Posted: Wed 19th Oct 2022

Plans worth nearly £24m to double size of oversubscribed Denbigh special school unanimously backed

North Wales news and information
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Oct 19th, 2022

Plans to double the size of an oversubscribed special school in Denbigh have been unanimously backed. It would see Ysgol Plas Brondyffryn increase its capacity from 116 to 220 pupils. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

Ysgol Plas Brondyffryn teaches children aged three -19, providing specialist provision for pupils with autism at its Park Street building. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

Now Denbighshire’s cabinet members have voted in favour of increasing the capacity from 1 September 2024, subject to funding and a new purpose-built school being ready. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

The proposed site for the new building is the field next to Denbigh Leisure centre, which is currently used by Denbigh High School, but owned by the council. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

The new school building plans are yet to be considered by the council’s planning committee. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

The council says during a formal public consultation it received 93 responses of which 71 were in favour the proposal, 18 against, and four did not state either way. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

The main issues raised in opposition were the location proposed for the new build, including loss of green space, the impact on Denbigh High School losing one of its playing fields, and traffic concerns. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

There were no objections regarding the increase in capacity at the school. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

Council officer Geraint Davies explained to cabinet members why the numbers were needed. “To move from 116 to 220, that is a considerable growth, but if I just put it in context,” he said. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

“The capacity of the school currently is 116. But there are 136 pupils in the school. The school has been oversubscribed for the last six years. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

“We know there are 10 pupils in addition to the 136 who are on the waiting list to attend the school, and we know of a further possible ten that are in the system.” ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

“Approximately there are about 63 pupils awaiting assessment, and there has been a delay because of the pandemic. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

“If we take a conservative estimate of 40% are admitted to the school, that would add a further 25 pupils to the numbers already, and that would leave about 30-something spaces for growth. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

“We predict that demand for places is going to grow, and we believe that 220 is a realistic increase.” ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

The new school would be funded by the Welsh Government which has committed £23.8m for the project – 75% of the project’s cost. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

The remaining 25% will be provided by Denbighshire Council. Councillors heard how Denbigh High has another field that is underused, and survey works are ongoing to establish what improvements are needed to ensure the school can deliver its PE curriculum. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

By Richard Evans – Local Democracy Reporter ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

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