At the Paget Rooms, the housing association “Newydd” showed its plans for Penarth’s St Paul’s Church to the general public for the first time today,. A animated video of the site was projected on a large screen.

The housing association Newydd has put on display for the first time its initial proposals for the redevelopment of St Paul’s Church at Arcot St Penarth.

The plan is to demolish the rear 2/3rds of the building and, in its place, build 15 new apartments on 3 storeys –  all of which will be for rental only : the front section will be retained as a ground and first floor  “community space”.

There would be 12 single-bed and 3 two-bedroom apartments and a “community space” at the front of the building

The two elements of the design – the residential accommodation and the community space – are each be the subject of separate consultation exercises – both of which have been embarked upon today.

There will be a ‘pre-application’ for the development made to the Vale of Glamorgan Council (which, apart from being the local authority is also the owner of the premises) . This will be followed  full application taking on board any refinements which come up in the earlier stages of the process. It’s anticipated the pre-application will be submitted to the  council’s planning committee in October .

The ground floor plans for St Paul’s Church showing the “Community Space” to the left and some of the single bedroom flats on the right with their associated “Amenity Gardens

Newydd is planning residential accommodation consisting of  12  one-bedroom flats and  2 two-bedroom apartments  – a split which clearly puts the letting emphasis on the provision of homes for single people.

Those applying of become tenants in due course will be subject to a Newydd selection process which will require prospective renters to demonstrate that they have strong local or family links with Penarth, or have had a long association with the town.

The sun setting on the derelict St Paul’s Church in 2014 but perhaps it now may have a new lease of life

The familiar fascia of St Paul’s Church will be retained and renovated and the area immediately behind it will be developed as a ground and first floor “community space” – the nature of which still has to be decided and on which the input of local people is being sought.  [ This is the subject of the second public consultation which closes on October 14th 2017]

It’s anticipated that, subject to planning permission, construction would be completed within less than 2 years.

The small green “amenity space” proposed for the rear of the premises would have to be sufficient for approximately 32 residents (each one bedroom flat can accommodate 2 people . Each 2 bedroom flat could accommodate 4 people, or 2 adults and 2 children)

Those perusing the plans on show in the Paget Rooms for the first time today noticed that:-

  1. There is only a very small single amenity space [ i.e. an open-air area]  called “Amenity Gardens” for all 15 apartments. This is a small green area at the rear of the three storey flats complex which – it is proposed – will have a few trees and benches but no children’s playing area. Newydd say that they would expect to offer families with children more suitable accommodation in their other developments. [ In the past the Vale of Glamorgan Council has refused permission for the residential development of premises with insufficient or no amenity space. An “artist’s studio” in Plassey St – intended to be occupied by the owner living alone –  had to be partly knocked-down to comply with planning legislation to create an “amenity space” which the owner did not want or need].
  2. There appear to be only 4 parking spaces at the rear of the building and it’s not yet clear whether these would be allocated to tenants or to those attending public functions in the two ” community spaces” . Tenants may have no option but to park in surrounding streets or use public transport.

The housing association Newydd currently provides 3,000 homes to rent to families and individuals in South and Mid Wales. It proposes to acquire St Paul’s Church in Arcot Street on a 999 year lease from the Vale of Glamorgan Council and anticipates it could take 50 years for it to recover its original investment .

Anyone (anywhere in the world) who wishes to respond (as many times as they wish) to the developer’s new public opinion survey, can do so on-line on [ A  public opinion survey was carried out in St Augustine’sWard by the then Labour-controlled Vale of Glamorgan Council in December 2012 – the results of which were delayed for 5 months . Eventually it transpired that Penarth residents had voted overwhelmingly against the Labour Party’s scheme and wanted Penarth Boxing Club to resume its use of the building] 

