Wales News Online

Local & National News for Wales

Village school in Vale set for replacement building as plan to double its size scrapped

A village school in the Vale of Glamorgan is set for a new replacement building, as a plan to double its size was scrapped.

St Nicholas Church in Wales primary school has been earmarked for a new building for several years and its two current buildings are old and suffering “major defects”.

Originally the plan was to double the size of the school, going from 126 pupils with no nursery places to 210 pupils and 24 nursery places.

But in January last year, Vale of Glamorgan council’s planning committee refused to grant permission for a new larger school, due to concerns it would exacerbate congestion in the village.

Now new plans have been submitted for a £5-million replacement school with space for 126 pupils and 12 nursery places. On Monday, January 24, the council’s cabinet signed off plans to consult the public on its plan to introduce the nursery places.

Councillor Ben Gray, cabinet member for social care and health, said: “This school needs to be replaced — it’s clearly a building which is not fit for purpose. It’s really important that this moves forward and St Nicholas gets a primary school which is fit for purpose.”

The new school would be built on the current site, just north of the main building. The main building would then be demolished, and the space used for car parking and spaces for parents and carers who drive to drop off their children, addressing existing congestion issues. The school would still be just a short walk away from the village’s church.

According to a recent cabinet report, the current school buildings have “major defects”, with an estimated maintenance backlog of £670,250, adversely affecting teaching. The school has also faced issues with sinkholes and radon gas. Reception pupils have to walk to the nearby Old School building after morning assembly, along a road without pavement.

Demand for local nursery places is growing, with new housing estates recently built in St Nicholas and Bonvilston, and permission for 117 more houses east of St Nicholas and 120 east of Bonvilston.

But the cabinet decided it would be too expensive to find an alternative site for building a replacement school twice the size of the current one, and instead chose to put forward the new plan for a school with 126 places and 12 nursery places. Refurbishing the current buildings was also seen as too tricky given the condition of the buildings and parking issues.

Councillor Lis Burnett, cabinet member for education, said: “The school wanted to stay where it is. It is a Church in Wales school and they felt that their connection to the church was very important. The buildings would be very difficult to refurbish — they’re not up to scratch and it would be very difficult to retrofit them and to fit in a nursery.”

The council’s planning committee has not yet granted permission for the replacement school building.

%d bloggers like this: