LABOUR-RUN VALE COUNCIL PLANS INFLATION-BUSTING COUNCIL-TAX HIKE OF 3.9%

No crock of gold for Penarth householders at the end of this rainbow. The Labour-run Vale Council is planning to  increase Council Tax - yet again - this time by  3.9% for a "Band D" property.

No crock of gold for Penarth householders at the end of this rainbow seen over Penarth yesterday. The Labour-run Vale Council is planning to increase Council Tax yet again – this time by 3.9% for a “Band D” property.  That’s eight times more than the rate of inflation.

There isn’t any inflation to speak of in the UK economy – but that hasn’t stopped the Labour-controlled Vale of Glamorgan Council planning to jack-up its Council Tax rates by a massive 3.9% for the year 2015-16  – and that’s just for a “Band D property”.

On Monday the seven-member ‘cabinet’ that runs the Vale Council is to discuss  a document called “Final Proposals for the Revenue Budget” for 2015/16 before going through the motions of having them approved by the full council.

That document reveals that this Vale Council inner-circle is planning  to impose yet  another set of swingeing tax-increases on local council-tax payers.

Below are the amounts the Vale Council plans to charge for 2015/16 and do not include the increased South Wales Police Precept (going up by 5% ) and the increased Penarth Town Council Precept (going up by 11% )  .

Property Band     Council Tax payable for 2015/16

A                               £713.04
B                              £831.88
C                              £950.72
D                           £1,069.56
E                           £1,307.24
F                           £1,544.92
G                           £1,782.60
H                           £2,139.12
I                            £2,495.64

The council will formally fix the level of council tax for 2015/16 at a meeting of the full council due to be held on 4th March 2015 – a procedure which just rubber-stamps the decision that the so-called ‘cabinet’ will have already taken.

Although it’s demanding yet more money from council-tax payers, the Vale Council  actually has a projected “net underspend” on its revenue account for the current year (2014/15)  of £715,000.   On top of that it’s expecting to underspend again in 2015/16 by £770,000 – making a total underspend of £1,485,000.  The council is now proposing to transfer this cash into a so-called  “School Investment Strategy Reserve” – rather than give it back to council-tax payers.

The Council says it carried out a  ” budget priorities survey” which asked Vale residents to rank council services in order of importance to them. The public who participated listed the following as their top three priorities: –

  1. Primary and Secondary Schools,
  2. Refuse collection and recycling
  3. Child Health and Disability Support.

The council doesn’t say how many council-tax payers actually took part in the “survey” but admits that “A number of respondents said that they would like to see a reduction in both the numbers and the cost of management and councillors alike “.

The council plans to spend £212,355,000 in the coming year but receives a Revenue Support Grant of £116,184,000 and claims it needs to raise £59,874,000 from council-tax.

The  Vale of Glamorgan Council has tucked away "reserves" of £8.9million.

The Vale of Glamorgan Council has tucked away “reserves” of £8.9million.

It’s revealed that there is a surplus cash fund  of £8,900,000 salted away in its “Council Fund Reserve” which the council does not plan to touch.

Despite the recent job cuts, the Vale of Glamorgan Council reveals that it is still employing 6,000 people.    It says the budget for 2015/16 will mean there will be “a loss of jobs” although ” the impact on individuals is likely to be mitigated as a result of natural wastage and the deletion of vacant posts, it is, nevertheless, expected that there will be a number of redundancies.”.

 

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PENARTH PREPARES FOR THIS WEEKEND’S ASTRONOMICAL SUPER-TIDES

In February last year spray reached third floor windows of Windsor Court (Photo Ben Salter)

In February last year spray reached third floor windows of Windsor Court (Photo Ben Salter)

A comparatively rare planetary alignment this weekend is forecast to bring a so-called “supertide” to the Bristol Channel tomorrow morning with the level of the Bristol Channel  predicted to rise by 48 feet in just 4 hours.

The tide – said to be the highest astronomical tide for 25 years – is due to reach its zenith  at 08.43  tomorrow (Saturday) morning as both the sun and the moon tug together on the world’s water.

Whump! On January 3 2014 wave watchers who got too close to the action got wet - and risked getting clonked on the head by flying rocks

Whump! On January 3 2014 wave watchers who got too close to the action got a soaking  – and risked getting clonked on the head by flying rocks (photo NewsNet)

If the wind stays calm – and in the west – there shouldn’t be a problem – but if there’s a storm surge there could be scenes reminiscent of last winter’s sea-front swamping.

Saturday morning’s marine monster however it won’t be the last tide of its kind – there are yet more big tides to come. A Met Office spokesman said: “There is a lot of uncertainty in the forecast for the weekend with the tides and the impact these may have on coastal areas. We are expecting tides of between 14 and 14.5 metres along the Bristol Channel, perhaps up to 15 metres – if there is a bit of a surge.”

