Consultation for £12.6m Welsh medium school to go ahead after row over its location is resolved
Ted Peskett, local democracy reporter
A consultation into hotly contested plans to build a new Welsh-medium school has been given the green light to go ahead.
The Cabinet of Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC) agreed to go ahead with the consultation into plans to provide Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Ogwr in Brackla, Bridgend with a new state of the art premises at a meeting on January 18.
A vacant brownfield site that backs on to Brackla industrial estate has been acquired by the council, allowing the Cabinet to agree to carry out a public consultation.
The announcement comes almost a year after BCBC ruled out the 14-acre site known locally as Brackla Hill as the location to build the school after a study revealed that the land was unsuitable.
Initial plans to build on Brackla Hill were met with fierce opposition from residents, who feared the loss of green space frequently used for exercise.
A campaign group set up by residents called Save Our Fields set up a petition in July 2020 that acquired over 8,000 signatures against the development.
In a statement posted on social media, Brackla resident Alan Drury said: “Whilst we appreciate that there will never be a location that is 100% perfect for everyone, our campaign has never been about the school being built, just the proposed location.
“Brackla Hill was never the right location for this development, and should never have even been a consideration for one of the last remaining open green spaces here in Brackla.”
Mr Drury, who led the Save Our Fields campaign, added that he hopes the council have learnt a “valuable lesson” and that they will “carefully consider the impact on the community when making any future planning decisions”.
The vacant site at Ffordd Cadfan will be used to provide Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Ogwr with bigger, more modern premises, a new 90-place nursery and a new Welsh-medium observation and assessment facility.
Conservative Bridgend County Borough Councillor for Brackla, Kay Rowlands, said: “I welcome the decision to build a new school between Coity and Brackla.
“I am pleased that BCBC listened to residents and changed the proposed location of the school, which was originally proposed to be built on Brackla green open space.
“The school will now be built in the ideal location between Brackla and Coity.”
Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration, Councillor Charles Smith, said: “A year ago, when we discounted plans for building the new school on land at Brackla Hill, we stated that we remained fully committed towards providing the community of Bridgend County Borough with an all-new Welsh-medium primary.
“As well as providing Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Ogwr with modern new premises close to the site of the existing school, we also said that we would explore how the Bro Ogwr site could be used to establish an all-new English medium primary school as well.
“Today’s decision demonstrates that we are delivering on that promise as part of our ongoing school modernisation programme, and that we remain committed towards providing local children with the very best educational facilities possible.”
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