AWKWARD QUESTIONS FOR VALE OVER PENARTH RENEWAL PROGRAMME

The Penarth Renewal Scheme under way in 2010 in King St

The Penarth Renewal Scheme under way in 2010 in King St

Members of the public have tabled three awkward questions for the  Vale of Glamorgan Council over its management of the Penarth Renewal Programme – the  programme to renovate substandard housing in older parts of Penarth.

The full Vale of Glamorgan Council  is due to meet tonight in Barry at 18:00 at which the questions are to be answered. In common with all Vale of Glamorgan Council meetings it is not being streamed live on the internet.

Cllr Bronwen Brooks (Labour Court Ward Barry)

Cllr Bronwen Brooks (Labour Court Ward Barry) has to answer all three questions from members of the public about the Penarth Renewal Area

The first questions from Ms N Ross is directed at the ‘cabinet’ member for Housing, Building Maintenance and Community Safety Cllr Bronwen Brooks (Labour Court Ward Barry) . It reads as follows: –
“Can the Regeneration department inform me if Building Regulations were obtained
for any properties in the 438 properties included in the Penarth Renewal Programme?”

The second question raised – again from Ms Ross – is :-
“Can the Regeneration department inform me why the building regulations were not sought in respect of replacement roofs as regulations require in Phase 5B Penarth Renewal Scheme, further, can the Vale confirm that the other phases in the Penarth Renewal scheme do / do not have the correct regulations ? If only Phase 5B are missing, and therefore liable to prosecution, can the Vale state these properties were not dealt with to the building regulations issued at the time?”

A third question has been received from Mr. D. Jenkins is also directed at the cabinet member for housing and is about alleged “asbestos mishandling” on four separate occasions in the Penarth Renewal Phase 5B.

It reads: “Asbestos mishandling has been brought to the Vale’s attention on four separate occasions regarding Penarth Renewal Phase 5B. To date there are no records indicating these complaints have been recorded, can the Vale detail what the procedure should be for reporting asbestos and how the records should be kept?”

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POLICE CALLED TO CAR CRASH AT PENARTH’S WESTBOURNE RD

The car involved in last night's Westbourne Road crash

The car involved in last night’s Westbourne Road crash

South Wales traffic police have been dealing with a  car crash in Westbourne Road, Penarth at the end of yesterday afternoon.

No details are yet available beyond the fact that no one was injured in the collision – which appears only to have involved one vehicle.

The car clearly clouted something hard enough to detach its right front wheel .

 

 

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ALL HANDS ON DECK FOR PAINTING PENARTH YACHT CLUB

Many hands make light word. Members of Penarth Yacht Club hard at work on a spring spuce-up for Penarth Yacht Club

Many hands make light work. Members of Penarth Yacht Club hard at work on a spring spuce-up

Members of Penarth Yacht Club have been turning-to to re-paint the ten venerable Victorian sliding-doors on the ground floor of the listed building.

As no sailors are slouches when it comes to slapping on a fresh coat of paint – and  club volunteers have been busy sanding, priming and preparing the distinctive boathouse doors

Penarth Yacht Club is an interesting mexture of styles because it was built in three different stages

Penarth Yacht Club is an interesting mixture of styles because it was built in three different stages

Traditionalists need have no worries about the grey colour that’s supplanting the traditional navy blue  – that’s just the undercoat . The approved navy gloss will be going on on top of that to match the barley-sugar-twist cast-iron columns that support the  balcony and verandah above.

Penarth Yacht Club is the venue for the book launch on Saturday

Penarth Yacht Club was built in three stages – each one of them slightly different from the others

Members reckon that the wooden sliding doors  – and the rail mechanism from which they’re hung –  are part of the original design of the Grade II Listed building.

Penarth Yacht Club was actually founded in 1880 as ” Penarth Boat Club” . The clubhouse was built in three stages in 1884, 1885 and 1886.

 

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BAILIFFS ENFORCE COURT ORDER TO EVICT CLIFF PARADE TRAVELLERS

"Goodbye Penarth - maybe we'll be back one day ". The first of the traveller caravans moves out after tonight's 18:00 deadline

“Goodbye Penarth – maybe we’ll be back one day “. The first of the traveller caravans moves out after tonight’s 18:00 deadline

Three county court bailiffs have tonight enforced the eviction of five traveller families who’d set up camp on Wednesday last week on the newly extended area of the Cliff Parade car park in Penarth.

The bailiffs working for Gallowglass Security and  dressed in police-style black stab-proof vests – gave  the travellers a deadline of 18:00 by which they had to leave the area .

