CARDIFF BARRAGE CAR PARK IS COMMANDEERED BY BBC TV’s “CASUALTY”

Some of the “Up and Running” location trucks which  formed a base for “Casualty” operations at the Penarth end of the Cardiff Bay barrage (Photo John Clark)

A large BBC production unit from the medical soap-opera Casualty was back in Penarth yesterday filming at a number of different locations in the town.

Although Casualty units are frequently seen on the streets of Penarth, the size of this  unit – comprising several large trucks rented from facility company Up and Running   – was unusually large , particularly as the main studio base for the programme is in nearby Cardiff Docks.

The wagon-train includes dedicated caravans in which lead actors can relax and learn their lines.(Photo John Clark)

The unit descended on the Cardiff Bay Barrage car park and took up almost all the available car park space – although  actual filming was being carried out at other locations in the town – including a regular favourite venue of the programme – a ground floor apartment at Clive Crescent.

Inside mobile makeup room (Photo Up and Running Facilities)

The Up and Running Facilities  trucks include a double-deck mobile restaurant with sufficient seating for a complete cast and a mobile make-up unit in which several actors can be dealt with simultaneously.

The lead actors in Casualty are the best paid in the BBC and receive phemonenal salaries which are many,many  times the multiple of the lowly nurses and NHS staff whom they portray .

Derek Thomson of Casualty – the BBC’s highest paid actor

Casualty veteran Derek Thompson who plays a male nurse  called  “Charlie Fairhead” – and who has gone grey over the years in the role –  receives up to £399,999 a year – [ this is said to be because the BBC thinks a salary  £400,000 a year might be seen to be just a little too generous].

Colleague Amanda Healing appears not only on Casualty but on the companion series “Holby City” and earns up to £299,999 a year.

It’s not known whether either actor had to endure the rigours of filming in Penarth  yesterday . Local passers-by were told by security staff not to take photographs of the trucks and to keep away from the Barrage area.

 

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BIZWATCH: GOODBYE “CUT & STYLED” … HELLO “HAIR WORKS”

“The Hair Works” is the new hair salon on Stanwell Road – (formerly Cut & Styled)

“The Hair Works” is the new name now on the front fascia of the former “Cut & Styled” hair salon in Stanwell Road.

The  salon – formerly run by the late Dave Crompton –  has, as of this week, been taken over  and given a new name by local resident Sue Haynes.

Native Penarthian Sue Haynes has set up her new business “The Hair Works” in the existing salon – ansd has retained the existing team of 6 stylists

Sue has bought the fittings and fixtures of the existing salon and is holding-on to the salon’s existing team of 6 experienced stylists  – making The Hair Works one of Penarth’s most important employers in this highly-competitive service sector.

 

 

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VALE COUNCILLOR WAS CENSURED FOR ALLEGED “HOMOPHOBIC COMMENTS”

Cllr Nick Hodges (Plaid Cymru Baruc Ward Barry) standing to speak in the meeting of the  full Vale of Glamorgan Council at which he later made the remarks complained of.

It’s now emerged that Vale of Glamorgan Councillor Nick Hodges ( Plaid Cymru  Baruc Ward Barry)  – whom the council had announced earlier this week had been “censured” – is  alleged to have made “homophobic comments “.

Initially the Vale Council had not publicly given any reason for the action taken against Cllr Hodges but now the full details of the matter have leaked out into the public domain.

Cllr Leighton Rowlands (Conservative Dyfan Ward) – who made the complaint

Cllr Nick Hodges (Plaid Cymru Baruc Ward)

A complaint was made against Cllr Hodges by a Conservative Vale Councillor Cllr Leighton Rowlands .

[Cllr Hodges is  a Vale Councillor and is also Mayor of Barry.  Cllr Rowlands – is Deputy Mayor of the Vale of Glamorgan ].

Cllr Rowlands has now called on Plaid Leader Leanne Wood to investigate the alleged comments – which are said to have been made during a councillors’ training session on equalities –  and in a meeting of the full Vale of Glamorgan Council  in September.

Cllr Rowlands had alleged that in the training session – in which the possibility of compiling  a list of list of people in the council who were gay or lesbian was suggested – Cllr Hodges had allegedly whispered to Cllr Rowlands “I don’t want a list of people and I’m sure you don’t want to be on a list” . That complaint by Cllr Rowlands  against Cllr Hodges was dismissed by the independent inquiry (see adjudication below). It was found that “there was no basis to this aspect of the complaint”.

The first of two complaints by gay Councillor Leighton Rowlands against Cllr Hodges was dismissed

In the second allegation  Cllr Rowlands had claimed that in September’s full council meeting, when a member was challenging an assertion about the number of gay MPs and AMs in the Conservative Party, Cllr Hodges had allegedly called out “Are you asking for volunteers?”

As reported yesterday by  PDN, Cllr Hodges was “censured ” for making this remark following what the Vale Council described as “two Stage 3 hearings which took place before an Independent Member of the Standards Committee.

