Vale council tries to clarify Penarth Esplanade consultancy

THE Vale of Glamorgan Council has responded to claims that a consultancy around outdoor seating at the Esplanade is too vague.

The Esplanade is currently undergoing a consultancy period which was directly caused by the debate surrounding outdoor seating on the road.

A month to month license for the three businesses that currently have seating on the highway was granted on July 1.

The consultancy was welcomed by many as the seating had become a divisive issue, while others saw it as an opportunity to make improvements to the Esplanade as a whole.

However, some were critical that the consultancy was too vague.

The exact details of when and how members of the public can engage with the council on this issue is still unclear, but the council say that these will be released soon.

Cllr Mark Wilson, cabinet member for neighbourhood and building services, said: “The council will shortly launch its engagement campaign to seek the views of the public, businesses and other sectors on a vision for the future of Penarth Esplanade.

“This will involve a broad programme of engagement to reflect the significance of this issue to the town and our wish to gather as many views as possible.

“Interested parties will be able to share their opinion in a number of different ways, including both online and at in-person events, and we will announce more details on this very soon.

“Opinions will be sought on a range of matters relating to the Esplanade, including events, the future of outdoor trading, transport links, traffic management, use of the beach and other resources, management and conservation of the local environment and possible changes to the public realm.

“The council’s officers were in contact with the three businesses on the Esplanade who had Outdoor Trading Licences on the carriageway and they would have been informed directly of the council’s decision to grant them month to month trading licences from 1st July 2022, whilst a wider public consultation was undertaken on the future operating arrangements at this location.

“It should be noted that the suggestion that a full public consultation exercise would be undertaken on the Esplanade was publicly available information via the Council’s Cabinet meeting papers, published on the council’s website on Friday, June 17. Cabinet subsequently agreed to undertake the consultation at its meeting on June 21.”

Another complaint about the council’s conduct regarding the Esplanade came from Huw Pickford, owner of Pickford’s Galley and Bar with Rooms, who said he had not been consulted before the consultancy period was announced.

Mr Pickford said he was outright refused the same trading licence as the three businesses on the Esplanade that have seating on the highway.

Cllr Wilson said: “The Council has been in direct email contact with Mr Pickford on this issue in response to recent e mails received requesting the use of parking spaces on the Esplanade for outside trading.

“It was explained that we would not agree to any additional trading licences on the carriageway at the Esplanade until the consultation process had been completed and the responses considered.

“Mr Pickford was however advised that we would be happy to consider a licence for his business to place tables and chairs on the footway in the interim.”

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