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Regulars 'devastated' over plans to knock down Barry pub

Regulars at a Barry pub which could be demolished under council plans say they would be "devastated" if it closed.

Plans to end Brains Brewery's lease in the The Master Mariner pub in Gibbonsdown were revealed in a report to the council's ruling body this week.

Under the proposals, the pub would be knocked down and turned into affordable flats.

Brains Brewery has said it was supporting the current tenants of the pub while talks with the council take place, and the council said it would consider people's views.

But regulars at the Skomer's Road pub - who say the demolition of The Master Mariner would rip the heart out of their community - were rallying around their pub on Thursday, January 10.

Learning disability group Vale People First visit The Master Mariner every Thursday and Ros Brewer, integrated youth facilitator for the group, said it would be "devastating" if the pub were to close.

She said: "This pub is the heart of our community, it's not just a pub. For our guys in particular they come here and have a normal night at the pub that everyone else just takes for granted.

"They are accepted, they are treated like normal human beings, they're part of the community and to take this away would be terrible. You can't have a community where there's just houses - you need a heart of the community and this pub is it."

A report to Vale of Glamorgan council's cabinet set out possible options for the site if Brains surrenders its lease - including a development of 20 affordable flats, or a mixed-used building with a ground floor GP and pharmacy with affordable flats above.

On Monday, January 7, the cabinet deferred the decision on the pub to a future meeting.

Stacey Traylor, aged 21, who's a member and project officer of Vale People First, said she was "devastated" when she heard the pub was under threat.

She said: "This pub has actually changed people's lives, because if they didn't have this pub, they will be back in day cares. This pub has actually helped people with their ability to socialise and get their independence.

"(The group has been) upset, distraught, and feel like they have got nowhere else to go because this pub means so much to them."

Harry Stuckley, aged 22, from Barry, who is also a Vale People First member, said: "Councillors see this pub as an economic liability, which is basically judging a book by its cover.

Asked what effect demolishing the pub would have on the group, Harry said: "They would be devastated and they wouldn't have much of a place to hang out with their friends, and their lives would be more miserable and more boring."

Alex Stevenson, aged 24, from Barry, also a member of Vale People First, added: "I can't say there's anywhere better than the Master Mariner. They are absolutely fantastic towards the disabled community.

"It's a good socialising point for me and my peers so we all get to meet up on Thursday nights and also on other nights."

It was not just Vale People First showing support for the pub on Thursday, January 10 - dozens of pub regulars were there too.

Nathan Gill, aged 32, who lives in Barry Island, has been a regular at the pub since 2005 and has long family ties to the pub - he says his mum got married there.

He said: "It's a community hub. A lot of people have come in here in and out over the years. It did get shut down for a couple of years but it's now reopened and never a day has gone by when the pub hasn't opened since then.

"There's a lot more that goes on behind the doors that Brains don't see.

"It's got memories down the line, but I'm hoping we can save those memories as well.

"If they need to get rid of the building, can they not give us another building?"

The council report claimed the Master Mariner was closed for several months before reopening in the summer, providing a limited service under a temporary steward.

But Brains Brewery has said this is not the case - and confirmed the pub has been run consistently since 2005.

The council has admitted there were inaccuracies in the report.

A Vale of Glamorgan Council spokesman said: “The report presented to Cabinet on this subject has been deferred to a future meeting.

“We will take this opportunity to clarify SA Brain’s position regarding the Master Mariner’s lease and their plans for its future while also considering the views of local residents and other interested parties.”

A spokesman for SA Brain said: “We will continue to offer our full support to our partners who are currently operating the Master Mariner and as with all of our pubs are looking at all possible ways to develop our business going forward.

"In this case we lease the site from the council and naturally are keeping closely in touch with them.”


Two Barry schools are to get millions spent on completely rebuilding them

Two Barry schools which were due to be refurbished are now in line to be completely rebuilt.

Pencoedtre High School and St Nicholas Church in Wales School will both undergo total rebuilds instead of redevelopment if the vale of Glamorgan council's cabinet agree the plans at a meeting on Monday, January 7.

Cabinet backing would then need full council approval.

Pencoedtre, is an English medium school for pupils aged 11 to 18, which opened in September 2018 on the former Bryn Hafren site as part of schools reorganisation in Barry.

Two new schools for boys and girls replaced the former girls-school at Bryn Hafren and boys school Barry Comprehensive, becoming Pencoedtre and Whitmore High respectively.
St Nicholas Church in Wales Primary School pupils

Funding for the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s 21st Century Schools has risen to nearly £144m making the work possible.

Amending the 21st Century Schools programme to include a new build for Pencoedtre High will ensure equality across the two English-medium community schools and reduce the costs associated with maintaining the old building, a report going to cabinet says.

It will also mean less disruption to teaching and learning during the build process, the report says.

Under the proposals, the increased funding for Band B of the 21st Century Schools programme will also mean more children with additional learning needs can be accommodated at Ysgol y Deri in Penarth.

The extra cash also means there can be extensive further investment in primary schools across the county, with detailed plans to be revealed in the near future, the report adds.

The announcement comes just weeks after the council revealed plans for a new Welsh medium primary school for Barry Waterfront.
Where else has Welsh Government funding been spent?

