SOUTH WALES SURVEILLANCE-DRONE CRASH IS INVESTIGATED BY THE AAIB

The  “Yuneec Typhoon H480 Drone” is the same type as those used by South Wales Police  over populated areas- such as Penarth Marina and Cardiff Barrage – but now it’s been revealed that a Yuneec Typhoon drone went out of control and crashed at St  Athan – an incident which has now been investigated by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch.  (Photo John Clark)

It’s emerged that a crash involving a large American-made Yuneec Typhoon  H480 “Unmanned Aerial Vehicle”  – of the same type as that used by South Wales Police –   has been the subject of a formal investigation by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch – the body which examines  all air crashes in the UK.

Under Labour South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Alun Michael, South Wales Police set up a  surveillance “drone unit” in 2016 and now makes regular use of an unknown number of top-of-the-range professional 6-rotor Yuneec Typhoon H480 remote-controlled aircraft – all of which are equipped with live high-definition tv cameras and transmitters .

The crash raises questions about the safety of using drones over locations  where there are dense crowds of people.

The drone crash investigated by the AAIB occurred whilst  “aerial work” was being carried out at  RAF St Athan. It’s not yet clear whether this was a machine owned and operated by South Wales Police . The drone was “damaged beyond economic repair”.

An Air Accident Investigation Branch Report into the accident has now been published – which clearly has major implications for the police in using the same type of  drones over populated areas.

The South Wales Police drones are  transported to locations their own dedicated 4X4 SUV vehicles .

The AAIB says the 50-year-old “Commander” of the aircraft which crashed holds a licence issued by the Civil Aviation Authority certifying his “Remote Pilot Competence” and is reported to have had 7 hours 4 minutes experience flying the drone within the previous 90 days – including 2 hours 27 minutes in the preceding 28 days.

The Air Accident Investigators said :-

” The unmanned aircraft (UA) had been flown on several occasions earlier in the day providing aerial imagery for a multi-agency exercise”. Prior to the accident flight a new, fully-charged, battery had been installed and no problems were identified during the  pre-flight checks.

“The drone had completed a flight of approximately 12 minutes duration and was returning to the landing site when, at a height of approximately 30 feet, it tilted forward and then “flew into the ground”.

The AAIB report says the drone suffered  “significant damage but no one was injured and no vehicles or property were damaged”.

The drone was returned to the manufacturers for testing . Data, recovered from the drone,  showed that during the flight no error messages had been generated but “as the machine  descended to a height of 37 feet, electrical power was lost”.

In what could be read as implicit criticism of the operation of the drone, the manufacturers told the AAIB Inspectors that  “it is possible to operate the Typhoon H480 without the battery being fully installed and secure” and that “Movement of an insecure battery in-flight has previously resulted in a small number of crashes due to electrical power loss.”

 

Posted in Penarth Daily News | 4 Comments

PAY TO PARK AT PENARTH ESPLANADE, CLIFF WALK & COSMESTON?

Already visitors to the Penarth end of the Cardiff Bay Barrage have to queue up to buy parking tickets. Now similar machines could be on the way to Penarth Esplanade, Cliff Walk and Cosmeston.

The Vale of Glamorgan Council’s ruling cabinet is to re-consider the whole issue of parking charges across the Vale when it meets on Monday next week.

Notwithstanding an apparent undertaking given earlier this month not to introduce Town Centre parking charges in Penarth  (and other major towns in the Vale)  it now seems as if the parking charge reprieve may NOT apply to places like Penarth Esplanade, Cliff Walk and Cosmeston Country Park .

On Monday next week the Vale Council’s cabinet is due to review the study carried out last year by consultants Capita on the introduction of parking charges in locations  which are NOT defined as “Town Centres” .

