PLANS for a new 210-pupil Welsh Medium primary school in Tredegar have been approved by Blaenau Gwent councillors and it is hoped that the school could be open by April 2024.
The school has been described as “seedling”, meaning it would start with a first intake of early years and reception pupils, expanding on an annual basis through the school years.
It will take six years to fill up with pupils from three to 11 years old.
Building the new school in Tredegar will double the number of Welsh medium schools in Blaenau Gwent, as Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Helyg in Nantyglo is currently the only one.
But questions – which were left unanswered – were raised at the meeting over how Welsh-speaking staff would be recruited.
At Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s planning committee meeting on Thursday, September 8, plans for a primary school with childcare and nursery facility on land at Chartist Way, Tredegar, were discussed.
The school, which is estimated to cost £6.2 million, will include a new drop-off area, staff parking, bus turning area, a multi-use games areas, and relocation of the existing playground.
The brownfield site has been used to graze animals, and has a small playground on it.
A number of conditions are included with the permission, and one includes that a sustainable drainage application (SuDS) will need to be approved before building work can start.
Planning officer Joanne Whit said:
“In considering a suitable location for a Welsh-medium primary school, a site assessment process was undertaken which explored a number of sites in Tredegar.
“The application site was considered most suitable on the basis of its location to serve both Tredegar and Ebbw Vale.”
Ms White explained that a single letter of objection had been received on the application, which raised the issues of congestion and pollution with more vehicles in the area and that open space would be lost.
She told the councillors that she recommended that they approve the proposal.
Cllr Malcolm Day said:
“Do we actually need another school in Blaenau Gwent?
“There are two other schools a short distance away, and to get a Welsh speaking teacher is very difficult at the moment.
“Is there capacity in our schools to provide Welsh language education in the schools we already have?”
Committee chairwoman Cllr Lisa Winnett said:
“That’s not a material planning consideration, we’re not here to debate on the matter of whether this school is needed or not.
“That’s for the education department and that’s who you should broach your question to.”
Cllr David Wilkshire said: “This school has been long awaited.”
Cllr Wilkshire said that 3,600 houses need to be built in the area in the near future, and this would increase the need for school places.
“Our schools are at capacity, so it’s a good thing,” said Cllr Wilkshire.
The application was approved with eight votes for, and one against.
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