Having given the travellers a deadline the team of bailiffs waitede paitientlyi n their cars whilst relunctantly the travellers eventually bowed to the inevitable and got back on the road

Having given the travellers a deadline the team of bailiffs in an assortment of vehicles waits patiently  whilst-reluctantly-the travellers eventually bowed to the inevitable and got back on the road again.

The bailiffs – who are technically officers of the court – waited in their cars as the time ticked down towards the deadline. They did not need to take any physical action.

The travellers’ children went for one last play on swings and slides of the nearby playground –  a facility they’ve much enjoyed during their illegal six-day stay at Cliff Walk – before being summoned back to the caravans for an early supper prior to their enforced evening journey.

The Vale of Glamorgan Council’s action followed a county court hearing this morning in  Cardiff at which a court order was issued “sanctioning removal of the travellers from the site “.

With the bailiffs in attendance the travellers decided there was no option but to leave Penarth

With the bailiffs in attendance the travellers decided there was no option but to leave Penarth

Last week the council had fixed an open letter addressed to “persons unknown” giving the  travellers 24 hours to move on . It was ignored.

Yesterday the travellers were notified of this morning’s county court hearing in Cardiff which they were invited to attend – but did not.

The comings and goings of the travellers had been closely watched all week by many of the residents at the Waverley Care Home which overlooks the car park and some residents were at their windows to see the six caravans leave.

The travellers left behind most of their rubbish in black bags. Except for empty gas containers and a couple of folding deckchairs.

The travellers left behind most of their rubbish in black bags except for empty gas containers and a couple of folding deckchairs.

The travellers had played for time right up to the 18:00 deadline and only after six o’clock did they eventually hitch up their caravans and begin to move out – leaving behind several black bags of refuse and some scattered slices of bread – presumably for the seagulls.

It’s not known where they were headed

The travellers left one of their vehicles behind

The travellers left one of their vehicles behind

One of their cars – a Citroen Xsara that arrived with them –  appears to have been abandoned at the car park – possibly because its road tax has  expired.

The Vale Council says a cleansing team is to be sent in to “clean up any mess that has been left and it is planned that the car park will be back to normal use during Wednesday morning”. 

 

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‘UK SHOULD ADMIT REFUGEE CHILDREN’ – SAYS PENARTH MP DOUGHTY

Stephen Doughty Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth asks Home Office Minister James Brokenshire the UK

Stephen Doughty Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth asks Home Office Minister James Brokenshire the UK

In the House of Commons, Stephen Doughty (Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth)  has said that the UK should take in – for their protection – children fleeing from Syria, from conflicts across the Horn of Africa and “elsewhere”.

Doughty was questioning Home Office Minister James Brokenshire –  Home Office, Security and Immigration, in a  session on “Unaccompanied Refugee Children: Relocation and Support” as part of the Immigration Bill.

Home Office Minister James Brokenshire

Home Office Minister James Brokenshire

Brokenshire had said ” The Government wholeheartedly share the intentions of the noble Lords to protect and support vulnerable unaccompanied refugee children, but the challenge is how we most effectively harness our strong sense of compassion and moral duty. …This is about how we use both head and heart.

The Minister had continued  “Our starting principle is that we must put the best interests of children first, and avoid any policy that places children at additional risk or encourages them to place their lives in the hands of people traffickers and criminal gangs. In any response, we need to be careful not inadvertently to create a situation in which families see an advantage in sending children ahead, alone and in the hands of traffickers, putting their lives at risk by making them attempt treacherous sea crossings to Europe. As the horrendous events in the Mediterranean last week demonstrated, that would be the worst of all outcomes.”

Stephen Doughty Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth

Stephen Doughty Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth

Doughty stood up to ask   “The Minister specifically mentions the horrific events in the Mediterranean last week. I have heard from a number of constituents who, through their family connections, knew of people fleeing. He mentioned Syria, but people are fleeing not just Syria but conflicts all across the horn of Africa and elsewhere.I have heard some absolutely harrowing stories from those who have survived those terrible crossings—people trying to travel from Alexandria being abused by people traffickers. Does he not agree that, when children survive such horrific tragedies, we need to do our bit in taking some of them here for protection in this country?”

Replying, the Home Office Minister James Brokenshire said “Clear judgments have to be made on how the UK most effectively provides support. I will come on to how we can help in Europe and to look at those issues that he highlights, which include: the trafficking gangs that exploit people across Africa and the broader regions; how we are playing our role in the Khartoum process to work with African Union countries to take action; and finding that common sense of engaging and working against the people trafficking and smuggling networks.”

