Vale Council accused of allowing former church to fall into 'rack and ruin'

FORMER CHURCH: The Vale Council has been accused of allowing St Paul's Church to fall into a 'very dangerous condition' (5027014)

DANGEROUS CONDITION: Scaffolding has been out up to try and preserve the building (5027175)

First published in News

PENARTH Amateur Boxing Club has expressed its frustration at dealing with the Vale Council and accused it of allowing St Paul’s Church to fall into 'rack and ruin'.

During a Vale Council cabinet meeting last week councillors said that it had been a “headache” dealing with the future of former church and raised the possibility of demolishing and rebuilding it.

The building is now set to be marketed for community and recreational uses after Penarth Amateur Boxing Club and Penarth Gymnastics Club failed to reach an agreement over the buildings renovation.

The Vale Council admitted that St Paul’s Church has “deteriorated” over the last three years, but said it was now looking forward to a “ sustainable and long term future for the site”.

Neil Munn, manager of Penarth Amateur Boxing Club, said that the Vale Council had allowed the building to fall into a “very dangerous condition” by failing to renovated the building in the three years since the boxing club was forced to vacate it on health and safety grounds.

He said that after they were forced to leave back in 2011 private evaluators said £250,000 would be “ample enough” to renovate the building, but as nothing has been done to the building since then it had been allowed to fall into “rack and ruin”.

He said that it would now cost more than £750,000 to restore it to a safe condition.

“They have been waiting for this building to go into ruin where it can’t be saved,” he said.

He added that the club had been left in “limbo” over negotiations and was unsure where they stood now that the council said it would be inviting third parties to bring forward proposals for the site.

He added that the club would struggle to come up with a business proposal as it was not a money making enterprise.

“We are not a money making business, all we are doing it for is the community,” he said.

He added that the club was considering resubmitting proposals with a developer that would see the former church partly developed for housing and a boxing facility, but it was unsure whether it would be successful or not.

Rob Thomas, director of development services at the Vale Council, said: “Last week, Cabinet considered a report that outlined a way forward for the re-use of the building for community purposes. Both clubs will have the opportunity to put forward proposals for bringing the building back into use and all those with an interest in putting forward proposals will be able to do so. It is recognised that the building has deteriorated but the council is awaiting a suitable proposal for a sustainable and long term future for the site."

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