CAMPAIGNERS who wanted to protect a park in Gorseinon from development have lost their fight but said they had no regrets.
They opposed the use of part of Parc y Werin for a new primary school and applied to have the park registered as common land, arguing that it was part of the old Loughor Common.
Swansea Council, which is building the £6.9m school, objected.
A Welsh Government planning inspector has ruled in favour of the local authority and said no part of the park should be registered as common land.
In a statement, The Parc y Werin Committee, which made the common land application in conjunction with other objectors, said it had battled for four years to protect the park from development.
“There’s no regrets and we make no apologies for trying to save vital recreational space at Parc y Werin,” it said.
Campaigners had submitted two unsuccessful village green applications before the latest common land one – and said all along it was the location, not the idea of a new school, which they opposed.
Welsh Government-appointed planning inspector Joanne Burston said evidence that Parc y Werin had been regulated as common land – or was otherwise recognised or designated as common land – was “insufficient and unconvincing”.
The Parc y Werin Committee thanked the group’s supporters and those who had previously added their names to a 3,127-strong petition opposing Gorseinon Primary School being relocated to the park.
The statement said it felt the decision would be regretted in years to come and wondered if the council would create new recreational space in Gorseinon.
The new school will replace two current school sites in the town and cater to 315 pupils, with space for more.
The new-build at Parc y Werin has plenty of support, and the community will have access to the new school’s all-weather pitch and multi-use games area at certain times.
Reacting to the planning inspector’s decision, Councillor Jennifer Raynor, cabinet member for education, said: “This is good news for the children of Gorseinon and I am pleased that this ruling means the new home for Gorseinon Primary School will open to pupils in September 2020.
“It is already very clear that when completed the modern facilities will be a vast improvement on the outdated Victorian buildings where pupils are currently taught.”
Headteacher Jason Dodds said the new school “will benefit hundreds of children and their families and many more in the years to come”.