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Eleventh hour bid to save school from demolition

07 Apr 2024 3 minute read
Godre’rgraig School

A last-minute petition to purchase a school at risk of being engulfed by a landslip has been launched by residents of a Swansea Valley village.

Plans to demolish Godre’rgraig Primary School were confirmed back in February, as a consequence of the long-standing fears over a nearby landslip.

The primary school has been closed since 2019 when concerns of a landslip from a nearby quarry spoil tip forced students to relocate to temporary portable classrooms on the sports field adjoining Cwmtawe Community School.

The site, which is scheduled for demolition on 8 April, is part of a complex situation that has previously been described as a potentially multi-million pound headache for the local council, as it looks to re-home pupils, while finding Welsh Government funding to build a new school in the village.

Eleventh hour

Residents of Godre’r Graig have now launched an eleventh hour bid to gain permission to purchase the building from Neath Port Talbot council.

Launched yesterday, the petition has raised nearly 200 signatures in 24 hours.

The petition states: “It has stood empty for nearly 5 years and is due to be demolished starting on Monday 8th April.

“Whilst many of us have been in communication with the council over the years, It is clear that the building will no longer be used as a school.

“This structure is part of Godre’r Graig’s heritage and it is vital to protect it, saving it for future generations. In private ownership this building has the potential to benefit this community in many ways.

“Neath Port Talbot council have considerable costs ahead of them with the demolition of the old school. We are asking for the opportunity to purchase the building and to save the council this expense.

“Please sign here if you support the residents with the purchase request for this heritage building.”

Demolition

News of the demolition was first announced in December 2022 after councillors ruled out two other options to re-open the school, including removing the quarry spoil tip or building a retaining structure above the school to catch any falling material.

It was also followed by a meeting of Neath Port Talbot Council in November 2023, where they approved a series of new school project submissions to the Welsh Government’s Sustainable Communities for Learning funding programme – with one submission for a new English medium school worth £17 million, to replace Godre’rgraig Primary on Gnoll Road.

However, at the time Labour opposition members argued that there was still a lot of work to be done before construction on the school would begin, adding that at such an early stage there was no guarantee the plans would actually be approved by the Welsh Government.

Parents have also raised concerns, fearing that the demolition of the current site before any funding is found to create a new one could result the closure of the school altogether.


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Evan Aled Bayton
Evan Aled Bayton
1 month ago

It seems futile to buy the building seeing that it stopped being used as a school because of the risk of a landslide. If there is a material risk of that happening then the building is without value and should be demolished and suitable precautions taken to prevent a landslide.

Leanne
Leanne
1 month ago

The risk matrix is based on the figures of occupation in the building as a school. The council decided to demolish the school as this was the most viable option for them. This took into account the cost and an ‘over cautious’ approach to safety due to it being considered as a school. If it is not a school then the risk becomes statistically low. If it not owned by the council then it does not need to be demolished. This applies to all the houses in the area. They are all at low risk. The risks of any slippage… Read more »

William Robson
William Robson
1 month ago

What’s new, the mountain has been on the move since December 1965. Why did the council do nothing then. That was around the time the A48(M) was built from Margam to Baglan was built. They had problems in Margam with the mountain moving.. This was fixed by drilling and freezing sub levels. The motorway is still there. Why has Godre’r graig been ignored. Why are the children being abused by the council by being educated in temporary buildings. Have these children not suffered enough with the disruption of COVID. This council could not run a bath let alone a multimillion… Read more »

William Robson
William Robson
1 month ago

Forgot to mention there are still brown field sites in port talbot that have rail access that would not have affected thousands of residents
The council staff do not care , the SENNEDD does not care

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