Ian Titherington – Plaid Cymru’s General Election candidate for the Parliamentary seat of Cardiff South and Penarth

Plaid Cymru has named their General Election candidate to contest the Cardiff South and Penarth constituency on June 8th.

He is Ian Titherington – who is the secretary of the Plaid Cymru trade union UNDEB and is also a branch officer of UNISON. He is a  drainage engineer by profession who works for Cardiff Council  .

He has previously stood for Parliament as a Plaid Cymru candidate in two previous General Elections for seats in his native Swansea.  His political interests are said to include workers’ rights, sustainable development and transport.

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Open Genius is based at Penarth’s Tec marina complex

A Penarth-based hi-tech company is planning to carry out a public share flotation in two years time after being picked to take part in a new “accelerator programme”  at the London Stock Exchange.

Tec Marina – is the base of Open Genius which now has customers all around the world

The firm – called “OpenGenius” based in the Tec Marina complex at Penarth Marina is one of just 17 companies chosen to participate in the so-called “Elite UK” programme and will be receiving advice and networking assistance from potential investors and large businesses.

One of the core prodfucts of OpenGenius is a software programme called Droptask which is claimed to improve the productivity of client companies.

OpenGenius Chief Executive Chris Griffiths now hopes to float the firm on the AIM stock stock exchange within two years.

OpenGenius was opriginally called “Buzan on Line Ltd” and then “Think Buzan Ltd “. It was  founded in Cardiff in 2005 . The “Buzan” name comes from British-born author Tony Buzan (72) who designed the firms “iMind-Map 7” software.

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Plaid Cymru candidates Anne Greagsby and Aled Thomas ventured onto the front lawn of the Labour-run Penarth Town Council’s HQ to film a tv appeal to save the  healthy Robinia tree in the front of West House that the council wants to have felled .

With just one week of  campaigning to go before the May 4th council elections, candidates have been taking to the streets – and even Penarth Council’s front lawn – to get their message across.

Plaid Cymru candidates Anne Greagsby and Aled Thomas have dared take their metaphorical tanks onto the lawn of Penarth Town Council’s HQ at West House in Stanwell Road – where  the current Labour administration will remain in power until the day after polling day.

The two Plaid candidates wanted to draw attention to Penarth Council’s somewhat rocky track record on tree-preservation in the town  – and specifically the council’s declared intention to fell the picturesque – and annoyingly healthy –  Robinia tree which graces the front portal of West House.

To that end they had the effrontery to setup their camera on the current Labour administration’s home turf and shoot a campaign video pleading for the tree to be spared the socialist axe. [The roots of the Robinia are reported to be playing havoc with the drains of the West Wing of Penarth’s very own ‘White House’]

The video – which has a truly terrible sound track – can be seen on

Cllr Clive Williams (Penarth First Independents) surveys the fly-tipped rubbish – including an old mattress, deposited in a back lane in Stanwell Ward .  The rubbish has been left lying there for 2 years. The Penarth First Independents say if they are elected it’ll be gone in 4 weeks

Meanwhile the Penarth First Independent candidates have been homing in on the graffiti-embellished back-lanes in Stanwell Ward –  between Earl Road and the Victoria Garage – where  fly-tipping is continuing to be a problem .

Cllr Clive Williams – (standing in Plymouth Ward) and his colleague Tony Harris, (who is standing in  Stanwell Ward)  say that some of the accumulated rubbish in the lane has been left there for more that 2 years  – and that local Labour councillor Mark Wilson has done nothing about it. [Cllr Wilson however, has hit back, saying this fly-tipping has already been reported by him to the Vale of Glamorgan Council.]

Mr Harris has pledged that if he is elected for Stanwell Ward – all the fly tipping in the back lanes of Earl Road will be removed within 4 weeks.

Knock-knock: “Hello! Guess who’s come to call?  Can we have your vote please?” . Labour candidates Ruba Sivagnanam, a worried-looking Neil Thomas, Nigel Humphrey and Liz Fahy are accompanied on the campaign stomp by Cardiff South and Penarth Assembly Member Vaughan Gething

Meanwhile – even though politicians on Penarth’s doorsteps are about as welcome these days as Jehovah’s Witnesses  – Labour candidates are continuing to take selfies of each other as they methodically knock on every front door in the town.

The polls open at 07:00 on Thursday May 4th and close at 22.00 hours.



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” I don’t know what answer you want out of me.” says the Leader of the Labour-run Vale of Glamorgan Council –  Cllr Neil Moore (Labour Cadoc Ward) –  as he is quizzed about his council’s role in the Penarth Pier Pavilion debacle and the financial crisis faced by the Pavilion tenants Penarth Arts & Crafts Ltd .

The Vale of Glamorgan Council admitted last night that it has held a number of discussions with Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd – [the company to which the council has leased the Pavilion for 125 years] – that the latest meeting was held only this week – but that the company has refused to open its books to the council.

