AN APPLICATION by Penarth Town Council to take out a long-term lease of the Kymin – with a view to substantially upgrading the facilities – has been rejected.

The town council had applied to the Vale of Glamorgan Council for an asset transfer of the premises, which would have seen control passed over from the local authority to the town council for a 99 year period.

The decision to turn down the application was confirmed at a meeting of the Vale council cabinet late last month, after a recommendation from the Community Asset Transfer (CAT) working group.

The town council's application was roundly criticised by the group, who cited a lack of consultation with local people, limited research and vague costings as being behind their recommendation.

Town councillors have however criticised the decision, and disputed the legitimacy of the working group's reasonings.

Penarth Town Council submitted an expression of interest to the Vale last March and made reference to their plans for the Kymin when announcing a rise in the Council Tax precept earlier this year.

Councillors are understood to have held discussions regarding the application behind closed doors, with journalists and members of the public having been excluded from segments of council meetings over the past several months.

After their expression of interest, the town council were invited to submit a full business plan to the Vale for consideration.

In their findings, the working group's report said that: "there appeared to have been no full consultation undertaken in order to inform the development of the business plan.

"There was no further information on how the public/organisations had been consulted since the stage one application had been received and considered.

"The financial element of the proposal was identified as having insufficient detail to demonstrate the sustainable operation of the asset.

"The CAT Working Group also concluded that the application was light in overall detail, including the level of research being undertaken to develop the business plan."

The group also said the Kymin was regarded as an important strategic asset for the Vale council, and that it would be premature to give it up while its future role under the local authority is currently being reviewed.

Cllrs Kathryn McCaffer and Ben Gray requested the working group allow Penarth Town Council the opportunity to submit their full plans to cabinet, arguing that holding a public consultation at such an early stage would not have been in the public's best interests.

Cllr McCaffer told the group: "While I appreciate the position of the Vale council, I think that to reject the CAT on the grounds of lack of consultation is unreasonable.

"Should the applicant have gone to public consultation and the CAT had been widely accepted and welcomed by the people of Penarth, to then have the CAT rejected would have reflected negatively on the Vale council and on the applicant."

A spokesman for Penarth Town Council said: “Penarth Town Council is disappointed that the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s cabinet has resolved to not transfer the Kymin House and grounds to the town council and people of Penarth. 

Plans to do so have been in the public domain since December 2016 when the town council issued its Aims, Visions and Objectives document and has subsequently highlighted its desire to manage the Kymin on a long term lease basis on a variety of occasions.

The town council has complied with the Vale Council’s CAT application process and requested a transfer based on the existing operational agreement between the two councils since 1982. Further proposed enhancement and development plans have been discussed and costed by Penarth Town Council and these plans were to be the subject of thorough community consultation events in the near future seeking residents’ approval prior to formally advising the Vale of Glamorgan Council of the proposal.

The Vale of Glamorgan Council’s recent announcement, that it intends to undertake a review of all strategic assets in the Vale and that this application was premature, was never made known to the town council at any point during the time this application has been outstanding.”