Future of clubs at risk
10:41am Thursday 1st November 2012 in Letters
This letter is written following recent articles relating to St Paul’s Church, Penarth.
Having read the recent articles, particularly that printed on October 18, I feel sufficiently enthused to add my own experiences on the fiasco that has taken place, and continues to do so, relating to St Paul’s Church and the potential fate of both Penarth Gymnastic Club and Penarth Boxing Club.
I became involved following a request by Gwynedd Lingard back in April 2011, to assist in dealing with the local council after they had closed the Church on health and safety grounds. This resulted in the eviction of the boxing club and jeopardised the previously agreed move of the gym club from Penarth Pavilion to the church.
After a number of meetings an initial feasibility report – commissioned by the two clubs and provided by Arup – I was asked to provide cost advice following an estimate issued by the Vale of Glamorgan.
Our numbers were widely adrift, mine being more realistic and backed by actual quotations obtained by bona fide contractors/subcontractors. A detailed cost appraisal was provided for their consideration.
Following further meetings, over several months, the building continued to deteriorate and very little progress was made.
The Vale then commissioned their own expert report which was provided by renowned local architects, Austin Smith Lord.
I assisted ASL in the provision of the report which was issued in December 2011.
This report provided three options and costings, the first of which suggested a figure of £220,000 for “essential works”.
This cost effectively dealt with the fabric of the building and essentially bringing it back to a fit state and therefore available for use.
The other two costings dealt with different degrees of improvements to the building and was essentially a “shopping list”.
The report said: “The building as it currently stands is at severe risk of major deterioration within the next year or two, especially over the winters”.
But we have now had two further winters and a severe summer to boot.
This warning is repeated elsewhere in the report.
However no works have been carried out to the fabric of the building despite the warnings contained in the ASL report.
This work could and should have been carried out irrespective of the final use of the building.
Why commission a report, at some cost no doubt, if you are not going to act on it’s findings?
Following the report and a further meeting with the Vale Council, it was agreed in the Cabinet meeting of February 29, 2012, that £250,000 be included in the 2012/2013 Capital Programme to allow occupation by the gym and boxing clubs. This commitment has now apparently been dismissed and binned.
How can a Cabinet decision be removed once the item is agreed and documented?
This expenditure would have secured and protected the building together with the future of both clubs.
Now, through the political tactics being employed, the future of both clubs is at risk.
Those involved in this decision should hang their heads in shame.
This whole affair is a total disgrace and an insult to the clubs, both of which have a fine history and track record in assisting young kids of Penarth and the surrounding areas.
I despair for their future and that of St Paul’s Church.
Nick Chandler, Local surveyor.