CHIP-PAN FIRE RIPS THROUGH WINDSOR ROAD FIRST FLOOR FLAT

Clouds of smoke poured out of the roof and penetrated into adjoining premises. One casuallty suffering from smoke inhalation was taken to hospital (Photo Janice Fiona Bell / Twitter)

Clouds of smoke poured out of the roof and penetrated into adjoining premises. One casualty suffering from smoke inhalation was taken to hospital (Photo Janice Fiona Bell / Twitter)

Police sealed-off Windsor Road from the old Blockbuster premises to the Windsor Arms pub last night as several fire crews tackled a major blaze in apartments above what used to be called the RAFA Club and is now the  Office Bar and Members Club .

A man person was rushed by ambulance to the Heath Hospital in Cardiff suffering from smoke inhalation .

Firefighters had to gain entyry to properties either side of the blazing apartment to stop the spread of the fire and ensure no one was left inside

Firefighters had to gain entry to properties either side of the blazing apartment to stop the spread of the fire and ensure no one was left inside. The seat of the blaze was in the apartment immediately above the black front door

The fire broke out in a chip-pan just after 21:00 and at one time large flames were seen shooting through the roof . An ambulance was called in to rush a man suffering from smoke inhalation to hospital in Cardiff but there were no other injuries.

Penarth fire fighters attended, backed up by two appliances and a hydraulic ladder unit from the Central station in Cardiff  and a water bowser from Barry.

Firemen carry out a search of the Office & Members Club

Firemen enter the  Office Bar & Members Club – the former RAFA club – to check on damage and ensure no one is still inside

Boris - who lives next door to the burned-out flat keeps cheerful as he waits for news. In the fire-damaged flat a fire-fighter clears away still-smouldering timbers

Boris – who lives next door to the burned-out flat keeps cheerful as he waits for news. Inside  the fire-damaged flat a fire-fighter clears away still-smouldering timbers

At first the fire fighters weren’t sure that there was no one else left in the building and said it took a while to search the premises. Firemen had to wear breathing apparatus as they conducted a search of the apartment and adjoining dwellings.

It was an “unvented fire” which the fire service says is “very dangerous”   and can cause a “flashover” – a sudden and unexpected eruption of flame.

Residents from adjoining apartments waited on the pavement for news of when they might be able to return to their homes. Personnel from Fire Victim Support and South Wales Police were on hand to help them.

It was more than two hours before residents of adjoining apartments were allowed back into their homes

It was more than two hours before residents of adjoining apartments were allowed back into their homes

The Fire Service said the fire damage was contained within the loft of one apartment but there was extensive smoke and water damage to adjoining properties including the RAFA club – which had also had to be evacuated.

A full investigation will be carried out to establish the cause of the fire.

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DRIZZLE DOESN’T DAMPEN THE OPENING OF PENARTH’S SUMMER FESTIVAL & CLIFF TOP ART EXHIBITION

The Mayor of Penarth Cllr Rosemary Cook declares teh Cliff Top artists' exhibition open by cutting the much-used ceremonial tape.

The Mayor of Penarth Cllr Rosemary Cook declares the Cliff Top artists’ exhibition open by cutting the much-used ceremonial red ribbon. The left end is being held by artist Helen Davies and the other by organiser Peggy Davies  .

The 50th Penarth Summer Festival officially began today when the Town Mayor,  Cllr Rosemary Cook (Labour, St Augustines) cut the red tape to open the annual Cliff Top Artists’ outdoor exhibition – traditionally the first event on the Summer Festival Calendar.

Because of the drizzle – and at times heavy showers – the ten or so artists exhibiting their work on the cliffside at the top of Cliff Hill adjacent to the Cliff Walk pathway, were waiting for the rain to clear before putting most of their paintings on show.

The Mayor and her Consort (who is a professional photographer) sook a keen interest in the paintings on display

The Mayor and her husband Peter Cook (who is a professional photographer) took a keen interest in the paintings on display

The Town Mayor Mrs Cook says although she’s not a painter herself (she’s a musician by training) she loves looking at paintings and visiting art exhibitions – and is looking forward to attending the forthcoming Kookywood  “Views Across Wales” exhibition being opened at Penarth Pier Pavilion tomorrow .

Some of Helen Davies's acrylics and oils on display at the exhibition

Some of Helen Davies’s acrylics and oils on display at the exhibition

Organiser Peggy Davies says this is the 38th Cliff Top Artists' exhibition to be held

Organiser Peggy Davies says this is the 38th Cliff Top Artists’ exhibition to be held

At the Cliff Top , Penarth-born artist Helen Davies of Sully kindly unveiled her display of stunning paintings  as a backdrop today’s the official opening ceremony.

