All Saints Church Greater Hall – targeted yet again by lead thieves

Penarth’s famous Coates Carter-designed All Saints Greater Church Hall has yet again been targeted by criminals who have stripped much of the the lead flashing from the roof. 

All Saints Church and the greater and lesser church halls at Victoria Square are coming under under constant attack by anti-social vandals and robbers .

Thieves attempting to strip off lead from the Eastern side of the building may have been disturbed whilst they were attempting to rip the metal sheets off the roof

Local people say they never see a policeman in the area   and the damage done to the property – often during the night – does become apparent until daylight the following day .

It’s understood there was no evening service at All Saints last Sunday and it’s thought the thieves moved in after dark that night.

An appalling trail of damage was in evidence when it became clear that thieves had torn sheets of lead from key roof-joins and rain channels – metal which is then probably  sold on for scrap.

These lead sheets have been bent upwards by criminals trying to tear them off the building. The lead sheets should be in close contact with the roof tiles to keep rainwater out. Because much of the lead has been stoklen and the remainder ripped from the roof All Saints Church Hall is no longer watertight

The cost of carrying out repairs is reckoned to be substantial.

It’s by no means the first time such thefts have occurred. One parishioner said this sort of raid has taken place several times over the years but Sunday’s raid is one of the worst.

The Greater Hall is still open and local organisations and groups are still having their bookings fulfilled – but the roof will need to be repaired as a matter of urgency before the winter rains come.



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The bulldozers are due to demolish “The Highlands” shortly along with its “Tourelle” tower.

It’s emerged that the Vale of Glamorgan Council is set to receive so-called Section 106 cash amounting to only £7,650 after giving permission to developers to knock down one of Penarth’s most spectacular Victorian mansions “The Highlands”.

The Vale Council had given the go ahead to flatten The Highlands in  March last year – when the authority was still under Labour control .

The site of The Highlands and its lush lawns will be ripped up and 11 houses crammed onto the site – including a terrace of 3 “affordable homes”

Conservatives opposed the demolition but at the time – before the 2017 elections – Labour councillors held the majority on the Vale planning committee.

The house is a classic Penarth shipowner’s mansion which overlooks the River Ely from a position high above the “Gateway to Penarth” .

The classic Penarth mansion “The Highlands” – occupies a commanding position at the “Gateway to Penarth”

The plan is to build  11 new dwellings on the site – 8 of which will be detached houses and 3 of which will be a terrace of “affordable housing” – 2 of which would be regarded in perpetuity as “social” and one of which will be designated as “intermediate”.

The house can best be seen when coming along the Ely Link Road Bridge from Cardiff Bay. For many years it was completely obscured by trees  ‘ so much so that the team which compiled the official list of “County Treasures” [ architectural gems of the Vale of Glamorgan] didn’t even realise it was there .

The mansion only became visible relatively recently when the trees were removed. The house, on the hard-to-get-to Old Barry Road, has an imposing conical-roofed turret with a balcony giving views over a 270 degree panorama.

Opponents of the demolition say the mansion is part of the heritage of Penarth and should be preserved – particularly in view of the paltry amount that will go to the Vale Council when it is demolished.

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Nasir Adam who has been selected by Plaid Cymru as their prospective candidate for Cardiff South and Penarth

Plaid Cymru has nominated Nasir Adam to challenge incumbent Labour MP Stephen Doughty for the Cardiff South and Penarth Parliamentary Constitutency.

Plaid Cymru says that Mr Adam will be the first Somali Plaid Cymru Candidate in Wales . He is the son of a merchant navy seaman,  was brought up in Butetown and has been an active campaigner in the area for 18 years.

He was “the lead regeneration officer”  for the Loudoun Square Regeneration and successfully gained the “Cultural Inspire Mark” for Butetown in association with the  London 2012 Olympics

Mr Adam is a Plaid Cymru researcher and a member of the party’s support staff . He is also  also  on the Board of Directors for the Sub Sahara Advisory Panel. He also founded the Riverside Home Work Club,  a “free home-work provision that supports young people in deprived communities”.