TOWN-CENTRE PARKING:-

There will no Town Centre parking charges this year – but they could be introduced next year

A council report says  that is NOT proposed to bring in street-parking charges in Town Centres for 2019/20. [A statement which could imply that town-centre parking charges could be introduced the following year 2020/2021]

PENARTH ESPLANADE:-

Traders fear Penarth Esplanade could be devoid of visitors if parking charges are introduced

Charges ARE proposed for on-street parking on Penarth Esplanade 7 days a week at a rate of :-

  • Up to 2 hours £2.00,
  • up to 3 hours £4.00,
  • up to 4 hours £6.00,
  • up to 5 hours £8.00
  • All day £10.00.

Charges in the WINTER  for Penarth Esplanade are proposed as “half the Summer charge“. Disabled persons with blue badges will be able to park on the Esplanade free of charge.

CLIFF WALK, PENARTH

The 50-space Cliff Top Car Park off Cliff Parade

On Cliff Walk Penarth the proposed charges are Summer

  • Up to 1 hour £1.00
  • All day £3.00
  • Buses  £12.00 charge for buses and coaches

On Cliff Walk the WINTER  period (November to February) there will be no charge

Disabled persons with blue badges proposed as free.

COSMESTON COUNTRY PARK

The sign outside Cosmeston Country Park

The charges proposed all year round are as follows:-

  • 2 hours parking for £1.00
  • all day set at £3.00
  • bus/coach parking at £10.00 all day.

Disabled persons with blue badges proposed as free.

RESIDENTS’ PARKING PERMITS

The council report proposes the introduction of a new charging structure for Residents’ Parking .

It says “A Resident Parking Policy together with charges relating to the purchase of such permits.

There are no restrictions as to the number of permits a household can purchase.”

The decision on whether to introduce al or some of the proposed new parking charges will be made by the cabinet of the Vale of Glamorgan Council and are expected to be  subject to ratification by the full council.

 

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SWING BRIDGE SAGA: QUAY MARINAS RESPONDS TO CLLRS AND RESIDENTS

The Penarth Marina Swing Bridge in its “docked” position at Town Quay. The bridge can “swing” through a 90 degree arc to enable pedestrians to reach the opposite side of the Marina but has been out of use since 2016.

Quay Marinas – the company which operates Penarth Marina and several other marinas in the UK – has now issued a public letter ( via Penarth Daily News) in response to comments made by local councillors and residents in a meeting held on Tuesday March 12 concerning – amongst other matters – the status of the pedestrian Swing Bridge in Penarth Marina.

Stuart Jones, Manager of Penarth Quays Marina

The letter has come from Mr Stuart Jones the Marina Manager – writing on behalf of Quay Marinas Ltd who has asked us to reproduce it at full length. It reads as follows:-

“Dear Penarth Daily News,

Thanks for reporting on the swing bridge discussion held at the Marina Resident’s Quiz Night.  It’s useful to hear what the Councillors have to say.  However, it’s a shame that they are reporting on these issues in a public forum before discussing them with us directly.  Nevertheless, I’d like to make the following observations.

In November 2018, Vale of Glamorgan Council officers asked us to commission an independent report on the alarms necessary for the safe operation of the swing bridge.  We agreed with the Vale of Glamorgan Borough Council on the scope of the report and who was to be appointed before work started.

Subsequently we appointed –  and paid for –  an experienced specialist consultant to do the investigation as agreed.  The independent report found that for alarms to meet relevant British Standards and Codes of Practice relating to safety, they should be between 60 and 65 decibels.

At this level of noise, the report confirms that alarms would be above the acceptable levels identified under relevant British Standard Codes of Practice relating to environmental health and disturbance.  Alarms set at this level would also, in our own view, cause unacceptable disturbance to neighbouring properties.  A bit like Brexit, a compromise can’t meet everyone’s requirements and it is just not possible to have both a quiet and safe bridge, meeting current standards at this location.  Basically, the report confirmed what we had been saying to the Council for over 2 years.

Council Officers then asked us to alter the independent report to suit some of the answers they wanted.  Obviously, we weren’t happy to do this.  We are not going to take on the liability for operating a bridge that does not meet current safety standards.  I doubt the Council will want to take on this responsibility either.