The statement flies in the face of the impression created up to now that the crisis in Penarth Arts and Crafts [a.k.a. PACL] has nothing really to do with its landlords, the Vale of Glamorgan Council . It’s now clear that, in fact, the council doing everything it can to  try to prop up PACL.

The admission came from the Leader of the Labour-controlled Vale Council, Cllr Neil Moore (Labour Cadoc Ward Barry) in answer to a question from Cllr Kevin Mahoney (Independent Sully).

Cllr Kevin Mahoney (Independent Sully) asked for the Vale Council to put pressure on Penarth Arts and Crafts – leaseholders of the Penarth Pier Pavilion and Cinema – to come clean about its financial situation.

Cllr Mahoney had asked “Given the £900,000 already given by the Vale to the lessee  of the Penarth Pier Pavilion [Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd – a.k.a. PACL]  , what meetings have been held between the Vale administration and Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd  since the latest crisis and reduction of opening hours of the pier, in order to establish what exactly is going on, and what conclusions have been come to in this matter?”

In reply Cllr Moore said that “discussions have taken place  with the management of PACL  to consider the long-term financial viability of the organisation – the latest of those discussion having taken place earlier this week”.

Cllr Moore went on to say “members may also be aware that PACL have recently been awarded grant funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund which is to provide essential financial support to the organisation whilst it looks to develop a sustainable business model for the future.”

The future of Penarth Pier Pavilion was raised at the last meeting of the Vale of Glamorgan Council to be held before the May 4th elections – when a new council will be elected.

Cllr Kevin Mahoney (Independent Sully) pushed for answers – but little new information was forthcoming

Cllr Mahoney came back with a supplementary question for  Cllr Moore – pointing out that the grant – for £126,000 – was for “consultation over a period of 18 months” which he said was “an extraordinary amount of money“.  “Surely – he said – “it’s got to be incumbent on the Vale to encourage, if not insist, that PACL adopt an immediate policy of openness and transparency  in order to open up for examination and let everybody know what the problems are that they are facing”

Cllr Mahoney called PACL “clearly a failing organisation” . He urged that the reasons for the three-days-a-week closure of the Pavilion and the total closure of the Pavilion Cinema be fully explained to the public.  Addressing the Labour administration, Cllr Mahoney said “surely it’s incumbent on you lot to insist that they actually come clean – because there’s just a veil of silence from these people[i.e. PACL]

The Vale Council’s Labour Leader Cllr Neil Moore said PACL were not in breach of the terms of their lease on Penarth Pier Pavilion.

Cllr Moore replied “Well – ‘us lot’ have had discussions with them in the past . We’ve had discussions with them at the moment. We’ve had discussions with them this week. PACL has received £126,000 for the coming 18 months period . I’m not aware that there are any conditions or commitments attached to that  . The funding as I understand it is to be used to access external professional advice on all aspects of the business in order for them to go forward .”

Cllr Moore went on to say “Now, they are a private organisation in essence. They are fully meeting the conditions of their lease and as such,  the operation of the management of the organisation is purely a matter for their board – which is their controlling body.”

Yes we will discuss with them, yes we will ask them to help them with their business case as we have done and we will continue to do  – but what I would also say is that the £126,000 isn’t the Vale’s money – it’s come from the lottery system – so yes we will work with them . We can’t insist they open their books to us ; we would hope they would –  but clearly we will work with them to the best ability so that they can continue to become a viable organisation. We can only do as much as we can .”

Turning to Cllr Mahoney, Cllr Moore said lamely ” I don’t know what answer you want out of me. We are working with them, we’ve been  there, we’ve helped them, we’ve given them advice, we’ve assisted  them with some of their bids,  – and clearly if they weren’t a viable, as you suggest, I would have hoped  – or would have thought –  that they wouldn’t have received the grant-funding that they have – and clearly that is there for them to become a viable business…and hopefully they will do very quickly  – if they’re not already”.

Only one supplementary question can be asked – so Cllr Mahoney could press the matter no further.

Peering over the top of her glasses, Deputy Leader Cllr Lis Burnett (Labour St Augustines) said “I’m not completely sure whether the point of the question is to get an answer –  or to prove another opportunity to insult me!” . Her remark triggered collective groans from opposition councillors .

The most amusing moment in the meeting came however when Cllr Mahoney interrogated Labour’s Deputy Leader Cllr Lis Burnett (who has quit Penarth Council and is abandoning her seat in St Augustines in the hope of being elected for the Vale in Stanwell Ward next week) .

Cllr Mahoney asked if the council was engaging experts to investigate the potential health  effects of the new incinerator at Barry on residents in the surrounding areas  before any licence was issued for it .

Cllr Burnett alleged that Cllr Mahoney’s question had been “framed with a number of inaccurate statements” – and proceeded deliver a potted history of the contentious project in order to as she put it- to “clarify” the background . [ The plant had originally been refused planning permission but that decision had been overturned in a planning appeal which had gone against the council and cost council-tax payers £60,000]  .

