PENARTH LIBRARY DAMP-PROOFING IS DELAYED – YET AGAIN

Penarth Library

Penarth Library has a big problem with damp.

Penarth Library is going to have to wait a little longer for the much-needed damp-proofing works to be carried in the 1904-vintage building.

A scheme to carry out essential and much-needed damproofing works in the library – which was originally called for back in 2014 – has been pushed back  for a second time by the Labour-run Vale of Glamorgan Council.

Scaffolding reaches all the way up to the roof of the building where rainwater has been pouring in through the ceiling of the first floor

In 2014 emergency works had to be carried out when  rainwater poured in through the ceiling of the first floor of the library – but the much needed damp-proofing work was deferred. Now it’s been deferred again.

In August 2014 emergency work had to be carried out on the Library when rainwater was penetrating the ceiling of the first floor of the building. This work involved erecting scaffolding outside the building –  but was a separate project from the much-needed damp-proofing works.

That same month (August 2014) – after a prolonged delay – the Vale Council finally got around to authorising the expenditure of £88,000 on essential maintenance and repairs to  “address damp” in Penarth Library  – but deferred the project – saying the work would not begin until the financial year 2015/16. However, in the event, no work was done .

Now the council is deferring the work yet again – apparently because it’s discovered that it needs Listed Building Consent to carry out the damp-proofing work on the library – something which critics say the council should have known in 2014.

The council says it now intends to apply for Listed Building Consent  “by the end of the [2015/16 ] financial year”  . As a result the scheme is being delayed until consent is received  . A budget provision of £60,000 is now being  carried forward into its Capital Programme for 2016/17 year.

Meanwhile after six years of problems with the current lift in the Library, a replacement lift has finally been ordered and will be installed as part of the damproofing project – as and when that is carried out.

The library – a gift to the people of Penarth – was first opened in 1905, its construction having been funded largely by the Carnegie Trust on land donated by the Earl of Plymouth.

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PARKING TICKET FOR TRIO WHO CRASHED INTO PENARTH TREE

The white saloon with three young men aboard collided with a tree in Windsor Road, Penarth.

The white hatchback with three young men aboard collided with a tree in Windsor Road, Penarth.

Three male passengers are reported to have escaped injury today when the car in which  they were travelling struck a tree on Windsor Road, Penarth.

All three managed to extricate themselves from the vehicle and bystanders say none of them appeared to be injured.

A South Wales Fire and Rescue team from Penarth Fire Station were on the  scene in minutes to provide first aid and check for fuel spillage. It’s not known whether the accident was weather-related.

One eyewitness said that a  Vale of Glamorgan Civil Enforcement Officer was also in attendance at the scene and appended a  parking ticket to the car – which had crashed on a double-yellow lined area of the road. Another eyewitness however subsequently denied that a parking ticket had been issued.

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PENARTH TOWN COUNCIL LAUNCHES RE-VAMPED WEB-SITE

A first look at teh new Penarth Town Council web-site launched today

A first look at the new Penarth Town Council web-site launched today

Penarth Town Council has today launched a new and up-graded version of its internet website on https://www.penarthtowncouncil.gov.uk/

The site is still running as a beta-test – a preliminary version of the final product –  so not all the bells and whistles are working yet. It appears to be a  much slicker development of the previous one – but is designed to operate on iPhones and tablets as well as lap-tops and desk-tops .

The website was set-up by local web-development specialists Webjects who won the contract in  an open tendering process and now has a number of new features including:-

  • Online event submission for local groups and organisations
  • Event system highlighting the range of events in the town with a “refined booking
    process”.
  • News and newsletter sign-up to inform residents about the work of the Council.
  • A download system for council agendas and minutes, and “clearer information
    about hiring council venues such as The Paget Rooms and The Kymin”.

The council says “It is hoped that the website will become a digital resource, not only for the local community, but for those interested in visiting the town. Emphasis has been placed on accessibility and following .gov.uk principles which aim to ensure clear, plain language, straightforward and clean design and full responsiveness, so the website functions well on all devices.”

Deputy Town Clerk of Penarth Keri Hutchings

Deputy Town Clerk of Penarth Keri Hutchings

Deputy Town Clerk, Keri Hutchings, said that “The Council is very excited to launch this new resource and we believe that it will lay the foundation stone for a new phase in the
way that we communicate with the public.