A council statement added that “Low Level Allegations of Breaches of the Members’ Code of Conduct are dealt with in accordance with the Local Dispute Resolution Procedure. In this instance there was found to be a basis to the complaints and Councillor Hodges has been censured.”

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood is being asked to investigate the matter

Cllr Rowlands –  Deputy Mayor of the Vale of Glamorgan –  has said :-  “It was really disheartening to hear a fellow councillor making such disparaging comments, and I think that the Leader of Plaid Cymru should consider whether there is a place for remarks of that nature in Plaid Cymru. It’s tough to open up about such a personal aspect of my life on such a public platform – but I made the decision to do so because I thought we’d moved on from such ignorance.It only goes to show the challenges we still in the LGBTQ* community in 2017.”

Cllr Rowlands went on to say in his statement “I know that the great majority of Barry residents have a much more accepting and progressive attitude towards homosexuality. It is a shame that an elected Councillor has failed to show that same respect.”

[* PDN Note : LGBTQ is an a recently-enlarged acronym which now adds the letter “Q” (standing for an adjective which was previously regarded as objectionable – “Queer“) to the previously better-known shorter acronym of “LBGT” . The full LBGTQ acronym is now recognised as standing for “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer” and is “used to designate a community of people whose sexual or gender identities can create shared political and social concerns”] .

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PENARTH RETAILERS’ LATE-NIGHT XMAS-SHOPPING VENTURE PROVES TO BE A HIT

Outside the busy Griffin Books where customers enjoyed a glass of wine as they browsed for presents, The Crepe Escape had set up a stall selling their noted crepes and pastries …and hot coffee

Despite last night’s wintry weather, the new-look Late Night Christmas Shopping Evening – organised not by the Labour Town Council  but by Penarth retailers themselves – has proved to be a big hit with customers.

The event had languished under the town council’s management – and last year’s event was such a disaster the council had pulled the plug on  it. Afterwards the leader of the council Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines) had criticised fellow councillors for not bothering to turn out to support local shops and announced there would be no late night shopping event in Penarth this year .

Penarth Community Choir singing Christmas carols helped set the festive mood for the most successful event yet (Photo J Horton)

Street stalls selling gifts and cards had a busy evening

Families with young children found there was plenty to enjoy on the streets of Penarth

Penarth’s Windsor Arcade was open and doing a roaring trade

But that withdrawal by the council proved to be just the impetus needed for local retailers to get together and organise a  much better event  themselves.

One of the organisers  – Justin Horton of the Funky Monkey children’s wear shop said “What a night! The town saw a great turn out, despite the weather, and many of the shops were well supported and had bumper sales.”

Long established Penarth jewellers Rowleys said It was the best late night event in 14 years” .

Sian Fox of Foxy’s on Victoria Road was delighted with the way the evening went

Sian Fox – who runs the eponymous Foxy’s restaurant and delicatessen in Station Approach said it was the “best ever”.

In Station Approach were entertained by a jazz band and the Penarth Community Choir sang a  selection of Christmas songs and carols in Windsor Road.

As last year, there weren’t many councillors to be seen around town – but this time they did have an alibi – there was a council meeting on last night.

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AMs RECEIVE 100 LETTERS FROM LOCAL RESIDENTS ON PENARTH-POLLUTING INCINERATOR

Left to right: Unlikely bedfellows – Assembly members Jane Hutt (Vale Labour) Andrew RT Davies and Neil McEvoy (South Wales Central including Penarth)  are presented with the letters from local residents calling on the  Welsh Labour Government to stop the Barry incinerator project.

Over a hundred letters from local residents calling on the Welsh Labour Government to stop the controversial Barry incinerator project have been presented to Assembly Members.

It’s feared the plume of pollution emanating from the plant in Barry Docks will affect Penarth even more than Barry itself.

Natural Resources Wales – an offshoot of the Welsh Labour Government – is  currently undertaking a “public consultation”  before deciding whether to grant the plant an Environmental Permit which would allow it to operate.

Legislation governing the permits allows Welsh Labour Government ministers to intervene and veto the project if they so decide – but Labour ministers are understood to be keen to allow the project to go ahead – despite the concerns of residents in Barry and in  Penarth.

Meanwhile a cross party group of politicians – who back local residents’ demands and want the make incinerator project toast – turned out to meet the Docks Incinerator Action Group (a.k.a. DIAG) to receive  the letters.

They included South Wales Central AMs Andrew RT Davies and Neil McEvoy, Vale AM Jane Hutt [ who was sacked from the Labour cabinet in May]  and Vale of Glamorgan councillors Nic Hodges and Vincent Bailey.

Andrew R T Davies says  “I have been vociferous in my calls for the Welsh Government to step in and refuse the incinerator an Environmental Permit – and it is very pleasing so many residents think likewise. While the Cabinet Secretary [Lesley Griffiths] has turned down my initial request – I hope the strength of feeling will cause her to think again. It was great to have representatives from a range of parties present – demonstrating the widespread opposition. It’s quite clear the incinerator will be very damaging but now it is down to the Welsh Government to stop it. I would urge people to continue to make representations to NRW and the Welsh Government – before the consultation closes on January 22nd.”

