Plans for new Welsh-medium school approved in the face of opposition
Liam Randall, local democracy reporter
Plans to create a new Welsh-medium primary school in Wrexham have been backed for approval, in the face of opposition.
Wrexham Council is behind the proposals to transform the existing Borras Park Community Primary School site, despite concerns being raised by locals over parking and traffic issues.
It would result in the junior school building being refurbished and expanded to accommodate all pupils being taught in English.
The scheme would see ten extra classrooms being built within a two-storey extension, along with a new childcare unit.
The current infant school would then be completely remodelled to establish a new Welsh medium school for 210 children to meet the demand for places in the area.
The application has been recommended to go ahead by a senior officer in the face of objections from neighbours and community leaders, including members of Acton Community Council.
In their response, they said: “Acton Community Council welcomes the proposal for a Welsh medium primary school but is of the opinion that the existing Borras Park School site is a poor choice of location as the site was not built for this type of extension and concentration of pupils and vehicles.
“There are several concerns: there will be an adverse impact on existing traffic congestion in the vicinity of the school particularly as the Cherry Hill Drive, Norfolk Road, Mile Barn Road, Daleside Avenue and Hinsley Drive roads are already gridlocked at the start and the end of the school day with the existing school arrangements.
“There appear to be insufficient mitigation measures to deal with the additional volume of traffic.
“The queuing and volume of idling vehicles outside the school at peak times will add to the environmental impact, air pollution and a reduction in the quality of air outside the school.
“The road infrastructure does not have capacity for the additional traffic that will be generated as a result of siting a second 210 place school on this site.”
The council originally intended to open the new Welsh school last September by creating a seed school at the former Hafod y Wern Infants School site.
However, the plans were delayed after no first choice preferences were received from parents for reception places and only two for the nursery.
Executive board members said there was still a need for further Welsh medium places but agreed to postpone opening the school until September this year at the Borras Park Infants site.
The local authority’s chief planning officer has also voiced his support for the scheme.
In a report, Lawrence Isted said: “Consultees, including the community council have raised concerns in relation to potential traffic generation and congestion at peak times.
“This is an inevitable consequence of the way schools operate, but the problem only occurs for a short period in the morning and mid-afternoon.
“A series of measures will be introduced to reduce the impact upon highway network at peak times and to encourage more sustainable travel modes.
“These would include staggered start times for each of the schools, removing staff parking from the street and encouraging car sharing for staff and pupils.”
He added: “I am satisfied that provided staff and visitor demand is provided for on site, the main substance of parking demand throughout the day is catered for.
“In this instance the additional spaces provided will accommodate for the extra teaching staff and visitors.”
The proposals will be discussed at a virtual meeting of the council’s planning committee being held on Monday, February 1.