The sun sets on the derelict St Paul's Church - now set to be demolished

The sun may soon be setting for the last time on the derelict St Paul’s Church

The derelict St Paul’s Church in Arcot St is now set to be demolished and the site cleared to build social-housing for rent.

The building is owned by the Vale of Glamorgan Council and was the former base of Penarth Boxing Club but had to be closed five years ago for “health and safety” reasons even though the former Vale Conservative administration had allocated a budget of £250,000 for the refurbishment of the building.

Boxing Club training Neil Munn shows Assembly Member Andrew R T Davies the rubbish being continually dumped at the rear of St Paul's

Boxing Club training Neil Munn shows Penarth Assembly Member Andrew R T Davies the rubbish being continually dumped at the rear of St Paul’s.

Since Labour took control of the Vale Council in 2012,  the shut-down building has continued to deteriorate, attracting rubbish, fly-tipping and rats and creating considerable problems for local residents.

The Vale Labour administration ignored Penarth public opinion and rejected the results of a public postal referendum held in the St Augustines Ward in 2014 which voted for the building to be restored for use by the Boxing Club.

The results of the Vale Council's public consultation" on St Paul's Church, Penarth were delayed and ignored

The results of the Vale Council’s public referendum on St Paul’s Church, were ignored

The two local Vale Councillors Cllr Lis Burnett and Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines)  were accused of interfering in the process as they pressed to keep the Boxing Club out – and for the building to be adapted as what they called a “mixed-use community facility” .

They were however – not for the first time –  swimming against the tide of local public opinion and pressing for an unpopular solution which the local referendum had already emphatically rejected.

Th estate agents marketing the St Pauls had to skirt brambles to get into the neglected premises to conduct a survey before starting their marketing operatoon

Estate agents engaged to try to find a leasehold tenant for St Pauls  had to skirt brambles and rubbish to get into the neglected premises to conduct a survey before starting their marketing operation. Only one offer was received which was rejected because of an inadequate business plan

Now the Vale Council is to – in effect – sell-off the site by disposing of it on a 999 year  lease.  It will be offered in a competitive auction to what are described as “the Vale of Glamorgan’s four local registered social landlords”  .They are :-

  • United Welsh
  • Newydd
  • Hafod
  • Wales and West

They are being asked to “deliver a mixed use development of affordable homes and community use subject to planning approval”

In the fine print the council appears to concede the building will probably have to be demolished . The internal report says the successful bidder will have the option to “regenerate a derelict site either involving the retention and conversion of the church or by way of a new build scheme subject to viability.” [ i.e. flatten the existing building and  build a new development on the site.]

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 called “St Paul’s”

Although St Paul’s Church is in the Penarth Conservation area – in truth the building is actually of little architectural merit .

It was originally built in 1863 as a Wesleyan Methodist Chapel but burned down in 1905. In 1906 it was re-built – this time as an Anglican church and named “St Paul’s” . Several feet in height were chopped off the original finials and pinnacles on the front fascia of the building . The front window  was re-modelled and reduced in height – giving the structure its current awkward, ungainly and inelegant appearance.

St Paul’s was bombed by the Luftwaffe in 1940 – but repaired. It was bought by the forerunner of Penarth Town Council – Penarth Urban District Council –  in 1967 for £2,500 and later passed into the hands of the South Glamorgan County Council during  various local government reorganisations.

There was – apparently – one legal obstacle to the Vale Council off-loading the building – and that was in the form of a lease on the building which was held by the Penarth Amateur Boxing Club. An internal council report says that  the council’s Project Board “focused on delivering a legal exercise aimed at facilitating a title unencumbered by the Boxing Club’s previous lease interest in the rear annex of the property . A deal was finally done at the end of last year – allowing the council to now get rid of a building it has described as a “massive headache”  

It’s proposed that the winning bid will be selected “during Spring 2017 or soon thereafter”

The full chronology of the St Paul’s saga was reported most recently by PDN on




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  1. Chris David says:

    Once again the public wish is completely ignored by the commissars in Barry. Get rid of in May and hopefully reverse another injustice after the elections. I see “post it note” Burnett is once again acting like a red rag dictator. LB must be top of the list to consign to the dustbin of Penarth history.

  2. Lm says:

    Another historic building to go
    What is wrong with this council?
    If they need to change to housing renovate and make into flats
    Surely that would be preferable/cheaper
    But they do like spending our hard earned cash!

  3. St Augustine's resident says:

    Even though we have always been labour voters Burnett and Roberts are top of our list for demotion in the coming elections. Shame on them .

  4. Chris Shamb says:

    This is appalling news.

  5. Richard says:

    Voted in to do the will of their constituents, when they don’t do it they should have done the honorable thing and resign. They didn’t, they must not be voted back in!
    Whether Conservative, Labour or any other party, if Councillors cannot act on the will of the people obviously they only represent themselves.

  6. According to what I read and hear of Liz Burnett should never have been put in a position of authority. Every lame brained idea I have read 9 out of 10 of them have her name linked to them. What credentials did she bring to her role? if ever a self serving Councillor was begging to be removed she is it. Also the corrupt Turner Clan trying to create their own little dynasty and feather their nest whilst doing it , they too are corrupt.