Helen has been painting for 30 years and specialises in acrylics and oils most featuring scenes of the West Wales coastline and the Gower including Three Cliffs Bay, Newport and Tenby.

Organiser Peggy Davies says this is the 38th time the Cliff Top Artists’ exhibition has been held as  part of the Penarth Summer Festival.

Although she says for the artists it involves committing a lot of time to the exhibition – and investing in a large supply of suncream.

Meanwhile to provide an even better vista from the venue Deputy Town Clerk Keri Hutchings is organising a trim of the hedges and overgrowth along the cliff edge – and no, the cliff edge isn’t on the move – a full safety check was carried out in advance.

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STEPHEN DOUGHTY VERSUS CAROLINE DINENAGE ON EQUAL PAY

Caroline Dinenage (Conservative Gosport) the Equalities Minister refuses to give way to Stephen Doughty (Laboutr Cardiff South and Penarth)

In the House of Commons Opposition Day debate on Equal Pay, the Equalities Minister Caroline Dinenage (Conservative Gosport) refuses to give way to Stephen Doughty (Labour Cardiff South and Penarth) who tries , in vain, to interject from the front bench in his role as Opposition spokesman on Business. It was Dinenage’s first appearance in her new ministerial role – but she proved to be no push-over for the Penarth MP.

It was a test of wills in the Commons yesterday as Caroline Dinenage –  newly promoted Government Equalities Minister in her first appearance in the House in her new role clashed with newly-promoted Opposition Business  spokesman Stephen Doughty (Labour Cardiff South and Penarth) in an opposition day debate on equal pay .

The Labour motion before the House proposed that the independent Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) should be tasked with analysing the information and producing a report to the Government and Parliament each year.

Stephen Doughty at the dispatch box faces Caroline Dinenage

Stephen Doughty at the dispatch box faces Caroline Dinenage

From the dispatch box Stephen Doughty told MPs  women still earned on average 81p for every pound earned by men. He said  “The gender pay gap is not only morally wrong and an affront to our sense of equality in this House and in the country, but bad for our economy. If women were paid the same as men across the board, our GDP [ Gross Domestic Product ] on one projection, would be up by 13%. There is also an impact on parents and families. The unequal pay challenge means that parental leave will always be seen as primarily for women, even when men want to be with their children, because of the cost of raising children, even with a partner. We need to recognise the moral and economic costs and the costs for families.”

‘ I CANNOT PARTICIPATE IN THE DAUGHTERS’ RACE ‘  

Doughty went on to say “I cannot participate in the daughters race as I do not have any daughters, but I have three god-daughters and I want them to have the same opportunities and chances in life as my god-son.” and adding “Let us have the transparency, assess the data properly, remove the barriers to justice from tribunal fees, take action on childcare, education, elderly care, low wages and representation in board rooms, and let us get equal.”

Caroline Dinenage (Equalities Minister) begins winding up the debate for the Government as Stephen Doughty (Industry spokesman)  listens from the opposition front bench

Caroline Dinenage (Equalities Minister) begins winding up the debate for the Government as Stephen Doughty (Industry spokesman) listens from the opposition front bench

For the Government the Equalities Minister Caroline Dinenage  (Conservative MP for Gosport)  was unimpressed. She said –  tactfully – that   “The Opposition’s motion seems a little muddled. Where there is evidence of actual pay discrimination, we introduced legislation requiring employment tribunals to order the employer to complete an equal pay audit”.

Doughty appeared not to agree with her assertion and got to his feet to ask “Will the Minister give way?” [ i.e. could he make an interjection] .

Equalities Minister Caroline Dinenage in the face-off with Doughty

Equalities Minister Caroline Dinenage in the face-off with Doughty

Caroline Dinenage [daughter of veteran ITV South news presenter Fred Dinenage]  was having none of it,  held her ground and firmly refused. She said “I have very little time left, so I am going to try to get to the end of my speech, if the honourable gentlemen does not mind….”

However it appeared that the aforesaid “honourable gentleman” (a.k.a. Stephen Doughty) did mind.  There was a further interruption from a frustrated Doughty which was again elegantly brushed-aside by the blonde Conservative Minister.

Unflurried,  Dinenage said to Doughty ” If the honourable gentleman will give me time, I will offer a full explanation.”

She went on to say “This is Government are already strongly building on the record of the coalition, both in tackling the gender pay gap and, more widely, in promoting policies that will ensure that women can play their full part in our economic growth. I am proud to be a member of this Government—we are taking forward that work—and delighted to have this opportunity so early in the new Parliament to present our record to the House. However, we should never be complacent about equal pay and addressing the gender pay gap.”

