A Penarth Town Council’s plan to make money by developing and renting out 3 holiday-let flats on the top floor of the Kymin on Beach Road, has been kyboshed because the place is just “too dangerous”.
Councillors went along to the Kymin to look around the now-vacant top floor and establish whether it is viable to “up-grade” it – but they seem to have been somewhat taken aback by what they found.
The Kymin, and its extensive grounds, is actually owned by the Vale of Glamorgan Council which leases the building – on a low-rent rolling basis – to Penarth Town Council under a long-standing deal which makes Penarth Town Council responsible for the maintenance of the building.
Committee chair Cllr Liz Fahy said that in her view the existing flat needed “a considerable amount of work to upgrade it and bring it back into use”.
Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell) agreed . He said he was concerned about Health and Safety aspects in the apartment – especially in the loft area of the flat – and said “I thought it was quite dangerous to be honest”.
Cllr Wilson also noted that the height of the loft area was so restricted people had to lower their heads and stoop to walk around in it. He said “I do think we need to look at investing quite a considerable amount of money in looking to upgrade that flat if it’s going to be used for residential or any other purposes.”
Cllr Laura Rochefort (Labour Cornerwell) observed that there was “a lot of damp there”.
[ PDN Note: The Labour-run Penarth Town Council had been involved in a secret attempt to acquire The Kymin from the Vale of Glamorgan Council under a so-called “Community Asset Transfer”. There was no consultation whatever with residents and local council-tax payers. Embarrassingly the whole top-secret scheme collapsed earlier this year after Penarth Town Council submitted a badly-prepared business plan which was castigated by the Conservative-run Vale of Glamorgan Council and dismissed out-of-hand. The outcome was a major embarrassment to Penarth Town Council – particularly for its former Leader Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines) who had pushed for the ill-considered scheme]
Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward) said the matter should come back to the committee so that a decision could be made . He said one of the concerns was “the future of the Kymin” and said it would be unwise at this stage for Penarth Town Council to invest any money in the building.
Cllr Fahy proposed no further expenditure be undertaken until further information was available.
Cllr Gary Allman (Conservative ST Augustines) asked whether there was a long-term plan from the Vale to upgrade the WHOLE of the Kymin House [ not just the top floor flat].
Cllr Rhiannon Birch (Labour Cornerswell) – who is the current Leader of Penarth Town Council – said “We have had very little information from the Vale”.
Cllr Martin Turner said “We have no immediate plans to re-let have we? …so there is no need to do any work there”.
It was agreed that the Finance Committee would not take any further action until the future of the Kymin was clarified by the Vale of Glamorgan Council.
One PDN source says that if Penarth Town Council doesn’t look after the Kymin properly – as it is committed to do under its lease – the Kymin could become another property debacle like the former St Paul’s Church, which was neglected for so long, it became unviable to repair.