Home Office Minister James Brokenshire spelled out what the UK  was already doing to help refugee children

Home Office Minister James Brokenshire spelled out what the UK was already doing to help refugee children

Later Brokenshire said ”  We launched the Syrian vulnerable person resettlement scheme to resettle 20,000 people over the course of this Parliament. Well over 1,000 people have been resettled to date, around half of whom are children. That means that, in the next four years, several thousand more children will be resettled in the UK under the Syrian scheme, but as I said in my statement of 28 January, we want to do more, especially for children most in need of support. That is why, last week, I announced a new resettlement scheme for children at risk. That initiative will be the largest resettlement effort to focus on children at risk from the middle east and north Africa region—children who might otherwise attempt their own perilous journeys to Europe and the UK.”

 

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PENARTH’S FAIRFIELD SCHOOL COMES UNDER PRESSURE TO IMPROVE

Fairfield Primary School in Penarth

Fairfield Primary School in Penarth

Fairfield Primary School in Penarth is to have an individual “School Progress Panel” to improve its performance after the Vale of Glamorgan Council received a rap-over-the-knuckles from the Wales education watchdog Estyn.

Estyn found that found that the Labour-run Vale Council “should have taken a more direct approach in challenging performance” at Fairfield Primary school.

A report entitled ‘National Categorisation-outcomes for Vale schools’ recommended that  that so-called ‘progress panel meetings’ be conducted at Fairfield Primary in the wake of the criticism from Estyn.

The report said that although “many positive aspects” had been identified at Fairfield Primary and that performance at outcome 5+ was  good in the Foundation Phase, the performance at outcome 6+ was not.

Some of the major criticisms of teaching at Penarth's Fairfield Primary School

Some of the major criticisms of teaching at Penarth’s Fairfield Primary School

It said Fairfield was in “quarter 3 in all areas”  and that performance is lower than what it calls “the family average”. Fairfield was also placed “in Quarter 3 for English  and inQuarter 4 for both mathematics and science . This means, for CSI , the school is also Quarter 4.”

The report states that for English at level4+ and the CSI, performance has been in Quarter 3 or 4 for the past 3 years. This is also the case for science at level 5+.

In standard of reading – the report says – at key stage 2 Fairfield’s results were  below the family, the local authority and the all-Wales averages. It says “Although the gap is narrowing, the achievement of eFSM pupils  [ i.e. pupils who are eligible for Free School Meals]  is “inconsistent, with non eFSM pupils outperforming eFSM pupils in most areas across both key stages”.

Fairfield School - as seen from Penarth Heights

Fairfield School – as seen from Penarth Heights

The report also says that “The targets in the school development plan are not quantifiable and do not have clear success criteria that can be measured and evaluated effectively.”. It adds that “The school is successful in improving pupils’ outcomes in some areas but this is not consistent across the school as a whole.”

The Fairfield report also states that “Outcomes – in key stage 2 particularly – do not compare well with similar schools and there is no evidence of an improving trend in performance.”  The document says there is “excellent teaching found in some classes”  but it is “not consistent across the rest of the school.”

 

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WILD-FLOWERS ARE SOWN AT PENARTH’S DINGLE PARK

The newly sown seed bed for wildflowers at Dingle Park

The newly sown seed bed for wildflowers at Dingle Park (Photo Robert Donaldson)

Wildflowers have now been sown at Penarth’s Dingle Park – marking a  further development in the progress of what was once Penarth’s most neglected public park.

Over the last three years the energetic voluntary group “The Friends of Dingle Park” have carried out a considerable amount of work to improve the appearance of the park and have developed a strong working-relationship with the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Parks Department.

"Bee-friendly" signs have been ripped up and thrown into refuse containers

“Bee-friendly” signs have been ripped up and thrown into refuse containers

Countless little jobs have been carried out in the park –  ranging from the installation of  benches at the park to clearing litter . All these taken together –  have transformed the area – which is now a tranquil and attractive space even though sandwiched between Windsor Road and the railway track.

The appearance of the park is all the more remarkable considering that there is a continuing battle against local vandals .

Depressingly this month the vandals targeted the park’s recently-installed notice board and also up-rooted the “bee-friendly” signs in the park and deposited them in a refuse bin.

The Friends of Dingle Park may be mature citizens but they are, however, no pushover and immediately set out to rectify the damage.

For years the little park didn’t appear at all on the on local maps, but now the latest editions of the maps published by the Penarth Tourist and Visitor Association highlight the presence of the park as a pleasant alternative to the trudge along heavily trafficked Windsor Road

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