“We welcome feedback from early users so that we can begin the process of refining and responding and maintain a website that reflects the vibrancy of our town.”

Visitors to the new website are being encouraged to “submit feedback on their experience using the online form, or by emailing enquiries@penarthtowncouncil.gov.uk.”

The old multi-storey car park was demolished and is now "much missed"

A postcard of the old multi-storey car park was amongst vintage items on the old website

The site is still under development so there’s more work still to do. One feature missing from the new site is the set of charming vintage photographs of old Penarth which were not easy to find on the old site but well worth the trouble of tracking down.

For Welsh-language users there is a "Translate" button (bottom of screen right hand side) which converts everythiing into Welsh

For Welsh-language users there is a “Translate” button (bottom of screen right hand side) which converts everything into Welsh

Welsh speakers may notice there does not appear at first glance to be much material in the “language of Heaven”  on the new site as yet  – a few agendas and a couple of policy statements and that’s about it .

The council however says readers can translate the website into Welsh by clicking the ‘Translate’ button on the bottom right hand corner of the screen and then selecting the button with the Welsh dragon flag which appears there.

 

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SHAKE-UP OF WELSH ASSEMBLY PROPOSED BY CONSERVATIVES

Conservatives claim the  Welsh Assembly is a "part time" institution that knocks-off at 5 pm on Tuesdays

Conservatives claim the Welsh Assembly is a “part time parliament” that knocks-off at 5 pm on Tuesdays

Penarth Assembly Member  Andrew RT Davies (Conservative, South Wales Central)  has unveiled what is  described as “a radical programme of reforms to improve public engagement and accessibility with the National Assembly for Wales”.

Davies, who is the leader of the Conservatives in the National Assembly, says he particularly wants to tackle voter-apathy amongst young people in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Amongst the proposals are that  : –

  • The salaries of Welsh Government Ministers should be slashed by 10%
  • The funds top-sliced from ministers’ salaries should be used to supp0rt “youth engagement”.
  • A “full procedural review” should be carried out of  the way the Welsh Assembly operates.
  • A “Welsh Localism & Citizenship Bill” should be enacted which will  – he says ” seek to end the democratic deficit which exists in local communities such as the Vale of Glamorgan

The Conservatives say a  ‘Welsh Localism and Citizenship Bill’ would introduce community rights to “Bid and Buy” – allowing local groups to take over the ownership and running of key services.

The bill would also extend the remit of local councils ; make all commissioners – including the Police and Crime Commissioner   – accountable to the Welsh Assembly as opposed to the Welsh Government  and clarify the use of public referendums.

Andrew R T Davies (Conservative AM South Wales Central)

Andrew R T Davies (Conservative AM South Wales Central)

Andrew R T Davies says “Many people across the Vale of Glamorgan will have turned 18 in recent months, and have the chance to vote for the first time in May’s election – but won’t do so. That should trouble all of us.

“A Welsh Conservative Government in Cardiff Bay would cut ministerial pay by 10% across the board and plough every penny of that funding into giving young people a voice.”

Davies rejects calls to increase the number of Assembly Members . He says “that’s not going to improve engagement with the public. We need better politics — not more politicians”.

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PENARTH NEEDS 368 NEW “AFFORDABLE” HOMES – SAYS VALE COUNCIL

Penarth  Dinas Powys and Llandough  need a total of 543 new affordable homes - according to the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

Penarth, Dinas Powys and Llandough need a grand total of 543 new affordable homes – according to the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

The Vale of  Glamorgan Council’s planning committee is to consider an internal council report this week which says that 368 new “affordable” homes are needed in Penarth .

The report also says there is a “considerable current need” for more affordable homes in neighbouring Dinas Powys and that a Local Housing Assessment carried out last year  that 559 new affordable homes are “required each year”.

In Penarth the council claims that the affordable units which are required comprise :-

  • 204 – One-bedroom homes
  • 117 – Two bedroom homes
  • 34 – Three-bedroom homes
  • 13 – Four-bedroom homes

The current guidelines already specify that 40% of homes on all new developments should be “affordable” .

“Affordable” is now defined as meaning either social-rented housing (rented to the occupier by housing associations) or “low-cost” housing (sold to the occupier). What are termed “low cost market” houses are bought through “Home-Buy” equity-share schemes or, at “discounted” prices in which the developers take a hit on the price. “Affordable homes” may be ‘affordable’ for the tenant or buyer, but they are less-so for the developers because they now have to be constructed to ‘Welsh Housing Quality Standards’ – thus making them more expensive to build than ordinary retail housing.

