"Somebdoy please get a grip" - letter criticises 'farce' of St Paul's Church situation
10:19am Thursday 19th September 2013 in Letters
HAVING read the front page article regarding the ongoing farce that relates to the reinstatement of St Paul's Church (Penarth Times, September 12), I need to add my own comments to the statement made by Rob Thomas.
I presume that he has access to the Vale's files on this building, which should contain a very detailed report compiled by Austin Smith Lord (architects) which very clearly sets out their recommendations and budget costings on what needs to be, urgently, done to protect the condition of the structure.
It also provides specifications and proposals for bringing the building back into use. This report was commissioned by the Vale Council (at significant cost) and was published in December 2011 and was in my opinion an excellent submission, even if I did challenge much of the costs included therein.
The most critical part of this report refers to the urgency of immediate repairs to the external envelope of the building. I quote from this report - ''The building as it stands, is at severe risk of major deterioration within the next year or two, especially over the winters.''
This observation was also included in the initial study carried out by Arup back in May 2011.
Why is Rob Thomas now preparing a further report for Cabinet, when the ASL report was considered by the same Cabinet in their meeting of February 29, 2012, and a decision was made to spend £250,000 on the building.
This decision was made based on the recommendations of the ASL report. Nothing has changed since then, other than further deterioration of the structure, so why not just get on with securing the building and making it weather tight and waterproof without further delay.
If Councillors Burnett and Roberts had not interfered with the previously agreed Cabinet proposal, the building could be weather protected by now and work to rehouse both clubs would be well advanced.
It appears the councillors and officers have all been sitting on their hands despite an overwhelming vote of confidence being given by the residents for the building to be handed back to both clubs. Crest Nicholson, I gather, also support the venture.
This whole debacle is a disgrace and appears to be more about the posturing of elected members and has had very little to do with the people of Penarth and their wishes. As I have quoted in previous letters, the boxing and gym clubs were both given categorical promises that they would both be rehoused in a refurbished St Paul's Church.
Both clubs are now in a state of financial uncertainty which could well affect their future existence. I would repeat the closing comment of my letter of January 31, 2013 - somebody please get a grip.