New school plan on hold

Welsh Govern­ment con­sid­ers call-in

Llanelli Star - - FRONT PAGE - Richard Youle @Youle­Post 01792 545553 [email protected]­

CON­TENTIOUS plans for a new pri­mary school on re­cre­ation fields in Llanelli are on hold while the Welsh Govern­ment con­sid­ers a call-in re­quest.

Car­marthen­shire coun­cil wants to build a re­place­ment Ys­gol Dewi Sant at Llan­erch fields, south of Heol Nant-y-Felin.

Cam­paign­ers against the pro­posal don’t want the fields built on – and an at­tempt to get the site des­ig­nated as a vil­lage green was turned down.

Now, Llanelli AM Lee Wa­ters has writ­ten to the Welsh Govern­ment on be­half of con­cerned res­i­dents ask­ing for the coun­cil’s ap­pli­ca­tion to be called in.

Mr Wa­ters, Deputy Min­is­ter for Econ­omy and Trans­port, wrote on Face­book that he had met the coun­cil’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, Wendy Walters, and asked the au­thor­ity to have a re­think.

“The school des­per­ately needs a new build­ing, but there’s strong lo­cal feel­ing that it needs to be on a more ap­pro­pri­ate site,” he said.

The coun­cil car­ried out a public con­sul­ta­tion prior to sub­mit­ting a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion in April last year.

A de­sign and ac­cess state­ment said Llan­erch fields was felt to be the most ap­pro­pri­ate of nine sites con­sid­ered.

The pro­posed £9.1 mil­lion school would ac­com­mo­date the in­creas­ing de­mand for Welsh- medium ed­u­ca­tion with 420 pri­mary and 60 nurs­ery places avail­able. The devel­op­ment would also of­fer com­mu­nity ben­e­fits.

The cur­rent Ys­gol Dewi Sant site does not meet coun­cil stan­dards in a num­ber of ar­eas.

Re­fer­ring to the Welsh Govern­ment’s stop no­tice on the cur­rent plans, Lliedi coun­cil­lor Rob James said he had raised con­cerns about the new site “from day one”.

He said: “I am pas­sion­ate about the need for a new school for the pupils of Ys­gol Dewi Sant and it is im­por­tant that lo­cal pupils get the ben­e­fits of a 21st Cen­tury school.”

Llanelli MP Nia Grif­fith said: “That the Welsh Govern­ment has is­sued a stop no­tice shows there are very se­ri­ous con­cerns about plans to use Llan­erch fields for a new school for Dewi Sant, which can’t be dis­missed as ‘just a cou­ple of res­i­dents’.

“The county coun­cil should stop wast­ing time and get on with draw­ing up plans for an­other site such as the one soon to be va­cated by Heol Gofffa School, where prepara­tory work could start straight away on the old train­ing cen­tre site.”

A flood as­sess­ment re­port car­ried out in Jan­uary this year said a num­ber of Welsh Wa­ter stor­age tanks were lo­cated un­der the Llan­erch fields site. The re­port’s au­thors con­cluded there was a low risk of flood­ing from the ad­ja­cent Afon Lliedi, ex­cept for the pro­posed over­flow car park.

The coun­cil’s direc­tor of en­vi­ron­ment, Ruth Mullen, con­firmed it had been no­ti­fied by the Welsh Govern­ment of the call-in re­quest.

She said: “A de­ci­sion on whether it is called in or not is due to be made within 21 days. We await this de­ci­sion.”

An im­age of the planned Ys­gol Dewi Sant, in Llanelli.

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