EKF’s HQ is at Avon House, in Stanwell Road Penarth

The Penarth-based  medical  company EKF Diagnostics PLC reports revenues of £41,600,000  and the firm says it’s confident of steady and sustainable growth.

The firm has closed a manufacturing plant in Poland to ramp up efficiency and is now concentrating on 7 main  locations rather than the previous 12.

EKF’s main production base is to be in Barleben, Germany.

Chief executive Julian Baines, says “Cash generation has once again been very strong, with net cash growing from £2.2m to £7.0m during the year, despite spending £1.4m on capital expenditure and £1.5m on the cancellation of share options.”

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Checkpoint Penarth: Cyclists normally put up with the frequent closures of the bascule bridges – but yesterday some lost their rag when they heard the locks could not be traversed for most of yesterday – because of essential maintenance (PDN file photo)

It’s emerged that there were angry scenes at Cardiff Bay Barrage yesterday as cyclists  – and some pedestrians – allegedly berated  safety officials who were stationed to stop members of the public attempting to cross the three lock bridges between Penarth and Cardiff .

Cardiff Harbour Authority had already extensively publicised the scheduled closure of the locks and had issued statements to a variety of media to say that it would not be possible to cross the barrage for 2 days [ yesterday (Tuesday March 13) and today )] whilst essential maintenance work was in progress.

Clearly however, a number of cyclists and barrage-walkers had not got the message about the planned closure.

One of the Cardiff Harbour Authority safety marshalls who had to bear the brunt of heated complaints from cyclists and walkers yesterday (Photo John Clark)

They vented their combined anger on Cardiff Harbour employees whose responsibility it was to ensure members of the public were safe and didn’t attempt to cross whilst major maintenance works were in progress .

Cardiff Harbour Authority has confirmed that there had been “several incidents where a number of people were unhappy and had been unaware of the closure  – and unhappy they had to change their plans ” . Some had  “vented their frustrations”.

The Authority says that personnel acting as stewards on barrage were “used to getting a little bit of abuse” when the barrage had to be closed in such situations  – and were accustomed to such “altercations”.

A huge steel component is craned into position in yesterday’s vital Cardiff Bay Barrage Locks maintenance work (Photo John Clark)

The scheduled work had already been deferred from last week and the revised closure dates had been extensively re-advertised.

In the event all the work was  completed well within one working day and the barrage was open as per normal for all users today (Wednesday March 14th).

The huge mobile crane helped get two days’ work completed on the barrage within just one (Photo John Clark)

The work involved maintenance of the bascule bridges and extensive repairs and replacement of the huge and heavy lock-gates and their neoprene seals

One source said that cyclists or walkers heading from Penarth to Cardiff didn’t want to back and climb-up the fearsomely-steep  Dock Hill, whilst cyclists and walkers from Cardiff to Penarth who had pedalled almost all the way to Penarth objected to having to turn around and go back to Cardiff .

With the Barrage Locks out of bounds most of yesterday there were only two choices left – go the long way around or take a boat – like the excursion vessel “Daffodil” (Photo John Clark)

Some would-be commuters decided to hop aboard local boats like Daffodil and Lady Helen – but it was uneconomical to provide such a service throughout the day for a relatively small number of passengers.

The original closure had originally been arranged for last week but had to be rescheduled for this week. Public information signs had been displayed days in advance at each end of the barrage and information had also been given out  on social media channels and on the Cardiff Council website .

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Sainsbury’s Penarth store yesterday morning. Several shoppers gave fresh food to a “beggar” who then dumped their generous donations at the roadside

It’s understood that yesterday dozens of people gave cash and generous donations of fresh food to a man  posing as a  “beggar” outside Sainsbury’s store in Windsor Road Penarth.

Some of the dumped fresh food dumped by the “Beggar ” who was soliciting donations in Windsor Road yesterday photographed by a PDN reader (Photo NW)

Later in the day most – possibly all – of the food he had given was found dumped in a bag near a waste bin outside Barclays Bank

Amongst the food items donated were “meal deals“, fresh fruit and even a portion of wrapped fish and chips – all of which were left untouched.

Some of the donors actually went to the trouble of buying food items specially for the “beggar”.

The pavement outside Sainsbury’s is regularly used a pitch by itinerant “musicians “ and  even fake “sand artists” all of whom solicit for money.

There were no police  officers to be seen in Windsor Road yesterday but there was a yellow-jacketed parking enforcement officer on duty who is employed as part of the joint arrangements between the Vale of Glamorgan and Bridgend County Borough Council .


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Killer armour: A giant rock-armour sea wall similar to that planned for Swansea would enclose the massive lagoon. The lagoon turbines would kill up to 25% of fish stocks every year according to Natural Resources Wales.

Another nail was  knocked into the coffin of the controversial Swansea Bay Tidal Barrage scheme in the House of Commons by Energy Minister Greg Clark yesterday.

Mr Clark has now revealed that the Swansea Tidal Lagoon – if built – would turn out to be MORE THAN TWICE AS EXPENSIVE as the new nuclear power station being built at Hinkley Point – on the opposite side of the Bristol Channel to Penarth.

Oops! There a Freudian slip coming. UK Energy Minister Greg Clark – perhaps inadvertently –   referred to the Swansea Lagoon in the past tense … as if it was already a dead duck.

Replying to Albert Owen (Labour MP for Anglesey) Mr Clark said “I share the hon. Gentleman’s enthusiasm for green energy, as he knows, and I am proud of our achievements. Since 2010, we have quadrupled the proportion of our electricity that comes from renewable sources. However, as the hon. Gentleman understands from being on the Select Committee, we also have a responsibility to minimise the impact on consumers’ bills. The Swansea proposal was very much more expensive—more than twice as expensive—as the Hinkley nuclear power station, for example. As I said, though, we are in discussions with our colleagues in the Welsh Government. I do not want to close the door on something if it is possible to find a way to justify it as being affordable to consumers.”