The Vale planning committee is considering an application to build 50 new homes obn land at near Cardiff Road/Cross Common Road, Dinas Powys.l

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LANDSLIDE DANGER CLOSES PENARTH MARINA’S TERRA NOVA WAY

The latest landslip appears to have caused a fissure to open up on Vale of Glamorgan land on the edge of the Penarth Heights development

The latest landslip appears to have caused a fissure to open up on Vale of Glamorgan land on the edge of the Penarth Heights development immediately above Tec Marina

The main road through Penarth Marina is closed tonight because of the risk of a landslide between the roundabout at the junction of Penarth Portway and Terra Nova Way and a position just east of  the Tesco superstore.

The road closure announcement issued at 15:00 hours today said  “Terra Nova Way, Penarth, closed due to landslip between Marconi Avenue and Penarth Portway. Road closed for safety reasons”.

A deep crack appears to have opened up in the land on the edge of the escarpment

A deep crack can be seen in the land on the edge of the escarpment

 

Many motorists ignored the Road Closed signs . Terra Nova Way is the only route to each some of the homes in the Marina area

Many motorists ignored the Road Closed signs just after Tesco and near Tec Marina  . Terra Nova Way is the only route to  some of the homes in the Marina area

It was later established that South Wales Police had initially raised the alarm and alerted the Vale of Glamorgan Council Highways Department – which then erected road signs and diversions at both ends of the closed-off section of Terra Nova Way.

The signs were being ignored by many drivers . The road is the only way to reach some of the properties adjacent to Terra Nova Way including the “Tec Marina” offices. There was no debris to be seen at road level.

On February 5th it local residents said three chunks of land on the slope had given way during tree fellling

On February 5th local residents said three chunks of land on the slope had given way during tree felling

Further along the escarpment – again on Vale of Glamorgan land adjacent to Penarth Heights  –  scores of trees have been removed from the steep slope in the last few days and there appears to have been a landslip just below the crest of the escarpment –  although whether this had occurred before or after the tree clearance is not known.

The Vale of Glamorgan Council said in January this year that “the cliff has been rated as being at significant risk of slippage since 2004. A number of measures have been taken since, such as clearing the cliff of loose material and installing netting. However, these have not prevented further landslips.”

The landslip exposed the roots of sawn-down trees which had once held the earth in place.

The landslip exposed the roots of sawn-down trees which had once held the earth in place.

The Council said that a report in 2011 found that uncontrolled tree growth to be one of the principle factors in causing slippages and added that “the most recent inspection, undertaken in 2014, recommended that work be undertaken to improve the stability of the slope.”

Local residents and members of the Penarth Marina Residents Association however complained vociferously about the tree-felling operation – claiming it would destabilise the ground and wreak havoc on local wildlife.

A police helicopter hovered in the vicinity this afternoon - but it's not known if its presence was connected with the landslip alert.

A police helicopter hovering above the landslip this afternoon – assessing the situation from the air .

A police helicopter was seen hovering over the area earlier this afternoon and South Wales Police later confirmed it had been called in to carry out an aerial assessment of the situation .

Cllr Neil Moore (Labour Cadoc Ward) Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council is said to have admitted that the tree cutting in the Marina has been "paid for by the developers of Penarth Heights"

Cllr Neil Moore (Labour Cadoc Ward) Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council is said to have admitted that the tree cutting in the Marina has been “paid for by the developers of Penarth Heights”

Tonight the Penarth Marina Residents’ Association said that the Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council Cllr Neil Moore had admitted in writing that  “the tree cutting is being funded by the developer of Penarth Heights.” . 

The statement from the Penarth Marina Residents Association released tonight by its  chairman Dr Martin Whitehill reads as follows:-

The Vale of Glamorgan’s own expert surveyors rated the risk of land slip as being ‘trivial’, the lowest risk level. Regardless, the Council decided to cut down the trees in front of Penarth Heights development despite the advice and wishes of Penarth Marina residents. The Council denied any link between this action, the Council and Penarth Heights developers.

