Penarth Boxing and Gymnastics Club

I FEEL compelled to write, yet again, to express my concern and opinions regarding the appalling treatment being meted out by the Vale of Glamorgan Council to both Penarth Boxing and Gymnastic Clubs in their combined efforts to resolve the promised (so far failed) relocation to a refurbished St Paul's Church.

Having attended, with representatives of both clubs, a meeting at the council offices at which an offer was tabled verbally and then confirmed in a letter dated November 7. This offer is however subject to contract and Cabinet approval.

The letter contains eight conditions which the clubs must comply with before any further progress is made. I list below some of these conditions, to show how ludicrous and difficult the position both clubs now find themselves in achieving what was originally a simple promise given two and a half years ago when the building was closed.

a) New leases will be drawn up for the clubs to agree and sign. No details of these leases are provided and so the clubs are not able to determine their fate in this respect

b) They are required to confirm that they will be able to pay a rental for the facility and yet no rental has yet been determined by the Vale council's Estates department.

c) The clubs to provide an updated cost schedule compiled by a qualified quantity surveyor. This will incur a not insignificant cost to both clubs.

d) Written evidence is to be provided from funders that any additional funding required to refurbish the property would be available. The additional funding would be the responsibility of the clubs.

e) Written confirmation that the clubs accept that they would be responsible for the full repair and maintenance of the property once the refurbishment is completed. The Vale council retain ownership of the building.

d) A detailed joint business plan be submitted to the council. This is demanded, despite there being no information available on rental levels or lease conditions.

This offer letter effectively turns the whole issue of St Paul's Church on its head and now removes all responsibility for the refurbishment and ongoing upkeep of St Paul's Church from the Vale council to the clubs. This is not under any circumstances the substance of the original promises made and neither does it reflect the agreements both clubs have/had with the council. Both clubs are run by volunteers and on a not for profit basis.

I would remind the councillors and officers, in case they had forgotten, that St Paul's Church is their building and they have allowed it, over many years, to deteriorate to its current condition. Also funding for the repairs etc to the building can be made available from the £800k being earned from the Billybanks 106 agreement, not the ratepayers of Penarth.

The survey commissioned in January this year by Cllr Burnett showed a categoric and overwhelming support for both clubs to be rehoused at St Paul's Church, but not under the conditions now being imposed on them.

The clubs are currently considering the implications of this recent offer but I have a dread that it tolls the death knell of both these valued institutions. Both are of great value to our community and it appears that the council are hell bent on terminating their existence. Shame on you all.

Nick Chandler

Via email

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