VALE-based AM Andrew RT Davies has backed Penarth Amateur Boxing Club’s bid to move back into St Paul’s Church and has described the Vale Council’s negotiations with the club as “scandalous”.

Mr Davies, who represents South Wales Central, urged the council to “play fair” over a recent deadline to submit business proposals and said it should “give the people what they want”.

Andrew RT Davies met with the boxing club’s Neil Munn and Mark Roberts outside the disused St Paul’s Church, which the club were forced to leave on health and safety grounds three years ago, last week.

“The impact that this club has had on the local community over many years is plain to see and I only had to be outside the church with Neil for half an hour to witness the strong regard in which he and his club are held locally,” said Mr Davies.

“Ever since the club was shut by the Vale Council neighbours have seen an upsurge in graffiti, vandalism and incessant fly-tipping of rubbish.

“Residents voted overwhelmingly to see the boxing and gymnastics clubs remain at St Paul’s and it is high time the council accepted that and brought forward a fair and transparent proposal to give the people what they want.”

Mr Davies also described as “scandalous” the requirement imposed upon the clubs to submit a detailed business plan – whilst the council refused to provide a figure for the rent they planned to charge for the site.

“Section 106 money from the Penarth Heights development was promised to the clubs to refurbish the church so they could get back in and re-open,” he said.

“The council need to explain where that money is, and why repairs haven’t yet started.

“They should also work with these groups and revisit the February deadline that they imposed on the clubs to submit a business proposal.

“How any serious business can be expected to put forward a tangible business plan when the landlord refuses to disclose the rental costs is beyond me and rather suggests that they are not playing fair here.”