If the Council do ultimately force Quay Marinas to operate the bridge, they will do so in the full knowledge that either they are enforcing an unsafe operation, or they are enforcing an operation which exceeds noise disturbance parameters, and which will cause ongoing unacceptable disturbance to neighbours.

I note the comment on public safety.  Personally, I cannot see any argument that lack of a swing bridge had anything to do with the two unfortunate drownings in the marina waters.  However, since the bridge has been out of operation, we have not had any pedestrians, joggers or cyclists trapped on it.  No more boats have driven into it and there have been no further incidents of children gathering to “tombstone” off it.  Therefore, there is a public safety issue to be addressed, and hopefully the Council will consider all of these issues in its deliberations.

Yours sincerely

Stuart Jones, Marina Manager, (on behalf of Quay Marinas Limited)

The swing bridge was lit up and being used by pedestrians in 2014.

Meanwhile the Penarth Marina and Haven Residents’ Association (PMHRA) has issued an executive summary of its minutes of Tuesday evening’s meeting at Pier 64 which reads as follows:-

“1.1 VOG [ Vale of Glamorgan Council ] officers  met on 15th February to discuss a Noise survey. VOG are keen to get the Bridge back into action.  It was reported that a solution had been put forward but Quay Marina had concerns in accepting it.

1.2 Maintenance has been carried out on the Bridge and it is still operational!

1.3 Contact has ben made with Cardiff County Council operator of Pont-y-Werin Bridge – it has 90db sound system – no objections from Residents Anchorage/ Bay Scape

1.4 Following a good discussion it was agreed that PMHRA would send a formal letter to all relevant Elected Representatives to urge them to insist that Quay Marina be instructed to reopen the Swing Bridge.”

 

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‘TRAVELODGE’ MAY ACQUIRE PENARTH’S HISTORIC MARINE BUILDINGS

Listed as a “County Treasure“, the Marine Buildings next to the Custom House at Penarth Marina have been on sale for some time – and now may become the site for a new Travel Lodge Hotel (Photo John Clark)

There are unconfirmed reports that budget hotel chain Travelodge –  may be in the process of making an offer for Penarth’s historic Marine Buildings – next door to the Custom House restaurant in Penarth Marina.

Travelodge has already announced it plans to set up 7 more hotels in Wales , including possibly one in Penarth at a – so far unspecified –  location.

The elegant French Renaissance-style balconies have survived the building’s neglect

Confirmation from estate agents E J Hales that Penarth’s Marine Buildings are “under offer”

The Marine Buildings – built in French Renaissance revival style – have been empty and derelict for many years and some of the roofs of the three- storey terraced have collapsed.

The entire block – whick is freehold –  was put on the market a few months ago at an asking price of £2,250,000

It is described as being  “situated in a superb location overlooking Cardiff Bay, next to the Lock Gates. 

“The property is three storeys – each floor measuring approximately 1,558 sqft (475 sqm) and in a very poor condition.  It has a Grade II Listing. “

What the re-built Marine Buildings would  have looked like when converted into modern 5 star hotel .The site  belongs to the Martinez family wich also owns the Custom House restaurant on the right

Earlier outline designs for a luxury hotel for the site had been tabled which would have retained echoes of the style of the original building but the site was thought to be too expensive to develop.

 

Posted in Penarth Daily News | 16 Comments

PENARTH PROMENADE’S SUMMER BRASS BANDS FACE THE AXE

The famous Lewis Merthyr brass band providing music at the entrance to Penarth Pier Pavilion

The traditional sound of summer on Penarth Esplanade is set to be silenced .

The Vale of Glamorgan Council is being recommended to pull out of the regular weekend open-air brass band performances.

The Council has run the popular brass band performances during the “high-season weekends” at Penarth Pier every year since since 2010 – funding it with a grant of £4,000 to £5,000 each year.

A wide cross section of ages played in the open-air brass band concerts

Before that, bands performed at the behest of the old Penarth Urban District Council – but now the tradition seems to have come to an end cutting another nostalgic link with the Penarth of the past .