The Cardiff/ Penarth Tidal Lagoon and its 90 generating turbines would be built directly in front of Penarth Pier and Penarth Esplanade.

Mr Clark’s statement not only appears to scupper the Swansea Lagoon – but also pours cold sea water on the proposals to build a much larger power-generating lagoon off Penarth and Cardiff.

The controversial Cardiff Lagoon would be so big it would – in effect build a 50 foot high concrete curtain across the entire sea-front of Penarth from Cardiff Docks, past Penarth Pier and beyond Cliff Walk – thus wrecking the view from Penarth Esplanade and Penarth Pier.




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The familiar chaotic scenes outside the Emergency Unit at the Ubniversity Hospital at the Heath in Cardiff – which comes under the Cardiff and Vale Health Board and ultimately under Labour Health Minister Vaughan Gething – AM for Cardiff South and Penarth

The Welsh Labour Government, notorious for having slashed spending on the NHS in Wales, is now struggling to explain the latest scandal  – a 10-hour  ambulance wait suffered by a Vale of Glamorgan pensioner  who was lying in agony on the floor of her home last Sunday with a broken hip.

Health Minister Vaughan Gething (Labour AM for Cardiff South and Penarth) is in overall charge of the NHS in Wales –

The Welsh Labour Health Minister – in charge of the NHS in Wales – is the beleagurered Vaughan Gething – AM for Cardiff South and Penarth

The story of the injured pensioner (who despite the pleas of her family wasn’t taken to hospital until the following morning)  emerged in yesterday’s questions to the First Minister Carwyn Jones.

The First Minister  was challenged about the case by  Conservative Leader Andrew RT Davies (Conservative South Wales Central – which includes Penarth).

Conservative Leader Andrew R T Davies (Conservative South Wales Central which includes Penarth) asks Labour First Minister Carwyn Jones about the “extreme waits” suffered by patients in the Labour run NHS in Wales

Mr Davies raised the issue of what he called “extreme waits” for ambulances which have endured by Welsh NHS patients.He quoted examples of  “a gentleman in Dinas Powys, who waited 16 hours to receive an ambulance” , a Swansea woman whose ambulance turned up 20 hours late and – on Sunday –  a lady in Cowbridge lying on the floor of her home with a broken hip for “ten and a half hours” .

First Minister Carwyn Jones was asked by Mr Davies “What measures are you putting in place to address those deeply distressing wait times that families, patients and, indeed, the paramedics and operators of the ambulance service have to deal with?

AMs found other things on their lap-tops to claim their attention whilst First Minister Carwyn Jones attempted to respond to questions about the  latest ambulance delays

Labour AMs quickly became pre-occupied with whatever was on the lap-top screens  as Carwyn Jones made the cringe-worthy statement-of-the-obvious that – when there were ambulance delays –  “there will be occasions where some people are affected adversely” . He  went on to say such cases needed to be looked at very carefully and investigated, and “lessons learned” from such examples.

Carwyn Jones  then however then however appeared to blame NHS doctors for the delays by saying the ambulance response times model was devised by clinicians. It is designed to ensure that those who are most in need of an ambulance get an ambulance.” and  went on to claim that “ ambulance response times have improved greatly over the past few months”.

During the exchange the Welsh Labour Government Health Minister Vaughan Gething remained in his front-bench seat.

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The 140 year old Andrew Road railway bridge is much wider than it looks

Andrew Road, Cogan has been partially closed to traffic today to allow a railway bridge safety-inspection to be carried out.

It’s still possible to drive to – and park at –  Penarth Leisure Centre and Cogan Station – but the remainder of the road is closed to vehicles – although it is still open to pedestrians.

A series of iron girders support the track bed above – most of the ironwork is encased in  original vaulted Victorian brickwork

Contractors working for Network Rail are carrying out a periodic routine inspection of the Victorian railway bridge.

The bridge is 140 years old and carries  two rail tracks which cross over Andrew Road diagonally – and therefore require a much wider bridge structure than would otherwise be the case .

Most – perhaps all – of the bridge’s iron girders are the original ones. Apart from the two outer girders, the remainder of the girders spanning the road are encased in a series of vaulted Victorian brick arches and can’t be easily checked.

A brick has been removed to expose the ironwork beneath. About a ten similar inspection points will be examined

The only way of testing the safety of the structure is to remove several sample bricks at set points so as to examine the iron which lies within the brickwork .

The work is expected to take the remainder of the day




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A discerning property-hunter checking-out a rooftop in the serendipitously-named  Byrd Crescent as a potential new home (Photo Anon)

With the sun shining and Spring in the air it seems that property-hunters – of all species – are out and about in Peanrth searching for a suitable new homes.

Finding just the right new nesting place however isn’t easy ….somewhere quiet, away from a lot of hustle and bustle and with the countryside at the doorstep.

For this potential parent-to-be though, the choice was made all the easier by the appealing  address ….Byrd Crescent.

Property hunters have always got to be ready to see off the competition from rivals (Photo Anon)

It seems the heron wasn’t alone in falling for the appeal of this tranquil corner of Penarth:    plenty  of other birds were also checking-out the ‘hood.

But the home-hunting heron was  ready to see off any rivals – or come to that – squatters.

…and now better let my partner know I’ve left a deposit on the property

…And if you’re a heron, summoning up a deposit is never a problem.

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