The derelict St Paul's Church as it looks now

The derelict St Paul’s Church as it looks now

A plan to renovate the derelict St Paul’s Church in Arcot Street has been rejected by the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s project board after a year of delays.

Dr Paul Williams is one of the directors of "ST.PS"

Dr Paul Williams is one of the directors of “ST.PS”

In January 2015 a group, called “St Paul’s Shared Fitness Space CIC”  [“CIC” stands for “Community Interest Company“], led by Penarth-based general practitioner and sports-medicine expert Dr Paul Williams  had put forward  ambitious proposals for turning St Paul’s into  “mixed-use community facility“.

However the group – a “social enterprise company”  failed to come up with an acceptable business plan.

The initial proposals by the group – who used the acronym “ST.PS”  – didn’t contain anything like enough  detailed business information for the council’s panel to decide whether it was likely to be a viable proposition.

The Vale  Council  demanded that the company provide set of finalised drawings and “more robust itemised cost estimates”  from a professional quantity surveyor within four months.

At the same time the council had warned that “due to the deteriorating condition of this property, any extension [beyond four months] will be subject to reasonable limits”. Now time has run out and the scheme is dead in the water

The original

A revised and more  detailed business plan was suibmitted but the council’s internal Project Group has now rejected it .

St Paul’s Church – the former HQ of Penarth Boxing and Gym Clubs – was originally bought by the old Penarth Urban District Council for £2,500 in 1967.

St Paul's Church was bought by the old Penarth District Council in 1987 for £2,500

St Paul’s Church was bought by the old Penarth District Council in 1967 for £2,500

It later was taken over by the South Glamorgan County Council  before being passed to the Vale of Glamorgan Council in 1996 .

In 2012 the Vale of Glamorgan Council had decided that £250,000 should be included in the Council’s “Capital Programme” so that the premises could be made suitable again for use by Penarth Gymnastics Club and Penarth Boxing Club. The money was to be recouped from the Section 106 funding from Crest Nicholson in respect of the Penarth Heights Development. But the Capital Programme money was never spent, the Crest Nicholson Section 106 funding was never called in. Nothing was done –  and the cash continues to be rolled forward in the council’s accounts –  year on year.

 Cllr Gwyn John (Llantwit First Independents)

The building comes under the control of the Vale Council’s so-called “Visible and Leisure Services Committee” which is represented on the Vale ‘cabinet’ by Cllr Gwyn John (Llantwit First Independents).

On March 24th 2014 Cllr John told a public meeting in the Paget Rooms in Penarth that St Paul’s Church was what he called  a huge headache that had been “dumped on the incoming Labour administration by the outgoing Conservative administration in 2012. He said then that the building was in such a poor state he recommended demolishing it and “starting again”.

[It is Cllr John ‘s party the Llantwit First Independents  which keeps  the Labour administration in the Vale of Glamorgan Council in power.]

The results of the Vale Council's public consultation

The outcome of a public consultation carried out in the St Augustine’s Ward of Penarth which voted for the building to be restored for the use of the Boxing and Gym Club has already been ignored by the Labour-controlled Vale of Glamorgan Council  .

The shell of the burned out Methodist Church before it was called "St Paul's"

The shell of the burned out Methodist Church before it was re-built and called “St Paul’s”

 St Paul’s Church in Arcot Street has a chequered history : –

  • 1863 : The building was originally erected in Arcot St as a Wesleyan Methodist Chapel
  • 1882:  The chapel was enlarged as congregations swelled.
  • 1905 : The chapel  caught fire and was gutted – leaving just the exterior walls standing. The Methodists decided not to re-build it and instead built the Albert Road Methodist Church as a replacement.
  • 1906: The chapel was re-built as a church by the Anglicans and named “St Paul’s” . The re-build lost several feet from the more elaborate finials and pinnacles on the front fascia of the building and chopped them down to roof height. The front window of the building was re-modelled and reduced in height – giving the structure its current awkward, ungainly and inelegant appearance.
  • 1940: It received bomb damage courtesy of the Luftwaffe
  • 1967:  Bought by Penarth Urban District Council for £2,500 – and then handed on to the South Glamorgan County Council and the Vale of Glamorgan County Council.


Now the Vale COuncil’s project board is “considering options” for the property. A total of £233,000 allocated to the project is being rolled forward into the Vale’s  2016/17 “Capital Programme”.


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  1. AK says:

    No return for Penarth Boxing Club, and Penarth Gymnastics Club who have both served the town with distinction over the decades and who have remained dignified throughout the whole debacle.

    I guess now the site will be flogged off by the Vale to the highest bidder, and become yet another block of flats.

    • David Moorcraft says:

      I think you’re right AK, “flogging it off” / getting shot of it seems to have been on the cards from the outset. But I lived nearby, and although some residents were against it, it’s now such an eyesore, beyond economic or rational saving, that selling it; with the proceeds going to Vale coffers, for flat or even traditional house development, plus the rates which would accrue, seems the least worst option. It’s quite a big piece of land.

    • snoggerdog says:

      mosque?think of the diversity!

  2. AK says:

    This is the same local authority which regularly takes action against, or criticises property owners who allow their assets to get dilapidated.

  3. Martin gossage says:

    What does “crest Nicholson monies never called in “mean ? Does this say that crest have not paid any 106 yet ? Much be a fair chunk of cash !

  4. Dizzydeb says:

    The councillors wanted to sell this from the outset. This beautiful old building will now make way for some hideous soleless block of flats, maybe they will paint them orange to match the crest boxes.

  5. Amahl Johnson says:

    Thanks to all the propagandists who stopped our bloody mosque. They should go and work at the BBC.

Comments are closed.