A wall of water whams into the sea-wall last winter  (Photo Ben Salter)

A wall of water whams into the sea-wall last winter (Photo Ben Salter)

Not only are the sun and the moon doing their bit but the wind is also forecast to rise during  Sunday and Monday with gusts of over 50 mph . The good news is however that the winds are forecast to come from the West meaning Penarth’s East-facing shore should be relatively calm – but big winds encountering big tides can create steep waves.

Royal Observatory astronomer Dr Edward Bloomer says  “If the earth, moon and sun are all in a line – called the syzygy effect – the gravitational push is attractive and we can get more powerful tides than usual.”

After Saturday the next supertide dates are March 21st – the Vernal Equinox and September 23 – the Autumnal Equinox.

 

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WATER MAINS BURST HITS SOME PARTS OF PENARTH

Engineers working on repairing the burst main

Engineers working on repairing the burst main

A burst water main is causing water supply problems in some parts of Penarth this morning .

Engineers are working on the problem in the Beechwood Drive area of the town. Supplies are expected to be restored by about 13:15 today

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APRIL START FOR LIVE NATIONAL THEATRE RELAYS AT THE PAGET ROOMS

The Paget Rooms, Penarth is to exhibit live Event-Cinema productions from the National Theatre  in April

The Paget Rooms, Penarth is to exhibit live Event-Cinema productions from the National Theatre starting in April

Penarth town councillors heard last night that the council has now placed a £33,464 order for projection equipment for  new ‘Live-Event Cinema’ which is to be established in the Paget Rooms  .

The satellite dish which will receive the encoded digital television transmissions from the National Theatre and other sources is to be installed on February 27th  and a new custom-built screen is being ordered.

Town Clerk of Penarth Shan Bowden

Town Clerk of Penarth Shan Bowden

The Town Clerk Shan Bowden told the committee the earliest that the equipment could be installed was April 14th – partly because the Paget Rooms were very fully booked during the month of March . Meanwhile the council is in discussion with the National Theatre to arrange dates for the first screening.

Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines) Leader of Penarth Town Council came third

Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines) Leader of Penarth Town Council

Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines) Leader of the Council said he hoped the installation  would not be completely constrained by existing Paget Room bookings. He said that the earliest it was possible to arrange National Theatre screenings the better . Was it not possible for some work to be done on Sundays?

The Town Clerk pointed out that the Paget Rooms were operational seven days a week.

 

 

 

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“SUBWAY” SIGNAGE GIVEN THE ALL-CLEAR BY PENARTH TOWN COUNCIL

The Subway signage proposed for 5 Stanwell Road

The Subway signage proposed for 5 Stanwell Road

Penarth Town Council’s planning committee has recommended approval of the illuminated signage proposed for the new “Subway” fast-food franchise which is set to open at 5D Stanwell Road.  (see original PDN story dated 12/2/2015 on    http://tinyurl.com/lwvrkqp).

As previously reported the new Subway restaurant/take-away is to be located at the former J M Textiles shop where generations of Penarthians bought their school uniform.

subwaySubway is a subsidiary of the American company Doctor’s Associates Inc. and is said to be one of the fastest growing franchises in the world, with over 43,000 restaurants in 108 countries and territories all over the world. It operates from a headquarters in  Milford, Connecticut and its European operation is based in Amsterdam.

A Subway artist's impression of what the new signage would look like on the former J M Textiles shop

A Subway artist’s impression of what the new signage would look like on the former J M Textiles shop

In the UK the firm has a policy of using premises which already have existing “A1″ retail planning permission (which the J M Textiles premises already has)  as it does not use fryers on the premises .

This was a point which the chairman of Penarth Planning Committee Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell) reminded members about in last night’s meeting .

Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell)

Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell)

Cllr Thomas  said  “I remind the committee that we are not here to talk about whether or not we approve of Subways.   It’s not part of our remit in this meeting. I am informed there is no need for a ‘change of use’ because there won’t be any cooking going on on the premises. So the only thing we’ve got to consider is whether  the change from a blue livery into a green Subways livery is accepted” [ PDN Note: In fact the proposal related to the illuminated signage]

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines) said the committee had to look at it rationally. “From the information in front of us we could make no objection to that sign”.

Cllr Thomas said “That would be my take on it as well”. The proposed signage was recommended for approval . The final decision will be made by the Vale of Glamorgan council .

 

 

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THUMBS-UP FOR OPERA-STAR BRYN TERFEL’S GRAND DESIGN FOR PENARTH HOME

Penarth Town Council are recommending approval of the large extension to the rear of 9 Park Road proposed by world-famous opera star Bryn Terfel

Penarth Town Council are recommending approval of the large modern extension to the rear of 9 Park Road proposed by world-famous opera star Bryn Terfel

Penarth Town Council’s planning committee last night recommended approval of proposals by opera-star Bryn Terfel to redevelop and extend his recently-acquired semi-detached mansion at 9 Park Road, – the  select street which seems to be becoming the “Beverley Hills” of Penarth  .

