Posted: Fri 12th Apr 2024

Concerns raised over timeline for new primary school in Wrexham

North Wales news and information

CONCERNS have been raised over how long plans to build a new primary school in Wrexham could take to move forward.
Wrexham Council’s executive board met this week to discuss proposals to increase capacity at St Mary’s School in Brymbo from 154 pupils to 210, along with 30 nursery places.
The local authority is also planning to relocate the school from its current base on Ael Y Bryn to a brand new building on the old Brymbo Steelworks site, which could allow for a further expansion to accommodate 315 pupils
The changes have been proposed due to an expected uplift in demand for school places caused by new housing developments in the village.
Councillors were told at a meeting on Tuesday (April 9, 2024) that a phased increase in the school’s capacity would take place from September 2025.
However, officers said the construction of the new building could take longer to complete, with an initial date earmarked for it to open in September 2026.
Brymbo councillor Paul Rogers (Ind) said he was concerned over the time-scales involved after villagers were first promised a new school in 2008.
He also expressed disappointment after some people objected to the proposals and highlighted the deteriorating state of the current building.
He said: “I would challenge any of those who objected to come and visit the school and see the conditions that our children are being educated in.
“It’s a Victorian building in desperate need of investment and unfortunately, it cannot be done on the existing site.
“In relation to the timescales for a new school, I just want to raise a concern.
“I don’t want to set high expectations for the community on this as we have been waiting for this new school since 2008.
“Can I have assurances please that subject to the land transfer proceeding, officers will do their very best to ensure that this school is delivered as soon as possible for the community.”
A total of 152 people took part in a recent consultation on the plans for the increase in capacity and new school building.
A report to executive board members showed that 63 per cent of adults and 66 per cent of children were reported to be in favour of the proposals.
An officer said the timeline for the new school was outside the council’s control due to the need for a development company to transfer land for it to be built on.
Brymbo Development Ltd, which owns the plot, has already constructed hundreds of homes on the old steelworks site, with more expected to follow.
Education officer Lisa Vaughan said: “We’d like the new build to happen as quickly as possible. We’re aware that this has been going on for a number of years now.
“This particular report, just to avoid any confusion, is to increase the capacity of the school from September 2025. In relation to the new build, that’s a separate process.
“It is reliant on the transfer of the land, it’s reliant on the approval of a business case by Welsh Government and it’s reliant on a planning application.
“We want to do our very best to have that school open on site from September 2026, providing everything goes smoothly.
“But I can’t sit here and guarantee that today because we’ve got to go through that process.”
Executive board members backed a recommendation to publish a statutory notice in relation to the proposals at Tuesday’s meeting.
It will see a phased increase in pupil numbers of 30 per year at the school, starting at reception level from September 2025.
It is expected a planning application in relation to the new school will be submitted at a later date.

By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter

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