THE Vale council agrees to sell off St Paul's Church to a housing association in a bid to provide social housing and a community facility.

A report which went before cabinet on Monday (February 20) recommended the Vale council looks to sell off the land at St Paul's Church in Arcot Street to one of its four registered social housing landlords and that plans to demolish the building and build a new one or a conversion of the existing building would both be considered as part of the scheme.

The church has been left abandoned since 2011 after Penarth Amateur Boxing Club and Penarth Gymnastics Club were forced to leave the site due to health and safety concerns.

A recent council report said the reuse of the church was a key challenge in the next financial year.

Now the council appears set to sell the building off and there are a number of prospective bids from the council's four registered social landlords for the 999 year lease to create a "mixed use" scheme with housing and a community facility.

St Paul's Church Shared Fitness Space Community Interest Company submitted plans for a shared community fitness space including a gym, fitness studio, auditorium and cafe after the council appointed Savills estate agents to find a new occupier in October 2014.

But in December 2015 these plans were rejected by the church's project board because of the lack of a viable business case.

The Vale of Glamorgan Council owns the freehold interest of the property and is in discussions with United Welsh, Newydd, Hafod and Wales and West housing associations with the aim of providing affordable housing and a community facility by either retaining the existing building or through a regeneration project with a new building.

If one or more of them submits a viable bid for a mixed use scheme, the preferred bidder could be selected by the project board from this process during spring 2017 or soon after.

Marcus Goldsworthy, head of regenration and planning, said: "The Vale of Glamorgan Council has entered discussions with four local housing associations over a possible purchase of the St Paul’s Church property and site, with the aim of delivering a mixed-use development of affordable homes and community facilities.

“Those four organisations have been invited to put forward bids and outline their proposals for the site, and it is hoped the council will select its preferred option this spring.

"The successful bidder would have to consult the community on their scheme as part of the planning process."