A CONSULTATION is set to be launched over plans to increase a primary school’s capacity by 120.

Under new proposals, Barker’s Lane Community Primary School in Wrexham would increase full time pupil spaces from 210 to 315, while the number of nursery children would go up from 30 to 45 to meet a growing demand.

It comes after the education authority was forced to turn down pupils who chose Barker’s Lane as their preferred option this year.

Wrexham Council’s executive board gave its backing to engage with residents about the plans at a meeting held on Tuesday.

Improvements to the school building will be funded through £1 million grant funding, along with £757,000 of revenue support, which will be provided by Welsh Government over the next three years.

But some councillors questioned the impact the expansion would have on traffic and parking issues, and called for the situation to be addressed as part of the proposals.

Labour group leader, Cllr Dana Davies, said: “You know exactly what’s going to come back in the consultation as the number one issue.

“We can pre-empt it by working through that from the beginning and thinking about that.

“There’s a lot of schools that were designed quite a number of years ago, where you can potentially take the line of the school back and use the front of the school as that free flowing traffic space.

“It’s 21st century school funding, potentially we’re making classrooms up to that standard, but there’s a lot more that we can do for traffic and safe traffic management.”

Education office Dafydd Ifans said the authority had already carried out a feasibility study at the site, which identified parking problems.

However, he was cut short in discussing them by council leader Mark Pritchard because of the soon-to-launch consultation process.

Mr Ifans said: “The way we have to do this is we can’t go too far with the planning application, as we might be judging the outcome before we go through this process.

“We do obviously do a feasibility study to look at what’s possible on site, and we’ve already identified that here we have an issue with a lack of staff parking currently, with members of staff parking on the road outside the school.”

Borras Park councillor Debbie Wallice asked which area new pupils were likely come from and highlighted issues with the capacity of the after school club.

She also invited lead member for education, Cllr Phil Wynn, to attend a community meeting about the proposals.

In response, Cllr Wynn said: “The catchment area in Wrexham is obviously parentally driven by choice so it could be from anywhere within the county if there are spare spaces at Barker’s Lane following the proposal.

“However, as outlined in the report, all of the schools within the Acton community are at near capacity.

“There’s the hope that if they send their pupils to Barker’s Lane, that will take some of the pressure off classroom size intakes at those other schools, which is in line with the Welsh Government’s aspiration to reduce classroom sizes.

“I did actually attend a community meeting held for the Borras community at your request and would be more than delighted to do likewise in this instance.”

If the plans are given the green light, it is expected that contractors will start work on the school next year, ready for an increased number of pupils to be accepted from September 2020.

The funding forms part of a £36m package announced by the Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Education, Kirsty Williams, in January 2017.

The consultation will start on October 11, running until December 12, 2018.