Council leaders are set to back the option of a new Welsh medium primary school for Grangetown and Butetown on land next to Hamadryad Park in September 2017.
The preferred option going to the council’s cabinet this week includes expanding Ninian Park Primary in Grangetown and St Mary The Virgin Church-in-Wales Primary in Butetown.
After a long, drawn-out and at times controversial process, council leaders are set to go down the path of least resistance.
A consultation exercise – involving more than 250 responses – found plans to build a new school near to Channel View Leisure Centre were the least popular options by some margin and had faced “substantial opposition”. There were concerns that the nearby Grangetown Play Centre would be affected by loss of space, with the offer of a community room as part of a new school not good enough.
Two options involved two new schools being built, one at Hamadryad and the other across the River Taff at Channel View. This came as a surprise to local councillors when they were put forward. Another option involving the closure of St Cuthbert’s school in Butetown – which governors were unhappy with – is also recommended to be rejected.
In its formal response to the plans, Ninian Park Primary welcomed the expansion in providing a permanent building in place of the temporary ones that are there at present.
Despite insisting that the Channel View leisure centre and play centre would not have had to close, education director Nick Batchelar in his report acknowledges that “many of those expressing opposition believed that these facilities were threatened by the possibility of a school being developed on the Channel View site. Additionally those is favour of establishing Welsh-medium provision did not want to cause any difficulties in terms of disrupting any existing services.”
This shows the how the new school at Hamadryad – along with an expanded Ninian Park – would deal with the forcecast deficit of 181 places in 2016
Although most of the demand for Welsh-medium places is in Grangetown, the option of building a 420-pupil school just over the river at Hamadryad was “attractive in that it would not cause any difficulties in terms of disrupting any existing services”.
Parents will be encouraged to use car-sharing, walking, cycling and public transport to reduce traffic congestion.
The first form of the school will open next September in temporary classrooms next to Ninian Park Primary School before transferring to the new building at Hamadryad the following year.
If backed on Thursday, the £14.8m programme for Grangetown and Butetown will go forward to the planning and legal stages.
Cabinet member for education Councillor Sarah Merry said: “We will continue to work closely with all interested parties as the detailed plans are developed and taken forward. Any concerns raised during the planning process will be considered and properly addressed.”