Investigation work continues into potential new school site
Posted on: Monday 28 September 2020
Work to determine whether council-owned land at Brackla Hill could offer a suitable new home for Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Ogwr is ongoing.
A feasibility study is currently underway at the site, which is located off Brackla Way, to decide whether it might be suitable for the Welsh-medium primary school’s new premises.
While the council is seeking to increase Welsh-medium primary provision within the county borough as part of its 21st Century Schools and Colleges Programme, Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Ogwr’s current location at Princess Way in Brackla is too small to be suitable for the construction of a larger facility.
Councillor Charles Smith, Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration, said: “The council considered a number of different sites before agreeing last January to carry out feasibility work on land it already owns at Brackla Hill.
“As this project involves providing an all-new, state of the art Welsh-medium primary school that will cater for children from across the county borough for generations to come, it is absolutely essential to make sure it is sited in the right place in order to best serve the needs of the overall community.
“We approved the feasibility work because we want to establish if a new school could co-exist at this site alongside an enhanced community eco-park and ancient woodland.
“If so, it would enable us to not only offer new Welsh medium school places, but to use the site vacated by Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Ogwr to provide the community of Brackla with some much-needed additional English medium school places as well.
“As many questions and assumptions have been made around this, I want to clarify that no final decisions have been made, and that the project is still at the feasibility stage.
“I can also confirm that a preferred location for a school building or any associated play areas has not yet been identified. There is no intention to create any site access off Ger y Coed, and no further land would be used beyond what a new school would require.
“No woodland would be removed, although a small part might be set aside for educational purposes. If any development went ahead, it would seek to retain as much public open space at the site as possible.
“Furthermore, initial studies have found no long-term impact against any key protected species, and the location is not recognised as a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation.
“While site investigations, a topographical survey and an initial ecological survey have all been undertaken, the feasibility study is very much ongoing, as is a transport assessment which had to be delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Once all this has been completed, the outcome of the feasibility study will be reported to Cabinet so we can consider whether to proceed with the scheme at this location, or to look for another site.
“If the feasibility work suggests that the site is indeed viable as a potential location for a new school, we would enter a full public consultation process, and that feedback would then be reported upon and taken into account.
“Once the Cabinet is in possession of the full facts, then, and only then, will any final decision be made.”
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