods and appear to be brandishing mobile phones – which are often used as torches.

Although the burglary was committed on September 13th 2017 – it’s only now that South Wales Police have issued the CCTV images of the two crooks  – both of whom the police say  are “men”.

Police say “Anyone who believes they can identify either individual, or who has any information which could assist with enquiries, is asked to contact us via 101, quoting reference 1700358607″.

Meanwhile local residents in St Augustines have raised concerns about two – possibly three – youths wearing hoodies who claimed to be charity collectors. They were  calling on households after dark last night purporting to be collecting for a cancer research “charity”.

The youths were not taking any notice of “No Nuisance Callers” stickers issued to householders by South Wales Police.

The bilingual police stickers are intended to deter doorstep traders and collectors and protect vulnerable householders who may live alone and not wish to be disturbed by cold callers.

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The now vacant plot of No 14 Clinton Road, Penarth .The original 1920s house collapsed during redevelopment work. Plans  to build a new replacement house were refused and now a new plan (see inset)  for a  replacement house of different design has been submitted to the Vale of Glamorgan Council

Mr Sid Gautam  – the owner of the Clinton Road house which collapsed whilst being redeveloped last year – is to have another go at building a house on the now vacant plot.

Mr Gautam had undertaken an ambitious redevelopment of No 14 Clinton Road – a classic pre-war detached home which he was extending and remodelling and was to have featured a new subterranean basement – excavated underneath (and at the rear of) the original house.

The original No 14 Clinton Road was built in the 1920s and blended with the street scene

The basement under construction at the rear of the original house. Some of the key load-bearing parts of the old house appeared to have been held up only by pieces of 4X2 timber

In June 2016 the rear walls of the original 14 Clinton Road collapsed into excavations for a proposed basement extension, leaving the roof of the house perilously perched in mid-air – before it too collapsed

The roof of the house – left without support – then collapsed into the excavated garden  along with the rear walls and west wing

Only the front walls of No 14 Clinton Road were left standing but these too were later reduced to rubble for Health and Safety reasons a few days after the original collapse  (Photo AC Williams)

Without warning about two-thirds of the house [which appeared not to have been sufficiently well supported]  collapsed into the excavated rear garden.

Eventually Mr Gautam gave instructions for the remaining front facade of the building (which miraculously was still standing)  – to be  pulled down.

THE MARK II HOUSE: As no council permission had been given for the total demolition of the original house – and clearance of the entire site – a so-called “retrospective ” planning application was submitted to the Vale Council along to with plans for the erection of a completely new bespoke- designed house on the now-cleared site.

The proposed front and rear of the Mark II Clinton Road house .

Mr Sid Gautam is making a 3rd attempt to develop new home in Clinton Road

The Vale Council, however, refused to allow construction of this new house  –  saying it was “a poorly designed, incongruous and cramped form of development that fails to respect the existing character and appearance of the immediate surrounding area”.

Mr  Gautam appealed against the Vale Council’s decision – but the Planning Inspectorate rejected his appeal – ruling the proposed replacement house “would be unacceptably harmful to the character and appearance of the site and the locality.”

THE MARK III HOUSE: Now a second plan for a new house – built to different dimensions – has now been submitted by Mr Gautam:-

The proposed new (Mark III) house is of a modern – box like design and would have 6 bedrooms and room to park at least 4 large SUVs ( 4X4 Sports Utility Vehicles)

In this latest planning application Mr Gautam admits that the design for the previous new house had been  “subject to several objections from neighbours who raised concerns over the inappropriate design and size of the new works, with concerns that the proposal would adversely affect the character of the building itself and that of the wider area.” However, at this third attempt, Mr Gautam is clearly not expecting all the local residents will necessarily enthuse over his latest design –  and says  “somewhat similar objections are expected to be submitted with the current application.”

The rear of the proposed new house would not be visible from Clinton Road. Likle it’s predecessors it too features a basement built out into the rear garden

Mr Gautam also acknowledges  that his latest scheme  for a 6-bedroom house “would produce one of the larger properties on Clinton Road”  but that the “amenity space”  provided in the plot [ i.e the front and rear gardens and driveway] would be  63% larger than the footprint of the house itself. 