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

The history of the St Paul’s building is as follows:-

  • 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” . In the re-build, several feet in height were chopped off the elaborate 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.
  • 1940: It received bomb damage courtesy of the Luftwaffe
  • 1967: It was bought by Penarth Urban District Council for £2,500 – and then handed on to the South Glamorgan County Council.
  • 1996 St Paul’s came into the possession of the Vale of Glamorgan County Council and it was leased to Penarth Boxing Club and later Penarth Gym Club.
  • 2011 The building was closed for Health and Safety reasons and the Penarth Boxing Club had to leave after  37 years at St Paul’s . The Boxing and Gym Clubs were told they would be able to move back-in once repairs had been completed .
  • 2012 The then-Conservative administration in the Vale of Glamorgan Council allocated £250,000 in the council’s “Capital Programme” to make the building  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. The Labour Party condemned the move as a “pre-election stunt” .
  • May 2012 The Labour administration took over in the Vale of Glamorgan – and  put a hold on the planned renovation of St Paul’s. No maintenance of the building was carried out – it continued to deteriorate. The Capital Programme money was never spent, the Crest Nicholson Section 106 funding was never called-in. Nothing was done . The building was under the control of the  Vale Council’s so-called “Visible and Leisure Services Committee” which was represented on the Vale ‘cabinet’ by Cllr Gwyn John (Llantwit First Independents) . He represented the tiny party that kept  Labour in power in the Vale Council .

    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 consultation” on St Paul’s Church, Penarth were delayed and ignored

  • December 11 2012: The Vale Council announced there would be a six-week “public consultation on the future of St Paul’s is to begin in January 2013. Controversially the public consultation was limited only to 3,400 homes St Augustines Ward although the Boxing Club and the Gym Club had members in all wards of Penarth – and St Paul’s was seen as an asset for the entire town.
  • January 2013 The Vale of Glamorgan Council duly held a public consultation in the form of a postal referendum. Local councillors Lis Burnett and Gwyn Roberts (both Labour St Augustines) urged the use of the hall as a “mixed use community facility” rather than just as a base for the Penarth Boxing Club and Gym Club – but the council appeared prefer to leave the final decision to the  residents of St Augustine’s Ward in the postal referendum.
  • January 2013 The deadline for the return of referendum ballot papers from local voters was extended until March 1st because of bad weather .
  • March 1st 2013: The extended deadline for the consultation closed. The Vale Council says  it’s delighted” with the level of public response – but there was’s no sign of the results being announced.
  • April 16th 2013: The Vale Council announces that the publication of the results of the referendum has been postponed for further month to enable all the key officers and councillors involved to “review the data”.
  • May 21st 2013: At long last, the result of the referendum was announced. It was a set-back for the two St Augustine’s Vale Labour councillors. Out of a total of 669 responses 62% of households in St Augustines wanted to see St Paul’s become a permanent home for the Boxing and Gym Clubs . Only 38%, wanted the  “mixed use community facility” that Cllrs Burnett and Roberts were proposing .
  • Cllrs Gwyn Roberts and Lis Burnett are publicly criticised

    Cllrs Gwyn Roberts and Lis Burnett are publicly criticised

    September 20 2013: Councillors Lis Burnett and Gwyn Roberts both came in for withering criticism from prominent local businessman and Penarth Boxing Club supporter Nick Chandler. He said in a letter on the Penarth Times website “If Councillors Burnett and Roberts had not interfered with the previously agreed Cabinet proposal, the building could be weather-protected by now and work to rehouse both clubs would be well advanced.”..“It appears the councillors and officers have all been sitting on their hands despite an overwhelming vote of confidence being given by the residents for the building to be handed back to both clubs. Crest Nicholson, I gather, also support the venture. This whole debacle is a disgrace and appears to be more about the posturing of elected members and has had very little to do with the people of Penarth and their wishes. “

  •  Cllr Gwyn John Llantwit First Independents

    Cllr Gwyn John Llantwit First Independents

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

  • October 6th 2014: The Vale of Glamorgan Council announced is has appointed the estate-agents Savills to market the lease of St Paul’s Church.
  • January 2015 a group, called “St Paul’s Shared Fitness Space CIC”  [“CIC” stands for “Community Interest Company“],  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 Vale Council’s internal Project Group later formally rejected the scheme .
  • December 2015 : The Vale Council’s Project Board was  said to be “considering options” for the property. A total of £233,000 already  allocated to the project – but yet to be spent –  was rolled forward into the Vale’s  2016/17 “Capital Programme”.
  • March 2017 an on-petition was  launched by Plaid Cymru candidate Aled Thomas  to protest against the Labour-run Vale of Glamorgan Council’s decision to dispose of St Paul’s Church .
  • April 2017 : The outgoing Labour administration in the Vale of Glamorgan announced it had selected the Newydd Housing Association as its “preferred hidder” to come up with detailed plans to re-develop the St Paul’s site as a mix of residential social housing and community facilities.
  • May 2017: The Labour Party lost control of the Vale of Glamorgan Council. The schemes for St Paul’s Church were re-appraised by the new Conservative-controlled Vale Council   .
  • September 2017 Newydd released its plans for a mixed residential and community use for St Pauls as detailed above.