It’s being proposed that the money “saved”  be used to support “the larger, more high impact events in Penarth” instead. Meanwhile here’s a reminder of Penarth as it was in 1967 when a brass band seemed the very essence of the seafront and summer.

Anthony Ernest is the chaiman of the Penarth Tourist and Visitor Association

Anthony Ernest, chairman of the Penarth Tourist and Visitor Association (PTVA)   said today that this proposal would strike at the very heart of the summertime programme of events that regularly bring thousands of visitors to the seaside resort.”

Mr Ernest said “These concerts not only bring great pleasure to visitors but also to the many Penarthians who regularly enjoy a walk on along the seafront at the weekend, and ceasing the concerts would just take away one more well loved event that helps keep the Esplanade and Pier so bustling and lively at peak times of the holiday period. Not so many years ago, concert style music was played on Sunday afternoons over a louspeaker in the Italian Gardens, whilst people relaxed in deck chairs the length of the Promenade. “

“Now the deck chairs have gone, the recorded music has gone, and the replacement by Brass Bands who came from across the former Mining Valleys of South Wales to enjoy an afternoon by the seaside and play to an appreciative audience looks like going as well.”

The Vale of Glamorgan Brass Band strikes up outside the Pier Pavilion. Penarthians and visitors may never hear them on the sea-front again.

Speaking on  behalf of the PTVA, Mr Ernest says “Regrettably the Vale has decided to put much of its tourism “spend” into promoting Barry Island, whilst the budget for Penarth is very low in comparison, despite Penarth being the second largest town in the Vale, and paying a substantially larger amount of Council Tax to the Vale, as so many houses here have very high Council Tax Bandings, compared with those in Barry which generally are so much lower, and contribute much less to the Vale’s coffers. The actual cost of staging these concerts is remarkably low as there are no venue costs and no staffing requirements, which inevitably hike charges for most other local venues, and Penarthians will rightly expect their County Councillors to take a strong line when faced with such a disapointing and unimaginative cut to their spend on Tourism, which brings very considerable publicity to our resort, as evidenced just this month by Penarth winning the BBC “Best House in Town” series, our award winning restaurants, and, of course, as a highly popular film location.

Even though the roasting sun sometimes  forced bands to take to the shade, they carried on playing to the delight of visitors and residents alike (Photo AME)

Mr Ernest – a former Mayor of Penarth – also drew attention to the modest funding required. He said “The budget cut for 2019 of around £5,000 for these concerts is such a small sum in return for the income generated in the town, that Councillors face charges of not being alive to exactly what tourism actually brings to a Welsh resort that offers so much to visitors and residents alike, and I sincerely hope they will reconsider their proposal in the interests of the town”

The decision on scrapping the open-air brass band concerts is to be made by the Vale of Glamorgan canient next week.

Meanwhile those who might like a reminder of Penarth as it was – complete with brass band – can view a short BFI film shot on the Esplanade in 1967 by clicking on the link below  :-

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2273782619330551

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DOGS TO BE ALLOWED ON PENARTH BEACH ALL YEAR ROUND

Dogs will be allowed on the Penarth Beach all the year round – including the summer months – if the Vale of Glamorgan’s cabinet implements a new officer report

Dogs will be allowed to roam on Penarth Beach all the year round – including the summer months – under recommendations due to be considered by the  Vale of Glamorgan council’s ruling cabinet next week

Currently the existing by-laws prohibit owners alloweing their dogs onto Penarth Beach between May 1st and  September 31st  each year; Penarth Beach is one of 5 in ther Vale of Glamorgan where such restrictions apply .

Dogs will be able to roam on the Penarth beach all year round – but will have to be on leads when they are on the Esplanade or on the Pier

However now, following a public consultation and a review of the existing controls it is “deemed that it would be appropriate to remove the seasonal prohibitions for dogs at Cold Knap and Penarth Beach”

The existing restrictions will continue to apply to  Whitmore Bay, Dunraven Bay and Cwm Colhuw.

It’s good news for dog owners but perhaps not such good news for families who want to swim or paddle in the sea at Penarth and enjoy the beach

The consultation is said to have shown it evident that Penarth Beach is not considered as a “high footfall bathing beach” and a council report says “a seasonal prohibition of dogs seems unreasonable.”

