Fury over plans to build new Welsh medium school

Reporter:

Claire Gallagher

RESIDENTS have hit out at proposals to build a new Welsh medium school on green space in Gwersyllt.

Wrexham council’s executive board has rubber stamped initial plans, subject to planning permission, for a new £6million Welsh medium school off Delamere Avenue.

But residents are up in arms over the proposals to build on green space and say the school should be built in Brymbo instead, where hundreds of new homes have been built and where land has been set aside for a school.

The council says however that there is more demand for a Welsh medium school in the Gwersyllt area.

Gwersyllt councillor Ted George said: “There is great opposition in the area and now residents are up in arms about this.

“This is an open green space where the school is to be built and it’s not normally policy to build on green space. It’s part of the Alyn Waters Country Park.

“We are also worried that it will disadvantage the existing Gwersyllt CP school which has not been refurbished since the 1980s.

“We feel it would be better to spend the money with the current school or perhaps integrating a Welsh medium with the English medium.”

David Jones, of Delamere Avenue, is upset that the school will take up a large proportion of recreational area which is used for fetes and other village activities.

“Building a school creates a huge amount of traffic and parking associated with the school,” he said.

“I think it would be more suited to somewhere like Brymbo where they have something like 400 new homes nearby and land set aside for a school.

“There is a need for primary school education in that area – why use up recreational area in Gwersyllt?

“As we all know there is not a lot of money around and if there is a need for a primary school elsewhere it should go there.”

The Rev Sue Huyton, of Old Mold Road, Gwersyllt, said: “If a full consultation had taken place, it might well be that current fears and concerns would be allayed.”

John Davies, chief learning and achievement officer, said: “In 2007, the local authority paid for a firm of consultants to carry out a survey of the level of demand for places in Welsh medium schools in Wrexham.

“That survey identified a large number of families in the Gwersyllt, Llay and Summerhill areas who wanted to send their children to a Welsh medium school.

“As a temporary response to that survey, the local authority provided additional temporary classrooms at Ysgol Plas Coch in Wrexham.

“There are currently 138 pupils from the above areas attending either Ysgol Plas Coch or Ysgol Bodhyfryd.

“Analysis of the information about the additional pupils currently in the temporary accommodation at Ysgol Plas Coch shows that 85 per cent of those pupils have home addresses in Gwersyllt, Bradley or Llay.”

He added: “There have been suggestions that the new Welsh medium school should be located in Brymbo.

“However, families from Brymbo who choose Welsh medium education for their children are currently directed to Ysgol Bryn Tabor in Coedpoeth, where there is still room to accommodate all those requests for places.”

The Welsh Assembly Government is giving £4.1m towards the scheme and the council is contributing £1.7m.

If plans are approved by the council’s planning committee it is hoped that development on the site will start in July 2011 with a completion date of September 2012.

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