“Sadly, although I share so much of the sentiment of the motion, all of its suggestions, apart from a formal laying of the annual document before Parliament, could already be done by the EHRC [Equality and Human Rights Commission] without any change to legislation or any instruction by Government, which we could not in any case give to an independent body.

Delivering a coup-de-gras to the opposition benches – and to Doughty – Dinenage said ” I therefore call upon the House to reject the motion as a muddled and unnecessary add-on to what this Government are already committed to taking very seriously.”

In the division that followed Government comfortably won – thus defeating the motion.

 

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12-HOUR WAITS & CHAOS IN PENARTH’S NEAREST REAL-LIFE “CASUALTY” UNIT

Penarth's nearest  A&E  department is at the University Hospital of Wales Cardiff - now under

Penarth’s nearest A&E department is at the University Hospital of Wales Cardiff – now under “enhanced monitoring”

An independent inquiry on Penarth’s  nearest Accident and Emergency Unit  (now called an Emergency Unit or “EU” ) at the Heath Hospital in Cardiff  reports that it has a “culture of bullying, harassment and inappropriate behaviour” which affects staff at all levels – and poses a “significant risk of harm to patients“.

The Cardiff and Vale Health Board – which commissioned the report – said it “fully accepted the findings and recommendations“. The three-month inquiry  also included the assessment unit at Llandough Hospital, Penarth and minor injuries unit at Barry .

Emergency Unit at the Heath Hospital

Emergency Unit at the Heath Hospital

The inquiry investigated claims that bullying, staff shortages and “targets” took priority over patient-care at the EU in the Heath Hospital. Health unions initiated a collective grievance procedure last autumn on behalf of 12 staff at the unit.

The report has redacted (i.e. crossed-out)  the names of individuals allegedly involved but the inquiry claims the allegations “involve many individuals and this makes it difficult to identify individual perpetrators”.

Stephen Allen Chief Executive of Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan Community Health Council - the "patients' watchdog"

Stephen Allen Chief Officer of Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan Community Health Council – the “patients’ watchdog”

The Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan Community Health Council – (the “Patients Watchdog” or CHC) for the area has welcomed the report . It says it  became so concerned over the issue they held a meeting between representatives from the UHW Emergency Unit and Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust  back in December last year to  explore the issues.

Stephen Allen, Chief Officer stated “The Health Board were aware of patients waiting in excess of 12 hours, within the unit, which in our view is totally unacceptable”.

Mr Allen says “The CHC will be expecting the Health Board to undertake a complete review of patient flows through the Emergency Unit and  to address the concerns detailed in the supporting information of this report.  It’s demanding to have a full report – and soon.

Welsh Deputy Health Minister and Penarth Labour AM  Vaughan Gething

Welsh Deputy Health Minister and Penarth Labour AM Vaughan Gething

This is the latest in a series of crushing crises for the NHS in Wales – run by the Welsh Labour Government .

The Welsh Government’s  Deputy Health Minister is Vaughan Gething who lives in Penarth and who is the Assembly member for the Cardiff South and Penarth Assembly Constituency,

The report and its findings will be added to the stack of other problems in the NHS in Wales which are accumulating on his desk.

Gething has yet to comment on the  revelations but the Conservative AM for Penarth Andrew RT Davies has done.

He says “Frontline staff at Wales’ largest hospital deserve a full apology and a cast-iron guarantee that change is coming – urgently. The Labour government manages our health service and Labour ministers must intervene and ensure that the report’s recommendations are implemented in full.”

Penarth's Conservative AM Andrew R T Davies

Penarth’s Conservative AM Andrew R T Davies

Davies went on to say “Welsh A and E units are already under immense pressure as a result of Labour’s record-breaking budget cuts and haven’t met their targets since Carwyn Jones became First Minister in 2009; the last thing that hardworking staff need is to be bullied and harassed.

“Working environments like this put patient safety at risk, damage staff morale and knock public confidence in our health service. Patients across the region deserve better.”

“This report provides further evidence of the need for a Wales-wide independent inquiry into the NHS, which would root out bad practice and safeguard our health service for future generations.”

 

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NOW EVERYONE CAN SEE WHERE “BEE-FRIENDLY” DINGLE PARK IS

One of the new bi-lingual signs outside entrances to DIngle Park. -

One of the new bi-lingual signs outside entrances to DIngle Park. –

More innovations at Dingle Park  – the once neglected “Cinderella” of Penarth’s public parks 

The park  – thanks to the work of the Friends of Dingle Park and  (it has to be said) the Vale of Glamorgan Council  Parks Department –  is already a tranquil oasis amidst the urban bustle of the town.