[The condition of the beach was not improved by the Welsh Labour Government’s decision to allow the dumping of thousands of tons of mud from the Hinkley Point nuclear complex – just a mile offshore from Penarth.]

At the moment Penarth Pier bans cyclists, dogs and skateboarders. Now dogs may be allowed on the pier – provided the are on a lead

However because of the high footfall on Penarth Esplanade and Penarth Pier “it is proposed that these areas have dogs on leads controls all year round” and means that dogs can be admitted onto Penarth Pier only provided they are on leads.

Dogs can use the Cwrt-y-Vil football pitch as a toilet so long as their owners pick up faeces after them

The Vale Council is also to consider dropping earlier plans to ban dogs from sports pitches. Dog walkers who don’t pick up excrement which their pets deposit on sports pitches can be fined up to £100 – but there’s to be no ban on dogs actually going onto the pitches.

The final decision will be announced next week.

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“DISORGANISED” PENARTH CHILD-MINDER FOUND TO BE “NON-COMPLIANT”

Inspectors had serious criticisms of the way a Penarth child-care facility was run

The Care Inspectorate Wales has issued a highly critical report on a child-care service being provided by Sunita Singh-Landa in a terraced house in the centre of Penarth.

In one of the most negative reports ever made on a local childcare service, the Care Inspectorate Wales report describes Sunita Singh-Landa as “disorganised” and “not managing her service  effectively” .

Sunita Singh-Landa has been registered since 2008 to provide care for up to 5 children aged from birth to 12 years of age in a mid-terrace house where she lives with her 2 children. Although one of her children is now over 17, the teenager did not have a Disclosure and Barring Certificate (DBS check) – as is required by law at the age of 16.

Although Sunita Singh-Landa HAD “undertaken training in child protection” she was  not able to recall any information on the “Prevent duty”. [ “Prevent” is a government strategy to help protect children from radicalisation and all child care providers are required to be familiar with its contents.]

Because she had “misplaced the file” Ms Singh-Landa was also:-

  • Not able to provide inspectors smoke detector testing and fire evacuation records
  • Not able to show developmental records for the children in her care and risk assessments.

The CIW report says “Overall, we found that the child minder was not managing her service effectively. This is because she had failed to inform CIW that a member of her family had moved out of the family home … She has also failed to undertake an annual review of her service and produce a report; all of which are regulatory issues.”

The inspectors said “We found that the child minder had not started to meet or address many of the recommendations [ made at an earlier inspection ] and therefore these have been made again”.

The inspectors have informed Sunita Singh-Landa that she was not compliant with the following: –

  • Child Minding and Day Care (Wales) Regulations 2010: Regulation 31(1) as the child minder had failed to inform CIW of changes to people living at the property;
  • Regulation 20(2)(a) as the child minder had failed to ensure that her child aged over 16 had obtained a disclosure and barring security (DBS) certificate.
  • Regulation 16(2)(a) as the child minder has not undertaken an annual review of her service and produced a report.”

The CIW says These are serious matters. However, we did not an issue a non-compliance notice as the child minder provided us with the necessary written notification to the changes in her household, immediately following the inspection and also applied for a DBS certificate for her child. The child minder has been informed that she needs to undertake a review of her service as a matter of priority and gave reassurances that this would be completed without delay.”

The following areas  – identified at the previous inspection  – are still outstanding:

  • Maintain development records for children which identify next steps in learning and
    tracks progress, including regular observations;
  • Regularly review activities to ensure any improvements are made and meet the
    needs and interests of the children;
  • The child minder needs to take her lead from the children and where possible allow
    them to finish off activities they are enjoying, before introducing another one;
    Complete training in “Prevent” agenda;
  • Ensure risk assessments are undertaken for the home;
  • Obtain a copy of the NMS to inform child minding practice and ensure compliance
  • Keep records for smoke detector testing.

The full report is on https://careinspectorate.wales/service-directory.

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