The derelict St Paul’s Church as it looks now

The planning officers of the Vale of Glamorgan Council are today recommending to councillors that they should allow the demolition of the former St Paul’s Church in Arcot St Penarth – and its controversial replacement with a block of 14 rented social housing apartments.

The planning application for the apartment development – by the Newydd Housing Association – is to be discussed by the full Vale of Glamorgan Council planning committee on Thursday next week ( April 26th).


More than 63 local people have sent letters, complaining about the development, to the Vale of Glamorgan Council and raising a number of concerns –  all of which have already been ignored by the Labour-controlled Penarth Town Council’s planning committee.

The local residents have objected loss of community facilities [the church – originally bought and paid for by the people of Penarth – was previously used by the local boxing and gym clubs] the lack of on-site parking for future tenants, the density of development and the plan to remove the pedestrian pavement on the adjoining thoroughfare Chapel Lane.


Parking is always a major problem around St Paul’s. The new development could mean 26 more cars being parked on local streets.

On the issue of parking, the Vale of Glamorgan Council officers have now cast doubt on the veracity of the data yielded by the “parking survey” which had been commissioned by the developers. That survey made the less-that-convincing claim that “the development would not materially increase the requirement for additional car parking above that of the existing use at the site”.

The developers had also checked-out “available kerbside parking during the evening time” in the vicinity of St Paul’s and came up with what many local people will consider to be a scarcely credible claim that around 22 street parking spaces are vacant and available every evening.

The Vale of Glamorgan planning officers seem unconvinced by the findings of the developer’s parking survey. They describe it as “limited and say that “the data is not considered representative in this instance.”

The developers – Newydd –  also claim – in essence – that the hard-up social-housing tenants who will occupy  the new apartments won’t be able to afford cars. Newydd’s agents have told the Vale Council that local census data and surveys undertaken at other similar sites “has indicated lower than usual levels of ownership associated with developments of this nature”.


The front facade of the former St Paul’s Church in Arcot St Penarth. In a late report local civil engineers Terrafirma advised that it – and the rest of the building – should be totally demolished. Then, later today, in an embarrassing U-Turn – they issued an “amended” version of their report (and added it to the existing planning application) in which they changed their minds and said that the facade should now be retained.

The report of the Vale Council planning officers states “The proposals relate to the demolition of existing church (with retention of front façade)

The officers have even inserted a proposed condition which would require the front facade of St Paul’s to be preserved as part of the new building saying :-” The scheme has been developed around the retention of the church façade fronting onto Arcot Street, with a new building attached to the rear. The retention of the façade will retain this prominent feature of the church within the Arcot Street scene and with the part proposed community use, continue its focus for the community.”

In addition, Glamorgan Gwent Archaeological Trust have also urged the facade should be retained because it’s part of Penarth’s history.

The Terrafirma report is uncompromising. It advises that the entire building should be demolished

However – evidently unnoticed by the Vale planners  – and submitted very late in the day, is a report by a firm of civil engineeers called Terrafirma who have been carrying out a survey of the existing St Paul’s building and the site on which it stands – and it appears they have a very different view of the facade and its future.

They say – in effect – that the entire building, facade and all, should be demolished :- “The existing church and adjoining church hall should be demolished, and all foundations and concrete slabs and areas of hardstanding within the development area excavated out and removed.”  


In an embarrassing U-Turn yesterday (April 20th) Terrafirma and Newydd submitted an “amended” (and backdated) version of their geotechnical report to the Vale of Glamorgan Council planning department  – with this new version inserting the line that the front facade of St Paul’s IS to be retained.

The final decision on St Paul’s Church will be taken in the Vale of Glamorgan Council planning committee on April 26th in a meeting starting at 16:00 hours in the Civic Centre at Barry .


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  1. FlowerPower says:

    The argument ‘it’s part of Penarth’s history’ could be said about every building in Penarth – it’s just silly.

    • Philip Rapier says:

      Andrew RT Davies Please help us and call this in to the Assembly or at the very least force a debate in Cardiff Bay on the Housing Planning decisions made in the Vale .
      Not one of the Cowbridge biased all male Cabinet is man enough to stand up to the Officers of the Vale.
      We have the worst traffic in Wales pro rata in Penarth poisoning our lungs.
      .A Housing Policy now so out of control it will treble the traffic jam size in less than a year.
      Cabinet Councillors alone are costing £250000 a year. plus incalculable damage to our children’s health from lung disease..
      Starving Penarth of Cash and disregarding the Public Consultation on St Pauls is the politics of Putin

  2. BluesMan says:

    Vale of Glamorgan love demolishing anything old whether that’s a church, Victorian house, tree, or anything else that might cost them a few quid to preserve.

  3. cogan nomen says:

    When will they develop the plot
    Of the old church in Hickman Road ?

    • Guido says:

      The development of this plot is not down to the Vale. There has been planning permißion granted in the past, now lapsed, but the landowner chooses just to sit on the plot. There is no current mechanism available to a Council to force landowners to develop vacant land.with planning permissions.

  4. Racist Mark (aka Mark Foster) says:

    White man speak with forked tongue. This is the community centre they were instructed to put there. Why is there a bloke in a yellow kaftan in the pic?

  5. David Moorcraft says:

    I don’t know what’s the best way to develop this site, but I’ll be happy if they demolish the church, it’s Ugly !
    Also its “footprint” is a poor use of the available size of the plot.

  6. Wild West says:

    As if we didn’t see that coming.
    There was never any intention to ‘preserve’ anything.

Comments are closed.