THE many local residents of St Augustine's Ward in Penarth who voted in favour of allowing the amateur boxing and gym clubs to use the old St Paul's Church may be wondering if the Vale Council have been behaving in a fair, open and helpful manner toward the clubs.
After the favourable referendum result was announced, I clearly heard a councillor say "They gave us the wrong answer".
Was it an unequal contest from the start ? I don't know whether boxing and a gym in this old building is a good idea; Nick Chandler has campaigned ceaselessly for a home for two clubs which provide a worthwhile outlet for young people, but being realistic - if the two clubs were to use an old church which has been condemned as unsafe, who would really pay for the continued upkeep?
Part of it has permanent scaffolding propping up a side wall. An indeterminate tenancy would leave the Vale Council ultimately responsible for an old crumbling eyesore, whose "footprint" doesn't use the available site space well; the large gap between buildings and rear boundary is constantly filled with dumped rubbish which council workmen refused to remove while I was there, claiming rats and syringes were present.
The alternative is presumably to demolish the building and allow developers (several have expressed an interest ) to build flats, so the sale of the ground - owned, I believe by the council - would raise much-needed revenue, plus the future council taxes which would accrue in this now gentrified "Penarth Heights" area. But last week's front-page Penarth Times article didn't mention even the slightest suggestion from the council of an alternative home to the clubs - couldn't a small portion of the revenue from the eventual sale of the site be used to help? (Don't hold your breath lads!)