As for parking, the application states that there would be enough on-site parking in the plans to cater for “a minimum of 4 large SUV’s [sic]” – and that even more cars could be parked in the grounds if they were “smaller types”.

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Let’s you and me jump in that river” : Robert Redford and Paul Newman consider their getaway options in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” – the next presentation of Penarth’s new All Saints Cinema Club

After the sell-out success of its first movie, Penarth’s new All Saints Cinema Club has now scheduled another classic film for its October showing at All Saints Lesser Hall on Thursday October 19th.

This time the club is showing  – at popular request – “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” starring Paul Newman, Robert Redford and Katharine Ross.

The movie – made in 1969 – was selected by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” and included it in the United States National Film Registry. The script – written by William Goldman –  won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and tells the loosely true life tale of Wild West train robbers Robert LeRoy Parker (Butch) and Harry Longabaugh (Sundance) .

The featured song “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head ” by Burt Bacharach and Hal David also won an Academy Award. The doors open at All Saints on Thursday Oct 19th at 19:00 hours (7pm) and there’ll be freshly cooked pizza and wine in the intermission.

Jane McLaughlin is taking bookings on  07966882459 – but moviegoers can also book on the internet via

Meanwhile Penarth’s 4-year-old publicly-funded £1,000,000 purpose-built digital cinema at Penarth Pier Pavilion remains empty and disused  … as it has done for the last 8 months.

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From Cliff Walk the new house on The Paddocks should look like this – but its now the subject of a planning enforcement investigation. There is to be a sub-ground-level basement swimming pool, garden, and recreation room

The Vale of Glamorgan Council has launched a planning enforcement investigation into a new house which had seemed destined to become one of Penarth’s most expensive and desirable homes.

The house is being built on a hitherto vacant plot at No 16 The Paddocks  and is still in the early stages of construction.

The ultra-modern dwelling would overlook Cliff Walk and the Bristol Channel would  take full advantage of the sea views to the rear with panoramic windows and a balcony, giving cliff-top vistas of over the Bristol Channel, extending almost the full width of the house .


Work seems to have stopped the site. The sub-ground-floor basement swimming pool and garden area are under construction in the lower foreground and the ground floor is supported on steel girders

However the Vale Council’s planning department is now investigating an alleged case of  “unauthorised development ” which is “not in accordance with Planning Permission 2012/00873/FUL”. 

One unusual feature of the house is that, although from the road –  and from Cliff Walk –  it will look like a very modern  two-storey house,  it is to have a hidden surprise in the form of an extra floor, a garden and a swimming pool all to be built below built below ground level at the rear of the plot –  closest to Cliff Walk.

An artistic impression of the house in which the  rear wall (separating it from Cliff Walk) has been “removed” on the graphic to show the basement floor garden and swimming pool. That actual rear wall has been temporarily demolished during building works but is due to be reinstated.

A section of the rear wall which separates the plot in The Paddocks from Cliff Walk has been temporarily removed but is surrounded by safety barriers.

The plans – approved in 2013 – say that the “lower ground floor” would contain  recreation facilities, a sauna, a games room and an indoor/outdoor swimming pool with an external patio and lawn area – all below ground level.

However cliff-top strollers would not see any of this, as – when completed – it will all be hidden behind the wall which separates all the homes in  The Paddocks from the public area of Cliff Walk  (or at least it will when the rear wall is re-built) . The present wall  has been demolished – presumably as a temporary measure during construction and would be re-instated on completion.

Safety barriers have been erected on the green sward of Cliff Walk

An artistic impression of the front of the new house which is being built within “The Paddocks” development

The front of the new house at The Paddocks – as it actually looks at the moment

It is not yet clear which specific part of the approved plans is allegedly not being complied with.

Local residents say construction has now come to a halt and there has been no activity on the site for some days.


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Two Vale of Glamorgan Highways vans were on the scene clearing up the damage this morning (Photo J McLaughlin)

A Vale of Glamorgan Council Highways team has been at work early this morning to make safe one of the 20 foot high  lamp standards on Beach Road after crash which happened just before 05:00 am this morning.

A black Skoda Fabia car – evidently travelling at high-speed down-hill – had  veered across onto the wrong side of the road, clipped a tree, smashed into the wrought iron railings of Alexandra Park and then collided head-on with the tall ornamental lamp standard,

A council engineer repairing the damage at the scene of last night’s crash. The lamp standard hit by the car is now leaning at an angle.