  7. RetailGuru says:

    If this is allowed to go ahead it will be appalling. After all of the consultation, all of the false hope – is this it? Really? So OK, let’s vote them out – but who’s the credible alternative? It seems that every political party has a head in the trough. (and before someone wise-cracks “why don’t you do it?”, it’s because I’m busy working full time, paying taxes and bringing up my children. I expect the people representing me to be honest, honourable and working for the best of my community instead of me having to stand for election!).

  8. Anne Greagsby says:

    So much for Cllr Lis Burnetts promises. What happens to the £233,000 that she said was set aside for St Paul’s? I expect it will go to a Barry project. The community wanted St Pauls as a permanent home for the boxing and gym clubs now lost to local young people. Lis Burnett and her labour party aren’t fit for office.

    • Mgg says:

      Talking about not fit for office how do you justify some of the misleading information in your recent leaflet.and you are not even elected yet. You tell a complete lie about the momentum group and delivering a bench bypassing the council.What a ridiculous proposition , where did you get this suppossed information or is it one of your fantasiies . And you continue to pedal your secret momentum group line when you have been advised through various channels including myself on here that as a non elected group anonymity rules apply. Further despite your ridiculous accusation the ,now , Future projects partnership , only generates ideas and plans for delivering the components of the publicly consulted place plan of 2014.Such plans go to Town Council for approval and funding., Thus as elected officers those members and meetings are for public record. The unelected FPP do not decide and as such there is no regulation to publicly record.As with any other outside ideas source. Thus your assertion regarding a secret group is baseless in terms of spending our money anonymously. And instead of just criticising I don’t see any alternative proposals from yourself regarding the Penarth bench. While you personally find it ugly many do not. You fail to recognise the unique contribution from schools and local business in the delivery and offer no evidence of costing of similar seating to justify your critique. And finally if the momentum situation is so secret how do we know the bench costs£ 1080.? I wonder if your head office is happy to stand behind the momentum lies in your personal leaflet presented as a Plaid position statement.

    • St Augustine says:

      If this is all section 106 money from Penarth Heights / Crest Nicholson it’s cannot be diverted elsewhere and has to be spent close to the development. Not that our councillors or the Council are likely to bother to communicate this to anybody.

      Getting any information about Section 106 money, results of consultations, pretty much anything really, is near enough impossible. Lis Burnett is a complete disgrace.

  9. Peter Church says:

    I won’t use the word liar,but a certain Penarth Councillor is more than economical with the truth.
    This fiasco just sums her up.
    Why on earth did people vote for her?
    I hope everyone will think hard before marking a cross in next May’s election.

    • hopenotnasty says:

      I believe Martin Turner is the conservative standing for st. Augustine. The Turner family are standing in a lot of wards over Penarth. Only Severn turned up for the selection meeting and voted themselves as candidates pushing aside the octogenarian Williams.
      The conservative association of Penarth is a laughing stock. Shananigans easily achieved with a very low membership.

  10. hopenotnasty says:

    Shame that this building will be lost for community use. Realistically the £233,000 set aside for revitalising this building is obviously inadequate it is probably more like 2-3 million plus running costs. Money which councils no longer have for such small projects.
    The building apparently has no architectural or historical merit and Penarth for sure is not short of churches.
    In view of the above it seems prudent to re-develop the site and to tidy up the area for the local residents.

    • Chris David says:

      Ah- a party supporter. £2-3 million- ridiculous. No wonder were in the Merde if this is the best Labour supporters can come up with to support the dictators. We don’t need churches- they have very limited use but we do need community facilities- just as the people stated.

      • hopenotnasty says:

        Your living in La La Land if you believe this building can be renovated for 250k. I agree 100% about having community use. I also believe the costs of restoring this building are far too high and prohibitive. Move on and renew this site. By the way you presume to much for a green supporter. Cameron plugged green and look what happened to him.

      • Chris David says:

        Well Hopenasty who said it could be renovated for £250 K ? You make claims but don’t support them. Given us your figures and projections. On the green issue what’s Cameron got to do with anything? Now for your information the most important thing we have is our environment. Without a benign environment we have nothing. Does that ring true?

  11. Barry boy says:

    Penarth has the highest need in the vale for social housing. Hundreds on waiting list. Not sure what the problem is here

  12. Dizzydeb says:

    Maybe we could replace this beautiful old church, which brings some character to the area with some lovely yellow and orange boxes like Crest have just built or even better the prison like monstrosities at Cardiff Point!! That would improve the area no end. We know that Burnett & Roberts have zero idea, just look at the last £100,000+ they spent on the pile of concrete on the cliffs!! They don’t give a dam what the local people want. This building could have been fixed if it had not been deliberately left to rot! Disgrace..

  13. Helen Highwater says:

    How about a multi storey car park?

  14. snoggerdog says:

    or maybe a mosque,now,now,dont you lot get on your high horse,we are going to need one soon enough,think of the near future.

  15. AK says:

    About time this eyesore was demolished, it has been past its sell by data for years and would require a lot of money just to make it weather tight.

    I feel sorry for the boxing club and gymnastics club who have had false promises for years, but they both seem to be thriving in their new homes.

    But where will the Crest Nicholson money go now?

  16. Aled Thomas says:

    Please sign this petition to save St Paul’s Church Community Centre.

Comments are closed.