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Bassaleg School expansion plans could go to second consultation

A PROPOSAL to expand Bassaleg school Newport could move to a second consultation next week, despite concerns from residents.

If approved by the member for education at Newport council, Gail Giles, then a statutory notice will be published for 28 days on the proposal “to increase the overall capacity of Bassaleg School from 1,747 to 2,050 with effect from September 2023”.

The project will cost around £28 million, with £16 million from the Welsh Government’s 21st century schools programme.

The council will fund the remaining £12 million through section 106 contributions from the Jubilee Park and Tredegar Park Golf Club housing developments, and supported borrowing.

A report says an initial consultation with stakeholders found that 84 per cent of responses supported the proposal, with eight per cent against it.

However, the residents’ committee of Court Crescent and Forge Lane previously told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that current levels of traffic resulted in “gridlock” and the report on the first consultation repeats this view.

The initial consultation launched in October 2020 and lasted six weeks until November 12.

Of the 184 responses, 16 raised concerns over parking, picking up and dropping off.

The council report says the additional capacity is to “accommodate pupils living in the new housing developments at Jubilee Park and Tredegar Park Golf Club.

It says: “Both developments are within easy walking distance of the school, and highways infrastructure for these developments has already been put in place.

“The council’s highways team has acknowledged issues relating to the traffic lights around the Bassaleg roundabout and the likely impact of the pupil and associated staff increase is being assessed and will be addressed within the planning application process for consideration as appropriate.

“The proposal includes increased parking provision at the front (Forge area) of the site and improved bus waiting and turning areas within the school grounds.”

The local ward member for Graig, Cllr David Williams, said he welcomed the proposal but has concerns over “the traffic that the larger school will generate and the impact on the community”.

He said: “Some specific areas that will suffer are Court Crescent and the Griffin and I hope that as much as possible can be done at the design stage to mitigate these problems.”

As part of the consultation parents were invited to attend online events, however, only one parent, who was also a governor, turned up.

After the statutory notice is completed, a final decision will be made on the proposal.

A decision on the statutory notice will be made on February 22.

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