Dr Martin Whitehill is chairman of Penarth Marina and Haven Residents' Association

Dr Martin Whitehill is chairman of Penarth Marina and Haven Residents’ Association

“The residents advised the Council management and the ward representatives that when they cut the trees last time, some ten years ago, there were disastrous results. In a subsequent period of heavy rain due to the lack of tree foliage coverage, plus the fact that the cut down trees were no longer sucking water out of the escarpment, the build up of excess water within the escarpment caused mud and land slides. There are now areas of bare rock where the soil was completely washed away so no foliage can extract the rain out of the escarpment in those parts. For this reason, the Council were implored not to repeat the mistakes. The Council refused to heed the residents’ warnings”.

“The Council’s contractor has not even finished the work this year and already the mud and land slides have started. The Vale of Glamorgan Council Leader has now admitted in response to a written request from a Conservative Assembly Member that the tree cutting is being funded by the developer of Penarth Heights.”

The Road Closed sign at the roundabout at Western end of Terra Nova Way

The Road Closed sign at the roundabout at Eastern end of Terra Nova Way tonight

Tonight South Wales Police said the Highways Agency – in association with the Vale of Glamorgan Council – had has carried out an assessment on Terra Nova Way and had said it is “safe” to re-open  – but will continue to monitor the position over the next few days.

The tree clearance has improved the view for some Penarth Heights residents.

The tree clearance has improved the view for some Penarth Heights residents.

UPDATE February 9th 2015:

PENARTH HEIGHTS RESIDENTS “NOT AFFECTED” BY LANDSLIDE

A spokesperson for Crest Nicholson said today : “We are aware that there has been a land slide on Vale of Glamorgan Council owned and managed land, adjacent to our Penarth Heights development. However, no properties or residents at Penarth Heights have been directly affected by this incident. Crest Nicholson would also like to clarify that no request for the removal of trees in this particular area has been made.”

The Vale of Glamorgan Council said it is “continuing to monitor a stretch of embankment near to the Penarth Heights development that saw a small landslip as a result of heavy rain on Sunday.”  The council said that “After visiting the site at the request of South Wales Police, the Council’s highways team took a decision to temporarily close a section of Terra Nova Way to enable a geotechnical engineer to examine the landslide. The road has now been reopened. Further inspections will now take place to determine the cause of the landslip and whether any work can be undertaken to prevent further slips in the future.”

 

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VALE COUNCILLOR TO QUIT UKIP TOMORROW

Cllr Kevin Mahoney (UKIP Sully)

Cllr Kevin Mahoney (UKIP Sully)

Cllr Kevin Mahoney the UKIP Vale of Glamorgan Councillor who represents the Sully and Lavernock Ward  (adjacent to Penarth)  has announced that he is officially to “re-designate” himself tomorrow as an “Independent.”

Cllr Mahoney, a gas engineer by profession,  is making the move because  he is not prepared to associate himself with what he calls “those personalities described in the media, as candidates, who have been parachuted into Wales by the UKIP hierarchy in order to leapfrog local Welsh-based activists on the regional list for the May Assembly election.” 

Specifically Cllr Mahoney does not want to sanction the candidacies of potential UKIP candidates  Neil Hamilton, Mark Reckless, or Alexandra Phillips in the forthcoming Welsh Assembly elections coming up in May.

The three UKIP candidates that Cllr Mahoney objects to being "parachuted" in to Wales

The three UKIP candidates Neil Hamilton, Alexandra Phillips and Mark Reckless who Cllr Mahoney objects to being “parachuted” into Wales to stand for election as members of the Welsh Assembly.

Cllr Mahoney says that “along with the majority of the British public, I despise the political class from all parties. I loathe their sense of entitlement and the fact that they arrogantly view local voters as being there for their own political career enhancement“. He says he had hoped that UKIP would “rise above the political cronyism” but says “I’m afraid that this is not the case.”

Vale Cllr Kevin Mahoney (UKIP Sully) giving evidence to the planning committee

Vale Cllr Kevin Mahoney  giving evidence to the Vale planning committee

Cllr Mahoney says he has always been independent and has never conformed to any whip or party line as a councillor – but when he stood for election in  2012 he “felt it only fair to the voters” to point out his “previous record of standing for election with UKIP in national elections since 2007”  as he believes voters normally have no idea of the political allegiances of councillors designated as independents.

[ PDN Note – currently out for consultation are new Welsh Government proposals which would require independents to declare their political allegiances] .

Cllr Mahoney adds that “I will be informing all members of the Vale of Glamorgan branch of my actions and the reasoning behind making them.”

 

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