 

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VIOLENCE ON THE INCREASE AS CRIME FIGURES CLIMB AGAIN IN PENARTH

A South Wales Police van in Penarth. The Penarth police station is staffed 24/7

Latest crime figures from South Wales Police show that there has been another large year-on-year increase in crime in Penarth with well over 100 crimes a month being committed in the town.

  • In September 2017 crime was up by 8.14%  on the figures for September 2016
  • In October 2017 crime was up by 5.5% compared with on October 2016.

These figures appear not to include a category of violent crime now labelled as “Assault with Injury” of which there were 8 cases in September 2017 and another 8 in October 2017.

The latest batch of police figures were presented to Penarth Town Council last night by Inspector David Barclay who has recently taken over from his predecessor at Penarth Inspector Gary Smart.

A library picture of Redlands Road, Penarth – where police told Penarth Council last night that a victim of violence had sustained a fractured eye socket in a suspected “racially motivated” attack

Inspector Barclay said there had been serious incident of violence on Redlands Road, Penarth in which a youth had sustained a fractured eye-socket. Investigations were being made into whether  the incident had been “racially motivated” . An arrest had been made.

He also said there had been a crime “spike” in early November  – a factor which is not included in the September/October figures which he had given the council last night.

Inspector Barclay highlighted domestic burglaries (10 in September 2017 and 5 in Oct0ber 2017 ) as a growing concern.  Although some arrests had been made, across the Vale burglaries continue to be reported – indicating that the culprits have not yet been caught.  He said it was not possible to establish any pattern for the break-ins. However  the “modus operandi” was the same in most cases – a brick through the back door or  patio window.

Cllr Yvonne Murphy (Labour St Augustines) demanded action from the police on drug trafficking in St Augustine’s Ward

During the council’s bi-monthly police briefings most Labour councillors ask only polite inquiries about topics like school car parking arrangements … but not Yvonne Murphy (Labour St Augustines) .

She fearlessly waded-in to ask Inspector Barclay when the police were going to do something about the increasing drug-trafficking problem in her ward – which involved drugs like cocaine. There was, she said, an area within the ward where drug dealing was prevalent.

Cllr Murphy said she had lived in the St Augustine’s Ward for 12 years but – in all that time –  had “never seen a police officer there” .

Inspector Barclay – who has been in his new post for 6 weeks – said that often residents were not aware that police WERE actually patrolling their local areas. He told the councillors that when  he was serving in Gibbonsdown (Barry)  – where  similar things had been said – he had  resorted to knocking on the front-doors of residents to demonstrate that police were indeed patrolling the area.

In the latest batch of statistics the categories of specific crimes on the  bi-monthly Penarth Crime Report  appear to have been arbitrarily altered by the police  – which makes it more difficult for local residents – who pay the South Wales Police Precept on their Council Tax Bills –  to compare the performance of their local  police month-on-month.

  • From September the previous categories of “Theft of Motor Vehicles” and “Theft from Motor Vehicles” appear to have been amalgamated into a single category labelled “Vehicle Offences” – a category which has not been used before .
  • What in September this year was called “Domestic Burglary” is now called “Residential Burglary”
  • A new category called “Business and the Community Burglary” appears in the statistics for September 2017 – but fails to appear in the figures for the following month – October 2017.
  • Although South Wales Police appear to be able to arbitrarily change all the other categories in their crime sheets, the force remains unable to produce specific figures for the St Augustines and Plymouth Wards of Penarth – claiming that their computer system won’t allow them do to so. These two wards are still lumped together in a long-obsolete ward called “Alexandra Ward”which disappeared in the 1990s.

 

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JACK-UP PLATFORM FROM HINKLEY POINT NUCLEAR COMPLEX PAUSES OFF PENARTH

The Dutch jack-up barge was towed away from the shore at Hinkley Point, Somerset where it could have been vulnerable to the impending storm and anchored  off Penarth en route to Avonmouth

A large  Dutch jack-up barge has been moved from the Hinkley Point nuclear power station complex on the Somerset coast  – to a position off Penarth.

It appears the lyrically named barge –  called “NP 497”  – is to be engaged in laying undersea pipelines to provide cooling water to the new Hinkley C reactor. [ It’s the mud being excavated to lay these pipelines which is the cause of the controversy between EDF, the Vale of Glamorgan Council and the Welsh Assembly]  

The barge was moved from the shore at Hinkley Point nuclear power station on the Somerset coast into the comparatively sheltered waters off Penarth

An authiritative PDN source says  that contrary to earlier reports that the barge was to take shelter off Penarth during the stormy weather predicted for the rest of this week, it’s now understood that the vessel will be moved to Avonmouth Docks from where it will pick up sections for the new jetty being constructed adjacent to Hinkley Point’s new Hinkley 3 nuclear reactor.

The rig left Hinkley Point at just after 07:30 this morning and was being secured with multiple anchors off Penarth as darkness fell this afternoon to await a turn of the tide.

South Westerly winds of up to 50 mph are expected over the next 3 days.

 

 

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