With a febrile atmosphere in Westminister – which could conceivably lead to a Government collapse and a General Election – Plaid Cymru has become the first party to announce the adoption of a prospective Westminster candidate for the Cardiff South and Penarth constituency.

It will be the second time that a black candidate has fought the seat for Plaid Cymru.

Plaid Cymru candidate Ben Foday’s  forthright criticism of gay marriage legislation at the Cytun hustings in Penarth caused a storm of criticism. Three gay candidates were sharing the same platform at the time .

The party’s candidate in the May 2015 General |Election was  Mr Ben Foday – who  died the following April . In a Penarth election hustings meeting  Mr Foday controversially criticised  same-sex marriage legislation – saying it was “wrong” for it to be enacted  without proper consultation. MPs – he said – should have more respect for democracy. He went on to say that, in terms of being  a Christian country, he had read the comments of a noted legal figure who when considering a “similar topic” who had asked “Who am I to condemn?” . However “personally” – Mr Foday  had said – “I am very against it”. 

 Mr Foday’s  remarks caused widespread controversy and he later retracted his comment. At a later stage of the election campaign Mr Foday had called for the prosecution of the disgraced and now dead Labour peer Lord Janner in respect of 22 offences Janner had allegedly committed against 9 children .

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Guto Bebb – a pro-EU and anti-Brexit Tory defence minister –  had helped undermine Penarth AM Andrew R T Davies as Conservative Leader in Wales . Now Bebb has quit the Government over Brexit

Pro-EU Tory minister Guto Bebb – who had criticised Penarth AM Andrew R T Davies’s remarks about  Airbus – has now resigned.

The Minister of Defence Procurement, Guto Bebb, quit before last night’s multiple votes in the House of Commons on Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposed Brexit Customs Bill – so he could vote against them.

Pro-Brexit former Conservative Leader in Wales Andrew R T Davies (South Wales Central) quit after it emerged senior Westminster Tories were plotting to oust him

Andrew R T Davies – the controversial and forthright pro-Brexit former leader of the Conservatives in the Welsh Assembly stepped down as the party’s leader in Cardiff Bay shortly  after Bebb criticised him – and an internal party plot to oust Davies, apparently backed by the Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns [ Conservative MP for the Vale of Glamorgan] was  revealed.

Mr Davies had put the boot into the French multi-national company Airbus which has 6,400 employees in Wales  – accusing it of “hyperbole” and of  making “threats” to leave the UK over Brexit.[ It later turned out that Prime Minister Theresa May had persuaded Airbus to make its anti-Brexit remarks]

Last night MPs voted by 305 to 302 to support an amendment that critics said would undermine Theresa May’s most recently-announced negotiating position.

Before Andrew R T Davies’s resignation , Guto Bebb – who is little known by the general public in Wales – had also disputed that Andrew R T Davies actually was the “Leader of the Welsh Conservatives”  .

However that  title had been acknowledged to be correct by other leading Conservatives – including David Melding who, like Mr Davies is  also an AM for South Wales Central (which includes Penarth).

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Patients who now attend the existing GP surgery at Station Road , Penarth are to be transferred to the Penarth Healthcare Partnership at the Stanwell Road surgery as from October 1st .

Penarth’s long-established General Practitioners’ surgery at Station Road is preparing to move shortly to the Stanwell Road GP surgery.

The two practices are being merged into one practice to be called the “Penarth Healthcare Partnership”.

Penarth Healthcare Partnership is the new name of the merged Stanwell Road and Station Road surgeries

Patients who currently attend the Station Road surgery will be automatically transferred to the new Penarth Healthcare Partnership with effect from October 1st 2018 and the existing Station Road premises will be closed as from that date.

Stanwell Surgery on Stanwell Road will; become the new centre for the Penarth Healthcare Partnership. Patients of  Station Road Surgery will have to come here as from October 1st

The existing Stanwell Surgery will – from October 1st – become the centre for the new combined practices

The old Station Road premises were said to have been in a poor state of repair.