Some councillors evidently disputed Cllr Burnett’s version of events. There were shouts of “That’s not right Kev!” in the council chamber  – which were silenced by the Mayor.

Cllr Mahoney asserted that Cllr Burnett had “evaded once again” his question. “Yet again” – he accused Cllr Burnett – “you have gone off on one of your tangents – as if nobody noticed – there’s allegations of “misleading” ….”.

The Mayor Cllr Stuart Egan,  who was presiding over his last council meeting,  silenced  Cllr Mahoney and cued Cllr Burnett to respond.

The ever-combative Cllr Burnett said “I’m not completely sure whether the point of the question is to get an answer or to prove another opportunity to insult me! “. At that remark, collective groans could be heard coming from opposition councillors around the chamber.

…It has indeed been a long 5 years in office for this particular Vale of Glamorgan Council administration.

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Half a dozen gardeners have been digging-in wildflowers and herbaceous plants on Penarth Town Clock roundabout – which was left as bare earth by the council for most of last year

It’s obviously a pure coincidence, but Vale of Glamorgan parks staff have been out in force in the last 24 hours carrying out planting on the Penarth’s iconic Clock Roundabout – just a week ahead of the council elections on May 4th.

Last year the Vale Council hadn’t bothered about the roundabout at all, and had left it as bare barren ground – despite angry local residents pointing out that the town has always had a time-honoured tradition of attractive floral displays there throughout the summer.

Last year local residents rolled up their sleeves and planted marigolds and primroses on the roundabout in the absence of any council cultivation. The unofficial plants were removed.

Some local residents got so fed-up with the sight of scorched earth – and with the Labour-controlled Vale Council’s limp excuses –  (the limpest being that they had to wait until sockets had been put in place for the December Christmas tree display) –  local amateur gardeners  took matters into their own hands and covertly planted marigolds there.

In no time at all the Vale Council teams came back to mascerate the rogue marigolds and spray weedkiller on the soil to deter any other unauthorised plants which might dare to poke their heads above ground.

However now, with local elections looming ever closer, the climate has evidently changed and no fewer than 6 council gardeners  have been at work getting some urgent planting done.

The policy now is to  move away from installing traditional bedding displays to planting wildflowers and herbaceous plants instead  – which need relatively little attention.

Four successive beds of blue flowers blooming in Alexandra Park have “no political connotations”PDN has been told.

Meanwhile in Alexandra Park there is a striking display of colourful blue flowers in every one of the four main flower beds at the park entrance .

A council staff member , who did not want to be named,  said the colour chosen was “strictly apolitical” .

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Avalon Antiques in Victoria Road Penarth, is not only a local mecca for antique collectors but also a frequent  tv and film location. The business is to move out of Penarth in June

Penarth’s largest antique shop – Avalon Antiques – is to close its premises in Victoria Road in June and move to a new location in the Penarth Road Pumping Station.

Avalon has been trading for over 8 years at Victoria Road – next door to the Igam Ogam shoe shop.

Avalon Antiques buys and sells antiques

It’s run by retired mining engineer Mr Stephen Cox and his wife Gitti,who say the shop overheads – including  monthly rental of £1,000 and monthly business rates of £250 make it uneconomical to continue trading in Penarth.

Avalon Antiques is well known in the antiques business and has been a location for several tv programmes ranging from the BBC Antiques Road Show  and an S4C drama series to “Crimewatch” – where it was the stand-in location for the recreation of a London antique-shop robbery.

Avalon will close its doors in Penarth for the last time on June 21st when the current lease expires.

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Tia Roach – formerly of Penarth’s Welsh language school Ysgol Pen y Garth receives her championship certificate

Tia Roach, formerly of Penarth’s Welsh-medium school Ysgol Pen y Garth is one of a team of three Ysgol Bro Morgannwg students who’ve beaten competing teams from the best schools in England and Wales to win the English Speaking Union’s Churchill National Public Speaking Competition for Schools

It’s the first time that any school in Wales has ever clinched the ESU’s coveted debating title. In doing so, Ysgol Bro Morgannwg saw-off formidable opposition from many of the top fee-paying schools in England .

All three members of the Ysgol Bro Morgannwg team – Tia Roach, Twm Aled and Huw Jones – received  coveted “Winning Team” trophies

The each of the three members of the Ysgol Bro Morgannwg team had specific roles in the contest:-

  • Huw Jones (Ysgol Iolo Morgannwg) was the team’s “main speaker” – and carried off the  Best Speaker Award
  • Team chairman –  Twm Aled (Ysgol Iolo Morgannwg) won the Best Chairperson Award
  • Tia Roach was the champion team’s “questioner”

Tia’s former school Ysgol Pen-y-Garth, Penarth is a feeder school for Ysgol Bro Morgannwg. The  English Speaking Union is an educational body formed to promote and foster the development of English around the world.

The Churchill National Public Speaking Competition for Schools  is now recognised as one of the world’s largest and most prestigious events – which this year attracted entries from no fewer than  449 schools . The final took place at Churchill College, Cambridge.

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