THE Flat Holm Society is planning to present a proposal to take over the running of the local landmark off the Penarth coast after Cardiff County Council announced it no longer has the budget to support it.

The society, chaired by Barry resident Glynis Parsons, had launched an online petition to ensure Flat Holm Island remains accessible to the public after Cardiff Council said it was considering selling it under money-saving plans.

In its draft budget the Labour-run council had proposed the 86-acre island be “disposed of to a third party” as part of cost cutting measures to save £22m in 2013-14.

More than 3,000 people responded by signing the petition to save it within a week, which the society called “overwhelming” in a post on its website.

They met last Thursday to discuss plans to create a trust to run the island which boasts its own pub, two helipads, a 110ft grade II listed lighthouse and a rich history involving monks, cholera victims and soldiers.

And they were boosted when a spokesperson for Wales’ biggest council said on Monday: “The council is not considering selling the island at present.”

The spokesperson said the official budget would be announced on February 28.

“If the council meeting on February 28 confirms a large reduction in budget to support Flat Holm then it is likely that alternative options for the management and operation of the island will be explored,” they added.

“In these circumstances expressions of interest are likely to be sought from interested bodies and organisations and any received will be fully considered before a decision on the future of the island would be made.”

The society will present a business plan for taking over ownership of Flat Holm to councillors ahead of the budget meeting.

Society chair Glynis said they will meet on Monday, February 18, to discuss the possibility of forming a partnership with a national organisation like RSPB to help them financially.

“If the council does choose to dispose of the island it is very important that it falls into the hands of suitable custodians to protect and preserve it for future generations,” she said.

“If the island were to fall into the wrong hands we would lose not only a very important conservation area but a valuable environmental learning resource for young people and community groups in Cardiff and the surrounding areas.

“The effect a couple of nights on the island has on children, for example, is amazing.

The island team really get the kids exploring the natural environment, they also focus on getting the children to think about their energy and water usage.

“We are quite sure that Cardiff is the only city in the UK with an island resource like this on its doorstep and it would be a terrible shame if it were lost completely.

“That said, I’m not sure it was ever their intention to sell it.

“I think the furore around it was caused more by unfortunate wording than anything else.”

Cardiff council has maintained the island, which attracts thousand of visitors each year, for over a century but said recently that tourist demand for Flat Holm is highly concentrated in the summer summer months and is insufficient to cover the operating costs of the facility.

If put up for sale, estate agent Chris Hyde, who handled the sale of Sully Island on behalf of Cook and Arkwright, said Flat Holm would likely become one of the most exclusive home addresses in Wales.

“If it were to come to market I think it would be an extremely desirable property,” he added.

“The interest will be worldwide.”

The public are invited to make their feelings known about the budget by completing Cardiff council’s survey.

It can be found at Island future is scrutinised

 Flatholm facts

● The Flat Holm Society online petition can be signed at

● For more information on the Flat Holm Society and the campaign see Save Flat Holm Island Facebook page or the website

● Flat Holm Island is most famous as the place from which the inventor Guglielmo Marconi transmitted the first wireless signals over open sea to the Welsh hamlet of Lavernock.

● It is home to the most southerly pub in Wales – the Gull and Leek – which opened last year.

● Today it’s a site of special scientific interest thanks to its huge gull colony and maritime grassland, with its tranquil beauty attracting about 2,000 visitors a year.