The saga continues…..


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  1. penarthblog says:

    A very useful development

  2. Chris David says:

    De-Mock-Racy at work.

  3. Mark Foster says:

    Can we ask if they’ve ditched the Imam in the yellow kaftan in the “community space” ?

  4. AK says:

    Slightly off topic, but on the topic of ‘affordable housing;.

    In cogan there are a number of affordable terraced properties – but most have ‘to let’ boards instead of ‘for sale’ boards.

    Plenty of affordable homes, too many landlords holding onto them !

    • Birkett says:

      Yep, I get the impression this is a big part of the housing problem in general. It can’t be right for housing to be purely an income generator for a select, but growing, few.

  5. Anne Greagsby says:

    This is very big compared to surrounding buildings with a section resembling a gas works vat. Many neighbouring residents properties will be overlooked. The 4 parking spaces are only accessible via the narrow lane that is shared with cyclists and pedestrians. There are no spaces for staff, visitors or social workers etc. The community space has no parking spaces either. There is no lift. The bins will have to be pushed up the lane from the back of the building for collection but even if possible to push large bins there is no place on the street for them. Cycle parking is at the rear of the building also next to the bins. There aren’t plans for solar panels or extra energy efficiency in the building. This plan must be modified to work. Holding the consultation in the Paget rooms so far from St Paul’s meant about 12 housing association staff and few visitors. Difficult to see how they can claim this costly exercise is a meaningful consultation

  6. penarth resident says:

    Here is some further information which we were informed of at the public consultation event.

    1. There will be 12 one bedroom flats and 3 two bedroom flats.

    2. The 5 parking spaces at the back of the flats will be for the residents only, and the community facility has not been allocated any parking spaces.

    3. There is a survey set up by Newydd asking opinions on the community centre aspect of this proposed development which can be found at

    4. Newydd will include the community facility if it is deemed that there is a need for it.

    5. The type of housing that is proposed is ‘Social Rented Properties’ (Guideline rents are charged) and not ‘Intermediate Rented Properties’ (Rents are above those of social rented properties but below market rent levels).

    6. Newydd have no current plans to re-surface Chapel Lane or put street lighting or pavements in Chapel Lane, although this may change following consultation with the highways department.
    7. The 5 ground floor flats will be accessible properties, intended to be used for people with disabilities.

    8. The town and country planning use classes category that Newydd will be applying for the community centre is D1/D2 which includes:
    D1 Non-residential institutions – Clinics, health centres, crèches, day nurseries, day centres, schools, art galleries (other than for sale or hire), museums, libraries, halls, places of worship, church halls, law court. Non residential education and training centres.
    D2 Assembly and leisure – Cinemas, music and concert halls, bingo and dance halls (but not night clubs), swimming baths, skating rinks, gymnasiums or area for indoor or outdoor sports and recreations (except for motor sports, or where firearms are used).

    9. The only ‘condition for rent’ that the Newydd takes into account when selecting their residents for the St Paul’s site at present is that prospective renters need to demonstrate that they have strong local or family links with Penarth, or have had a long association with the town. Newydd may impose further ‘conditions of rent’ e.g. good tenancy history, no history of anti-social behaviour, no unmet support needs, no children or pets etc. but these will not be made public until 3/4 months before the tenants are due to move in.

  7. OB says:

    Fifteen flats plus community facilities, five parking spaces. Unbelievable.

  8. Chris David says:

    Better still Ms Greasby we have the Boxing and Gym Club voted before. This is just one more steamroller from the neo fascists of the PTC.

    • penarthblog says:

      Do you even know what a neo fascist is?

