SEVERAL outdated buildings at Bassaleg School are to be demolished and replaced by a single new building, after plans were approved by Newport City Council.
The modern teaching block is just one part of a major refresh which also includes a new car park, easy drop-offs points, outdoor classroom space, new sport pitch floodlights, and the planting of 80 trees.
Four buildings, including the school’s dining hall and drama block, and several classrooms, will all be demolished.
Planning permission has already been granted for two artificial pitches, an improved grass pitch, and a multi-purpose pitch. These will be available for community use outside of school hours.
Concerns were raised about the impact of the floodlights. Planning Officer Ms Parkhouse told the committee that use of the lights would be restricted to between 5pm and 9pm on weekdays, and 9am and 5pm on weekends.
A number of trees will be removed as part of the development, but 80 new trees will be planted and significant trees will be protected.
Consultants LRM Planning submitted the new school building improvement plans – which will see pupil numbers boosted from 1,747, to 2,050 – on behalf of the council. Housing developments at Jubilee Park and Tredegar Park Golf Club are expected to increase demand for school places in the area.
Planning committee member Cllr John Guy, who represents Alway ward, commended the proposal and described it as a “first-class application” when it was approved at a meeting on Wednesday, February 2.
But, Graig Community Council and residents of Bassaleg raised concerns about the potential increase in traffic and parking pressure.
The council’s highways department said the increase in pupils was “unlikely to have an impact on highway capacity on the local network”. The department also said the number of parking spaces exceeded the council’s requirements with a total of 166 – an increase of 41 on what’s currently there.
Despite the concerns raised, ward councillor for Graig, Cllr David Williams, said the majority of the community welcomes the development.
Senior Planning Officer, Gail Parkhouse, said the new layout will allow buses to manoeuvre easier and improve safety.
Newport City Council is currently planning a new ‘active travel’ route that will connect to nearby Court Crescent to encourage pupils to walk and cycle to school.