Eventually it’s planned that all GP services in Penarth will be concentrated in the yet-to-be-built Cogan Health Hub next door to Penarth Leisure Centre – but this project is still on the drawing board.


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James Sommerin’s 2017/2018 firework display was the most impressive yet – but Penarth Town Council has refused to support his initiative

The Labour-run Penarth Town Council has refused to support an initiative to develop a New Year’s Eve firework display on Penarth Esplanade.

For the last three years the famous Penarth restaurateur James Sommerin has organised his own  New Year’s Eve fireworks display on the sea front – giving a focus for the town’s celebrations – and has met the entire cost [ £1,500] out of his own pocket.

The Sommerin team were wearing their restauraunt whites – making them easy to spot on the beach

Looking like something out of a Jack Vettriano painting, James Sommerin’s intrepid team of umbrella-brandishing fusiliers kept the ordnance coming on January 1st 2018 .

Glass of celebratory wine in one hand anda  chef’s blowtorch in the other, restaurateur James Sommerin personally ignited half the fireworks himself

Mr Sommerin’s own restaurant staff give him a hand to set-up on the sea shore and manually ignite the fireworks. Crowds now gather  along the Esplanade to see in the New Year  and each successive display has been more elborately choregraphed.

Mr Sommerin had wanted Penarth Town Council to become involved in the forthcoming  2018/19 New Year’s Eve fireworks. He said that on New Year’s Eve “I realised there are no organised firework displays round and about. I want Penarth to be a shining light on the map. It deserves that. We just want people to join in and enjoy it

Midnight on New Year’s Eve on the Penarth Pier Pavilion Clock

He had hoped to persuade Penarth Town Council to “get on board with it” and that the Penarth New Year Esplanade fireworks display will develop into a  “mini-Sydney”.

PDN is not aware of any council meeting in which Mr Sommerin’s approach has been formally discussed by councillors – but it’s now understood that the council officers have informed him that the council is not willing to be involved.

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“Fancy meeting you here”: Three picnickers had deliberately grounded themselves on their temporary “desert island” (Cardiff Grounds sandbanks near the Cardiff Spit buoy) – to enjoy the sand, the sun and the glorious weather at low tide . They had a VHF radio with them – and were not in need of being rescued. The D class lifeboat “Spirit of Penarth II” is the orange object in the centre of the picture. The lifeboat crew were just making sure everyone was OK

An eagle-eyed member of the public this afternoon reported what looked like a vessel in distress on the sandbanks – about a mile out to sea from Penarth.

The boat seemed to have been abandoned with heaven-only-knows what consequences for whoever had been aboard.

The coastguard headquarters at Milford Haven alerted Penarth RNLI. Despite the fact that it was almost low water,  Penarth’s new D Class lifeboat “Spirit of Penarth II” was launched after a long tractor push beyond the end of the lifeboat slipway and across the soft sand and mud to reach the sea.

After a long tractor-push down the sea Spirit of Penarth II heads east across to the sandbanks about a mile offshore from Penarth

Spirit of Penarth II duly reached the scene of the ‘casualty’ on the sandbanks and found a white runabout solidly aground and  a fishing boat nearby, anchored in deeper water.

Eventually the three people who had been aboard the white runabout turned up. They’d been on a leisurely walk along the sandbank and were planning to have a picnic there  – something which they’ve done many times before.

The sandbank offers long stretch of golden sand and was once the venue of an  annual (low-tide) sandbank cricket match in which the late Prime Minister and MP for Cardiff South James Callaghan used to participate.

Duly satisfied that – at least this time – no one needed rescuing,  Spirit of Penarth II returned to the lifeboat station .

Earlier in the day the Coastguard Rescue Helicopter had been carryout of a co-ordinated Summer Festival display with Penarth’s Atlantic 85 lifeboat

Strollers on Penarth Pier had a grandstand view of the display this morning

Earlier in the day the larger Atlantic 85 Penarth lifeboat Maureen Lilian  had also been out on the water participating in an impressive co-ordinated rescue display with the local Coastguard helicopter .


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