The first phase of the 21st Century Schools programme in the Vale, known as Band A, saw £31m for six projects at Penarth Learning Community, Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg, Ysgol Gymraeg Gwaun Y Nant and Oak Field Primary School, Ysgol Gymraeg Dewi Sant, Llantwit Learning Community and Colcot Primary School.

Band B will see the level of investment rising from £142.4m to £143.9m after the Welsh Government committed more money to the project. They are set to contribute £84.5m million, with the Vale of Glamorgan Council making up the other £59.3m.

Welsh language secondary education will also benefit under Band B, with Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Morgannwg in Barry earmarked for extensive refurbishment and expansion.

This work is to cater for the rising number of pupils requiring secondary education in the Welsh language in the Barry area.

Cabinet member Cllr Bob Penrose said: “This increased funding should allow us to further expand what was already a far-reaching programme of investment aimed at transforming nursery, primary, secondary and faith education across the Vale.

“Subject to cabinet approval, Pencoedtre High School and St Nicholas Church in Wales School will now receive brand new buildings as part of this widespread series of improvement works.

“The county’s most vulnerable pupils will also receive greater provision as more money has been allocated to both Ysgol y Deri and the Centre for Learning and Wellbeing.

“The 21st Century Schools investment programme will make a significant difference to the educational experience of children throughout the county.

“Extensive improvements have already been made to a host of school buildings and that is set to continue on an even greater scale in this latest round of investment.”


Plans revealed for entertainment and business complex in Barry Waterfront

Plans for a new entertainment and business village in Barry Waterfront have been revealed.

Developer DS Properties wants to turn the historic 1880s railway Goods Shed in Hood Road into a space for 11 live work units, a restaurant and a technology hub or community workshop.

A village of up to 68 converted shipping containers would be set up for local businesses, which will accommodate users such as bars, restaurants, shops and other leisure uses.

The plans also include an events space, outdoor cinema, a farmers' market or pop-up street food area, a drive-thru coffee shop and a children's playground.

A five-storey apartment block comprising 23 affordable and 19 market units, with undercroft parking, would also be built on land east of the Goods Shed if planning permission is approved.

The scheme is the latest phase of the Innovation Quarter at Barry Waterfront, a regeneration joint venture between the Vale of Glamorgan Council and the Welsh Government.

It is hoped that the Goods Shed scheme will be completed in 2019.

A statement to the council by WYG says: "The proposed redevelopment of the Goods Shed site within Barry Waterfront to provide an innovative mixed use scheme comprising live-work, leisure, retail and community uses is policy compliant and both appropriate and acceptable."


Row breaks out over plans for major new road linking A48 and M4

The review group looking into a major new road linking the A48 to the M4 has been criticised.

The new road would run from junction 34 of the M4 to the Sycamore Cross junction of the A48.

Two possible routes have been identified: either to the east or west of the village of Pendoylan, in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Vale of Glamorgan Council hopes the new road will reduce journey times and congestion, but more than 1,500 people signed a petition set up by the Woodland Trust opposing the plans due to fears over the loss of ancient woodlands.

New road linking A48 to M4 will 'destroy six ancient woodlands'

Concerns have also been raised that the road would bring pollution within metres of Pendoylan Primary School.

Now, campaign group Vale Communities for Future Generations has criticised the review group looking into the route.

The review group, agreed by the council's cabinet in January, is made up of representatives of Vale of Glamorgan Council and relevant neighbouring councils, Welsh Government, Network Rail, rail operators, public transport operators, Sustrans, the Road Haulage Association, the Freight Transport Association, the NHS and representatives of three community councils.

A spokeswoman for Vale Communities for Future Generations said: "Clearly the only conclusion one can come to is that by deliberately excluding necessary expert opinion from the review group, the decision to proceed to the highly expensive third stage of the consultation process and ultimately to build the road has already been decided.

"This is not democracy. It is unfair manipulation of a fair consultation process to arrive at a predetermined decision.

"The report presented to the review group is being kept under wraps, so the seven-plus families who will lose their homes under the council's road plans, and the numerous others who have written to complain, will continue to be kept in the dark about why certain experts, necessary for a fair examination of the proposals but with possibly differing opinions to the council, were excluded from the review of consultation."

Both routes will, in places, be nine metres high and run alongside Pendoylan within metres of the conservation village, local homes and the village school, the campaigners say.

They also say the council is trying to avoid a delay to the proposals as it needs to request £1.5m from Welsh Government by the end of January for stage 3 of the Weltag consultation process.

The council says no decision has yet been made on the plans and "full consideration" will be given to all views expressed on the road plans.

A council spokesman said: "No decision has yet been made on whether to build a new road between junction 34 of the M4 and the Sycamore Cross junction of the A48, a project that could also include the creation of a parkway station at junction 34. Feedback from the consultation exercise is currently being processed and full consideration will be given to all views expressed.

"The council's cabinet will decide the next step for this project later in the year and it would be premature to comment further until all comments on the matter have been received, including those of the Review Group.

“The make-up of the review group was agreed by cabinet in January 2018 following scrutiny and includes professionals with expertise in the economy, built and natural environment, culture, health, community, road, active travel and public transport.

"Should the project progress to a detailed business case and design phase, the relevant consents and permissions would need to be secured.

"There would also need to be a great deal of further information gathering in respect of many environmental matters, including biodiversity, archaeology, community and regional impacts.”

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