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Affordable housing plans for Ysgol Pontfadog Ceiriog Valley site

PLANS to sell a former village school to make way for affordable housing show that members of the community have been listened to, a council leader has said.

Ysgol Pontfadog in the Ceiriog Valley shut its doors for the final time in July 2019 after serving the area for 110 years.

The decision to close the school was made by Wrexham Council in the face of strong opposition from residents, but officials said it was necessary due to dwindling pupil numbers.

Following its closure, villagers decided to focus on how the land on which the primary school sits should be used in the future.

A report commissioned by rural development agency Cadwyn Clwyd and Glyntraian Community Council concluded that creating housing at the site would be the best option.

The local authority’s ruling executive board is now being asked to approve selling it off to a registered social landlord to allow affordable housing to be built.

Speaking at a media briefing held this week, council leader Mark Pritchard described it as a positive development for the area.

He said: “We don’t usually do this to be fair as we usually just sell the assets off and it goes into education.

“But because we gave a commitment, and Pontfadog is only a small place, that has a massive impact and there’s never any opportunities to build homes within that area.

“We agreed to support the community council to work with a registered social landlord to put homes on it.

“I think it’s an excellent story which sees us as a council listening to the community.”

He added: “I sat in a meeting where the community council discussed this, and the community council voted overwhelmingly to support homes going on the site.

“Obviously, there’s a small campaign group who wants to save the school and I respect that, but the recommendations are now that we work so that the houses will be nominated for local people first.”

Council officials said disposing of the site would also prevent them having to pay future maintenance costs, as well as generating money from selling it on.

Executive board members will be asked to approve allowing a senior officer to negotiate and conclude the terms of the sale when they meet on Tuesday (February 9, 2021).

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