Bees are informed - but only in Engl;ish - that the park is "bee friendly"

Bees are informed – but only in English – that the park is “bee friendly”

Now the park, which extends from the Dingle Road Station to the Brain’s Railway Bridge  and is sandwiched between the railway and Windsor Road,  boasts brand new signage to identify itself and welcome-in members of the public who may not have realised before that it was even there.

Bees may want to note that the new signs also proclaim the park to be “Bee-Friendly”. That’s because the mix of wildflowers being planted there have been selected to appeal to bees as well as humans.

The new park public notice board

The new park public notice board

Another innovation is a smart new park notice board which has been has been installed alongside the junction of the main pathways.

Other, perhaps less elegant,  signage is now  fastened to the outside railings reminding visitors that it’s not the done thing to drink alcohol in the park .

….And if the weight of social opprobrium isn’t enough to deter would-be drinkers, there is a reminder that infractions could involve a heavy fine.

A £500 fine could be meeted out to offenders.

£500 fines could be meeted out to offenders.

 

 

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HELLO – WE’RE FROM BBC TV CASUALTY. MIND IF WE TAKE OVER YOUR HOUSE?

A large detached house in Penarth's exclusive Cliff Parade - "on-loan" to a BBC TV Casualty produiction team

A large detached house in Penarth’s exclusive Cliff Parade – “on-loan” to a BBC TV Casualty production team

The snag with having a home anywhere in Penarth is that any day someone from BBC TV’s “Casualty”  might come along, knock on the door , and ask if they could possibly borrow it.

One of smartest houses in exclusive Cliff Parade is the latest to have been turned over to the television team.

Location riggers run cables for extra lighting

Location riggers run cables for extra lighting

Despite temperatures almost as high as Tuesday’s, the pessimistic location riggers were busy adding to heat with some powerful extra lights .. Well, you never know, it could cloud-over anytime.

The production team - and the camera - stay in the shade.

The production team – and the camera – stayed in the shade.

The production team of the popular medical series, always ready to turn a trauma into a crisis,  gave the twists and turns of the day’s script a final tweak under the shade of a portable gazebo. Meanwhile out in Cliff Parade most of the parking spaces had been coned off for the use of television trucks.

Bringing up the rear: Penarth's best-known motor caravan moved from its normal parking spot on Cliff Parade to make way for tv trucks...just for the day

Bringing up the rear: Penarth’s best-known motor caravan moved temporarily from its normal parking spot on Cliff Parade to make way for tv trucks…just for the day

Bringing up the rear was the familiar sight of Penarth’s best-known (some might say notorious )  motor-home  –  now relocated from its former  swanky location overlooking the sea at the end of Forrest Road and now normally based at the end of Cliff Parade in a spot with pleasant open sea views over-the-way from Cionis…..Who knows? Its door could even be the one  that Casualty’s production team comes knocking on next.

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FIRST QUESTION FROM FRONT BENCH FOR DOUGHTY

Stephen Doughty (Labour Cardiff South and Penarth) speaks from the Labour front bench for the first time.

Stephen Doughty (Labour Cardiff South and Penarth) speaks from the Labour front bench for the first time.

It was a something of a landmark occasion for Stephen Doughty (Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth) as, for the first time, he rose from his new position on the  Opposition Front Bench to ask a question from the Dispatch Box .

The question  marked his opening innings in his new shadow industry job . It was a question to his opposite number on the Government Benches – Business Secretary Sajid Javid .The question however, when it came, was not one which appeared to capture the imagination of the House.

Penarth Labour MP Stephen Doughty at the Dispatch Box for the first time

Penarth Labour MP Stephen Doughty at the Dispatch Box for the first time

Doughty asked Javid:-   “The Chancellor says that he supports modern industrial policy and the Prime Minister has said that he wants an active industrial policy, but, according to the Financial Times, the new Business Secretary has told officials in the Department that they should not talk about industrial policy. Now we hear him talking about an “approach”. Can he tell industries around the country whether he still has an industrial policy and, if so, what on earth it is?”

Business Secretary Sajid Javid says he's already answered the question

Business Secretary Sajid Javid says he’s already answered the question

The Business Secretary Sajid Javid replied “I think I have already answered the hon. Gentleman’s question, but I am happy to repeat that answer.

Javid went on to say “This Government will have an active dialogue with all industrial sectors. We will listen to their needs on skills, infrastructure and training, and work with them. That includes the sector councils. We will also make sure that we are open to new industries, to competition and to disruptive industries, and that we become the most open economy in the world.”

It was for those on either side of the House to make what they would out of the exchange.

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