Council engineers on the scene this morning carried out temporary repairs to the lamp standard and made it safe – but more extensive repairs will be required later. They also placed absorbent material on the ground to soak up oil and fuel from the crashed car.

The damage to the railings of Alexandra Park was photographed by the Vale Highways Department. The scored line in the pavement was gouged  out by the out-of-control car.

The car had hit a road sign, mounted the kerb, scored a deep gouge in the pavement and ricocheted off the park railings – leaving a large hole in the fence before then smashing into the lamp-standard head-on .

South Wales Police say a 22 year old local man has been arrested on suspicion of driving while being above the legal alcohol limit.


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The swing bridge – seen as Penarth’s equivalent of Tower Bridge or Sydney Harbour Bridge – was lit up when the 150th anniversary of Penarth Docks was celebrated in 2015

Plans to upgrade the currently-dormant Penarth Marina swing-bridge may result in local residents having to endure rather more than just the “put-put” of a passing pleasure boat.

The upgrade  – to meet the latest Health & Safety Standards –  means that every time the bridge swings open for a yacht to pass through, there will be a 50-second-long interlude of flashing lights, high volume buzzers and loud  Tannoy announcements – in at least two languages.

The swing bridge was lit up and being used by pedestrians in 2014. But has been out of action and “parked ” since June 2016

The flashing lights, louder buzzers and bi-lingual voice-warnings  are deemed necessary to comply with the latest Health & Safety legislation .

Penarth Marina residents had been campaigning for months to have the operation of the Swing Bridge at Town Quay brought back into use –  it saves them a long walk. But perhaps they hadn’t quite bargained for the consequences.

The Penarth Marina swing bridge – when in commission – rotates through 90 degrees to reach across to the opposite side of the waterway. Red lights flash when it’s in traqnsit and a complicated series of interlocked automatic gates opens to admit pedestrians

Marina operators Quay Marinas say that to  comply with the current law, the bridge is now now required to have automatic  warning systems similar to those at the nearby Cardiff Bay Barrage bascule bridges and the Pont-y-Werin bridge.

The planning application for the upgrade says that the new lights to be fitted have to be “bright enough to be visible in sunlight”  and the audible alarms have to be “loud enough to warn those people on the bridge, those who may be approachingand also approaching vessels

Youngsters found crossing the illuminated swing bridge was a novel experience in 2015 .It’s now been out of action for many months

Marina residents may also be dismayed to hear that the new audio warnings “will operate at sound levels similar to those on the Barrage Bascule Bridges” and that   the volume of the safety announcement will be “adjusted” to ensure it’s audible in all weather conditions.

Before it was taken out of commission,  the Marina Swing Bridge had its existing audible alarms  reduced in volume to just a low buzz . However, now those muted alarm loudspeakers are to be returned to what the Marina describes as “their normal operating levels”.

The type of lights and buzzers which would be fitted to the Swing Bridge in Penarth Marina

What’s more, 2 additional flashing light units – with additional audible alarms –  will be installed at the midpoint to make sure anyone already on the bridge is made aware it’s about to start moving.

The planning application says the flashing lights and audible alarms will operate for 10 seconds before the bridge starts to move and then for the 40 seconds or so it takes to open and close – making a total of 50 seconds of flashing lights and audible alarms every time the bridge is opened or closed.

On top of that “additional lighting” will be added to the sides of the bridge to ensure it is brighter and more visible at night for approaching vessels.

The type of horn loudspeaker specified in the application which will relay the audio warnings when the swing bridge is in action

The audio warnings also include voice announcements made via a Tannoy system which will exclaim – first of all in Welsh –  “Eich sylw os gwelwch yn dda. Mae’r bont ar fin symud. Plis symudwch i ffwrdd “.

Having warned the Welsh speakers,  the system then alerts English-speakers who – at this point – would clearly be unaware of what’s about to happen . The English announcement is to say “Attention please, the bridge is about to be operated. Please stand clear” .

The English version however isn’t an exact translation of the Welsh announcement. The words “Plis symudwch i ffwrdd” actually mean “Please move away” …. exactly what some of those with expensive homes within earshot of the swing bridge may now be thinking about doing.






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