Plans to tackle landslide risk which closed primary school
Hannah Neary, local democracy reporter
Neath Port Talbot Council is set to consider the actions it will take to address a landslide risk that prompted the closure of a nearby primary school.
Local authorities closed Godre’r Graig Primary School, Ystalyfera in July 2019 after a study by geological experts found a medium-level risk from Cilmaengwyn Tip linked to springs and groundwater near the school.
Earth Science Partnership said a stream blocked by bad weather could cause rising water levels and pressures in the tip and lead to material flowing downhill. The council is set to decide whether to pay the company to research further options for the site.
A report by David Griffiths, the council’s head of engineering and transport, outlines three options that will be considered for the site moving forward:
- Remove the spoil material linked to the tip
- “Hard engineering” including drainage work to protect Godre’r Graig Primary School from the slippage of any spoil material from the tip
- Demolish the school and use the site for “community benefit”
In 2017, around 20 residents were forced to leave their homes in Cynfyng Road, Ystalyfera after the council told them landslips behind the houses were “a risk to life and property”.
Mr Griffiths’ report states Cilmaengwyn Tip poses “a very low to low risk to residential properties in Godre’r Graig”, which is “usually acceptable to regulators” and risk to nearby cemeteries is “likely to be lower”.
But studies in 2020 found the quarry waste “may be, or has become, actively unstable”, which means “slopes where destabilising forces produce continuous or intermittent movements”.
Since September, 2019, pupils at Godre’r Graig Primary School moved into temporary classrooms at Cwmtawe Community School in Pontardawe, and have been there ever since.
Godre’r Graig Primary School is also one of three local primary schools that could be closed by 2024 to form a superschool.
The council will decide whether to pay Earth Science Partnership to research the three proposed actions and their expected cost during a meeting on Friday May 21.
If approved, the council would pay the company around £20,000 to conduct the study, funded by its revenue contingency budget.