FRIENDS of Cosmeston Medieval Village held their first public meeting – and pledged to set up a registered charity to operate activities at the village.

Held on May 16 at the Lower Penarth Community Centre on Brockhill Way, around 40 people attended, including archaeologists, living history enthusiasts, local residents and newly elected councillors.

The meeting, organised by archeologist Karl-James Langford, campaigner Valerie Poole, and councillors Tracey Alexander and Mark Wilson, saw a steering committee established to run the charity.

Karl-James Langford, a senior archeologist with Archaeology Cymru, said the ultimate aim was to lease the village from the Vale Council and get visitors to return to the increasingly desolate site.

"We hope to operate activities at Cosmeston Medieval Village in the future, and work towards the long-term future at the site," he said.

"The site is a national resource that needs to be safeguarded. It needs to get back to the breathing entity it was in the 1980s.

"I really believe that with a decent business plan, a few key changes and a couple of full time staff flanked by volunteers, we can do it.

"For me the Village has to be fun, and must offer more than it is at the moment," he added.

"But it will be a struggle and it will take time."

The Vale Council's Scrutiny Committee recently recommended a feasibility study be carried out to consider the future of the village.

It followed a protest outside the Civic Offices in Barry by demonstrators, who highlighted their unhappiness at changes implemented at the Village in January, which included removing all living-history actors and animals.

The local authority estimates this will save at least £50,000 per year but 2,500 people signed petitions against the decision.

The final decision on the recommendation will be made by Cabinet.

The Friends of Cosmeston Medieval Village steering commitee are due to meet again this week.