Project to bring junior and infants schools together in Penyffordd is going ahead

Reporter:

David Humphreys

Plans to bring together two school sites onto a single location have been given the go-ahead.

Proposals for Ysgol Penyffordd’s junior and infants to be housed in a new building in a bid to modernise the school were approved by Flintshire Council's planning committee.

Abbots Lane Infants and Penyffordd Junior Schools merged to create the school – but the infants and juniors currently operate from different sites.

Despite a lengthy debate on the appearance and traffic issues posed, the new development was given the green light by councillors yesterday.

Cllr Dave Williams, member for Penyffordd who had campaigned for a new school in the village for years, said he could not support the plan and claimed teachers had “had a gun held to their heads” over the proposals, suggesting that if they had not supported it they would lose funding.

The new single site will hold 315 full-time learners and a 45 full-time equivalent place nursery.

The existing infants school building will then be demolished, and construction of improved car parking for staff and visitors and a dedicated drop-off zone for parents.

Concerns had been raised by John Sumner, who spoke on behalf of the Abbots Lane Residents Assocation and is a member of the Institute of Civil Engineers.

Mr Sumner said a traffic assessment did not reflect the number of staff and pupils nor did it provide sufficient parking for staff and visitors.

Space for emergency vehicles on site appeared “too constrained and could lead to unsafe manoeuvrers,” he said.

Mr Sumner said the council had a “duty of care to all residents and school children” and the proposals posed “massive” health and safety risks and “could endanger lives”.

Headteacher Jane Mulvery said she was “absolutely thrilled” at the prospect of combining the two sites situated a mile apart.

The current arrangement is “extremely inconvenient” and requires staff to split time, meaning limited opportunities to get the children together, she said.

Mrs Mulvery said a traffic plan is being drawn up to minimise problems and as more than two thirds of pupils live within 600m of the new build “traffic flow will be reduced”.

The headteacher said pupils were “very, very excited” about the proposals and bringing them all together under one roof was “the main benefit”.

Cllr Williams said he could not support the application despite campaigning for a new school in the village that is “desperately needed”.

He said he was “absolutely gutted” because the plans were “in the wrong place” and he had been “browbeaten” into accepting the location.

Cllr Williams said the community had not been involved with the proposals and questioned the traffic study carried out.

Cllr Derek Butler, Broughton South, said the building was “designed to give much-needed, better educational experience” and had “future proofing built in”.

He added: “We need to build capacities in our communities.”

Cllr Butler said reducing the size of the playing fields could be looked at to increase car parking space, adding: “Nothing's ideal in life but this is better moving forward for the people of Penyffordd.”

Cllr Chris Bithell, Mold East, said it was a tribute to the staff that they made a federation work and said he would “defy anyone” to find a school where traffic problems did not exist.

Cllr Patrick Heesom, Mostyn, was scathing in his criticism of the design of the building.

He said the proposals were “horrible,” “not very nice at all” and “like a mausoleum”.

Cllr Heesom said members were “deluded” if they felt it would be a testament to the education of children in Penyffordd, adding: “It's ugly.”

Planning officer David Glyn Jones said design is “subjective, not an exact science” and Flintshire Council considered the concept behind the plans to be “effectively realised”.

Councillors voted in favour of the proposal going ahead.

Email:

david.humphreys@nwn.co.uk

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  • Ripped off residant

    16:04, 08 February 2018

    Effectively realised before or after the brown bin decision?

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