      • Chris David says:

        Fascism /ˈfæʃɪzəm/ is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism,[1][2] characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, and control of industry and commerce. Source Wikipedia/ Webster’s. Resonance? Wales / Penarth seedlings! I also know you’re a coward that hides behind a false name and are a least a sycophant and probably a councillor. If you can’t play in the open go away.

  9. Tim Land says:

    This an oversized development with many important considerations missing, as was obvious at the information event. The designers have little understanding of the local area, how it actually operates, and have simply sought to maximise as many units as possible through using the minimum thresholds in the design. There is then the issue that the surrounding area already sustains a higher proportion of social housing than other parts of the St Augustine Ward and to what extent is this an ‘integrated’ strategy for social housing across Penarth? Most disappointing is that the residents were not consulted by the council as to the nature of this project and what we now have is a private contractor (WYG) running a public focus group. Further more, the current reach of the information campaign has left out many residents. We all agree that St Paul’s needs redevelopment but it needs to carefully consider the long term benefits for all of the community.

    • Ralf says:

      Well put.

    • HHH says:

      Unfortunately, the consultation process has now to be carried out by the Applicant, following a recent planning legislation change in Wales. It is now incumbent on the applicant to carry out such consultations prior to making an Application. This is another example of a flawed Planning system which removes responsibility and workload from the Local Authority and places it on the developer. They had no choice in this matter so you can’t take them to task about it – they are following the legal procedure that absolves the Vale of Glamorgan of any responsibility whatsoever.

  10. Lucie says:

    Allfull, shocking, that it was not left as a boxing club and gym and a community hall some where the kids could go and the elderly could meet up.

    • Penileaks says:

      I agree, but councils here do not appear to listen to residents (read voters), once they are voted into office and just pursue their own agendas.
      I doubt whether what was presented yesterday will be the final version. I can see that the ‘community section’ will be reduced in size or removed completely and those questionnaires that were at the presentation with questions on what community related activities one would like to see in the area and whether one would actually use such a facility, will be used as evidence that such a community area is not really needed, or will not be used.
      An over development and one that, if it gets approval, will break so many of the VoG’s own planning rules that have and are being used to oppose similar private applications.

  11. penarthblog says:

    Chris David. You’ve not answered my question, your reply is nothing more than a cut and paste rant. Sycophant? Lol!

  12. HHH says:

    I think we have to embrace the fact that development is a good thing. However, this is a very mediocre proposal, architecturally. It could be anywhere – bland, unimaginative and dreary. The Council should be encouraging architects to improve the design quality here.

  13. Peter Church says:

    More bloody flats, sorry luxury shoebox apartments!!

  14. Max Wallis says:

    Overcrowded and basically bad design for flats. Living rooms looking out over the alley and nearby gardens, rather than inwards over own courtyard; looking north instead of south with balconies for drying clothes and taking the sun.
    No assessment of what’s needed for community facilities, just proposing to run as a business, probably loss-making. No changing/showers for energetic sports (indoor tennis suggested!), no lift to upper floor for disabled (despite the ‘fully accessible’ promise), no provision for noisy activity (dancing classes; evening bands/gigs).
    It’s surely the Council’s job to assess and consult on what’s needed/wanted, then specify the building for it, utilising the huge S-106 funds from the Penarth Heights development (a £million or so). Indoor gym/sports and bands/gigs would surely drive the general design and more sedate activities (including noisy play groups) could make use of the same spaces.
    Newydd’s combination use doesn’t work; it was devised by Labour pre-election to sidestep accusations of doing nothing in their 5 years. It can be scrapped in an honest review by the new Tory Council.

  15. Chris David says:

    Makes sense Mr Wallis. There are three here that seem to know what they’re talking about inc Pen Res and Mr Land. With those critiques in mind wouldn’t the answer be to just build a new boxing club, gym and possible adapt for other sports use? That’s what the vote that Labour tried to hide and sweep was for. I was hoping the Tories could bring back some balance and actually work for the community. This is an opportunity to get back on track and do just that. People by and large vote for Labour thinking they’ll be fair- that didn’t work out we got dictators, amateurs running an “I know best” agenda. The Tories have a chance here to show they’re not just greedy capitalists, but can work with and for the community.

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