SOUTH Wales Central AM Andrew RT Davies has accused the Vale Council of “ignoring the wishes of residents” after it emerged that the cabinet have been in discussions over the possibility of demolishing St Paul’s Church – long time home of Penarth Amateur Boxing Club.
During a community cabinet meeting held in Penarth last month Councillor Gwyn John, of Llantwit First Independents, said that dealing with the future use of the site had been a "headache" for councillors and that in his opinion the better option would be to demolish the former church and rebuild it.
The former church, on Arcot Street, is now set to be marketed for community and recreational uses with third parties invited to submit business proposals, after the Vale Council failed to reach an agreement for its renovation with Penarth Amateur Boxing Club and Penarth Gymnastics Club.
Mr Davies, who last month met with Penarth Boxing Club, said: “This is wholly unacceptable. Last year the council held a public vote on the future of the church with residents overwhelmingly backing a long term future for the gym and boxing club.
“It now seems as though the council’s dithering over making a decision has allowed them a convenient way to earmark it for demolition and development.
“In 2011 the renovation costs would have been a fraction of what they are now, and there remain questions over the use of local section 106 money from the Penarth Heights development.
“The boxing club has been put in an impossible position. They were asked to submit a business proposal to the council but not told how much rent they would have to pay. How can any business, never mind one reliant upon the dedication of volunteers, put together a sound financial plan when they don’t know what their single largest outgoing will be?
“Sadly the options look limited, particularly given the intransigence of the Vale cabinet, but I remain hopeful that an arrangement can be made to secure the long term future of the boxing club at St Paul’s Church.”