Opponents attack cost of school site
THE site of a proposed new school in the upper Swansea Valley will cost almost £850,000 before any work can begin, claim parents opposed to the location.
And those opposed to a primary school being built at Brynderi say they fear one of the reasons an alternative location on the former Tic Toc site was turned down was because of a refusal by Ystradgynlais Town Council to allow access over a strip of land.
Town councillors say they had good reasons for turning down the request, however.
Now parents of children at Ynyscedwyn primary have formed an action group to lobby Powys Council with their concerns, and request they reconsider the proposal to develop the Brynderi site.
Signs have been posted around Ystradgynlais bringing attention to their campaign, and parents have been asked to sign a letter highlighting their objections to the Brynderi option.
They claim it would be a waste of taxpayers money, as it would cost "a minimum" of £850,000 to relocate football club Cwm Wanderers which currently has a 99-year lease on the site. The letter also states: "It is our understanding that the town council refused to release a small parcel of land to Powys Council, to enable consideration of the Tic Toc site, as a possible suitable location — as far as we are aware, no grounds have been given for the refusal of this sale".
Ystradgynlais Town Council has written to AM Kirsty Williams, and MP Roger Williams, explaining the refusal to allow access across the plot of land, which runs from the A4067 across the top part of a football pitch on the Ystradgynlais playing fields, and also includes some woodland.
The town council explained its decision by saying, to grant access would have meant the loss of some public space, breaching two public rights of way and the felling of trees.
Town councillor Wayne Thomas said: "As far as I am aware, the issue of access across the land was never presented to us in connection with the school modernisation programme. It was a request from Powys Council which we turned down for legitimate reasons.
"A lot of the reasons against the Brynderi site are based on snobbery in my opinion. There is nothing in that area for young people or for senior citizens. A school there would benefit the community in so many ways.
"Even if it means spending extra money on acquiring the site, I would argue that the community deserves it."
The dispute follows the authority's county-wide review of its education provision. Plans being considered for the Maesydderwen School catchment area would see 10 primary schools replaced with four.
The plans mean that, if approved, the four schools will take over education in the area from Abercraf, Caehopkin, Coelbren, Penycae, Ysgol Cynlais, Penrhos Primary, Cwmtwrch, Glanrhyd, Gurnos and Ynysgedwyn primary schools.
A Powys Council spokesman said: "There has been a full and transparent process. Detailed investigations have been carried out, additional meetings have been held and consultation has not ended.£