Penarth sports clubs urge Vale of Glamorgan Council to "stop dragging its feet" over St Paul's Church
11:24am Wednesday 11th September 2013 in Penarth news
PENARTH Amateur Boxing Club and Penarth Gymnastics Club have urged the Vale of Glamorgan to “stop dragging its feet” carrying out renovation work to St Paul’s Church, before it is too late once and for all.
The two clubs were given a huge boost in May when 62 per cent of residents voted for the vacant building to become their permanent home in a public consultation.
But there has been no development since, and representatives of the clubs – both of whom have produced Welsh and British champions – say they are none the wiser about the future of the dilapidated Arcot Street site.
Boxing club coach Neil Munn said: “Our chairman has been asking them what is going on but so far we have had no response.
“Residents keep asking me when are you moving back in? But I have nothing to tell them.”
Both clubs have endured a rollercoaster ride since the boxer's were ousted from the dilapidated site – their home of 36 years – by the local authority, on health and safety grounds in February 2011.
It left them homeless and the gym club, who had also hoped to relocate there, paying huge rates at an industrial factory in Barry.
Former Olympian and gym club owner Gwynedd Lingard said she was concerned the cost of repairing St Paul’s, which is owned by the council, may exceed the amount the local authority will invest.
“The Vale’s original estimate for the work was £1.5million but the last I heard they were offering £250,000,” she said. “They know it will not be enough.”
“We had the money to contribute to the renovation, but hiring the factory has left us in a difficult position and the situation has dragged on far too long.”
“God knows what state the church is in after such a harsh winter this last year too.”
St Augustine’s Ward Councillor Michael Cuddy said: “The building will be allocated a certain amount of money, but will it be enough? I doubt it.”
In a letter to the Penarth Times earlier this year, boxing club chairman Kevin Seal, accused the Vale Council of letting both clubs and residents down “monumentally”.
“It’s time they woke up and listened to the community they say they serve,” he said.
Director of development services at the Vale Council, Rob Thomas, said: “The council is currently considering the options open to it in terms of achieving the best means of refurbishing the premises to a condition that is sustainable, makes it useable and an asset that the community can be proud of.
“To this end, Cabinet will in due course receive a further report providing options as to how this aspiration can become a reality. It is anticipated that a report will be presented in the next six weeks.”