The site is within the Penarth Conservation Area but can’t be seen from the street. The application says the initial concept proposal was to “better connect the house with its garden and utilise the existing stone boundary wall to create a link to the music room space at the rear of the garden.”

The document says “The new extensions to the house would require little alteration to the external fabric of the existing property with the exception of the removal of the existing kitchen lean-to in order to open up the back of the house to the garden. A new extension is then proposed to house the new kitchen and connect the main space of the house to the garden.”

The plans for the property include - perhaps unsurprisingly - a "Music Room"

The plans for the property include – perhaps unsurprisingly – a “Music Room” at the end of the garden

The existing lean-to at the rear is to be removed to open up the back of the house to the garden allowing a continuous view from the entrance hall to the rear of the site and the proposed location of the music room.

Along the boundary of the site a cloister/gallery space is proposed to link the new extension to the Music Room at the rear of the site.  The main house will be extended at the rear to accommodate the new kitchen and dining room and at first floor to accommodate an additional bedroom.

The architects (Loyn and Co) say  the concept proposals were positively received by the local authority (the Vale of Glamorgan Council) who concluded that the proposal was “generally appropriate” – but the council has yet to give formal planning permission.

Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell)

Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell)

Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward) said he would have no objection to the scheme as the development could not be seen from the main road .

Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Plymouth Ward) – in the chair – wondered about the “elevated terrace running outside – overlooking the neighbours I would have thought”.

 

Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

The Mayor Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward) reminded members the property was next door to 10 Park Road where a large net screen had been erected. He said “It’s a very ambitious extension isn’t it – to say the least”.

Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines) Leader of Penarth Town Council

Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines) Leader of Penarth Town Council

Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines) pointed out that the architects, Loyn and Co, had won an RIBA award for “best individual dwelling”  . He reminded members that the guidelines for conservation areas is that developments in them should “preserve or enhance” and that the committee’s decision should be made in relation to enhancement.  Cllr Cuddy said “There is now a pattern developing [ in the area] of quite high quality modern design” .

Cllr Philip Rapier (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Philip Rapier (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Philip Rapier (Labour St Augustines) urged that a “watching brief” be kept on the coach house on the site as such buildings were of great historic interest.  He was sure the development “would be fine” but the comments in the application that it would be turned into a garage were “very general”. Cllr Rapier said there were very few of these old buildings left.

Cllr Clive Williams moved that the committee should recommend acceptance of the proposed development – noting that, at the other end of Park Road, large family homes were being turned into flats. He was pleased that 9 Park Road was being kept as a family home .

Cllr Neil Thomas – summing up the discussion – said all members appeared to be “singing to the same tune” and  the committee will recommend approval of the plan. The final decision will be made by the Vale of Glamorgan Council   .

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…YES MINISTER – WHAT WAS THAT HOME-ADDRESS AGAIN?

Vaughan Gething Assembly Member for Cardiff South and Penarth and Deputy Health Minister has now stated publicly that he no longer lives in Butetown - his home is in Penarth

Vaughan Gething Assembly Member for Cardiff South and Penarth and Deputy Health Minister has now stated publicly that he no longer lives in Butetown – his home is in Penarth – over there in the background

Welsh Government Minister and Labour and Co-operative Assembly Member for Cardiff South and Penarth Vaughan Gething – who has consistently claimed to live in the Butetown area of Cardiff  – has now confirmed in a local newspaper article that he actually lives – not in gritty Butetown  – but in leafy Penarth.

In his regular “View from the Assembly”  article in this week’s edition of the Penarth Times Gething waxes eloquent about the pleasures of living in Penarth with his wife and family. He says:-

Vaughan Gething wrote this in an article in this week's edition of the "Penarth Times"

Vaughan Gething wrote this in an article in this week’s edition of the “Penarth Times”

However up to now Gething – who is Deputy Minister for Health in the Welsh Government – has consistently stated that he and his wife live in Butetown” - the deprived area of the capital which he originally represented as a Cardiff councillor.

His current official biography on the Welsh Assembly website (http://tinyurl.com/ov46qed) asserts that Gething – now Deputy Heath Minister in the Welsh Government     now lives in Butetown with his wife Michelle” :-

Gething's official Welsh Assembly biography claims he lives in Butetown

Gething’s official Welsh Assembly biography claims he lives in Butetown

Gething’s current biography on the Black History Month 2015 website (http://tinyurl.com/mbyoucz) also asserts he lives in “Butetown” :-

Black History Month 2015 also prints Gething's biography claiming that he lives "in Butetown"

Black History Month 2015 also prints Gething’s biography claiming that he lives “in Butetown”

Gething’s current biography on the Cooperative Party website (http://tinyurl.com/oa3m5mx) also repeats the claim that he “lives in Butetown”  :-

The Co-operative Party also claims Gething lives in Butetown

The Co-operative Party also claims Gething lives in Butetown

However Gething’s biography on his own personal website (http://tinyurl.com/mmhh3w5) has been modified and doesn’t mention either Butetown or Penarth and says only that  “He lives in the constituency”.

 

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