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A decision on merging two schools should be delayed

 
Created on 14/09/2019 @ 09:39
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Plans for an ambitious Rural Regional Centre earmarked for Newtown should be made public before two schools in the town are merged, a Powys county councillor believes.

Newtown residents and especially children attending Ladywell Green Infant School and Hafren Community Primary School could lose “green space” around The Park, said Cllr Daniel Rowlands who represents Llanllwchaiarn on Powys County Council.

He believes that childen’s education is being over-ridden by the arguments for building a “Rural Regional Centre” in the area around The Park where the schools are.

On Tuesday, Powys County Council’s cabinet will be meeting to consider a proposal to merge the schools.

If passed, the all through school for four to 11-year-olds would operate from both campuses.

But with the help of 21st Centuries Schools funding, they would eventually move to a new purpose built school.

This would make more room for the health scheme.

Cllr Rowlands said: “I have met with the school transformation team back in May and the Powys Teaching Health Board to discuss our concerns.

“My concern is that the education of our children is at risk of becoming superseded by the health and well-being programme.

“The green space both Ladywell Green and Hafren Juniors have at this present time, is so beneficial for our children and I am very concerned that this space will be taken away.

“When the health hub is built this will take up green space.

“It will also need a car park which again will take up green space.

“Before any decision is made by cabinet or council, plans need to be put on paper of the potential ‘what will it look like in the future?’

“This includes buildings, car park, pathways etc, so that the governing bodies of both schools can scrutinise them.”

Cllr Rowlands wants assurances that this will happen.

But, even before the cabinet agenda was made public, education portfolio holder Cllr Myfanwy Alexander had issued a statement backing the proposals.
In May, the Welsh Government announced that £2.5 million of funding has been made available for the Wellbeing/Regional Hub Centre project.

Although it is likely that the project would cost at least 10 times that amount to build.

This summer both local and health authority in partnership as Powys Regional Partnership Board have been consulting on the idea which is part of an initiative “North Powys Wellbeing Programme."

They held a series of drop-in sessions and an online survey which closes on Sunday, 15 September.

Services run from the centre could include some pre and post-operative care, day case procedures, diagnostics, outpatients and rehabilitation services.
According to the Partnership Board: “The Rural Regional Centre will link with Community Wellbeing Hubs and potentially with people in their home.

“The centre could also include primary education provision and supported accommodation, with links to leisure and outdoor green spaces.”

 

By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporting Service

 

 

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