The Corporate Director – Education and family Support submitted a report, the purpose of which, was to:
• apprise Cabinet of the outcome of the feasibility study in respect of the proposed relocation and enlargement of Ysgol Gymraeg (YG) Bro Ogwr to the Brackla Hill site;
• seek approval to discount the Brackla Hill site from any future consideration in respect of the YG Bro Ogwr, Band B proposal; and
• seek approval to continue to explore alternative options for the replacement school.
He explained that the Band B Strategic Outline Programme (SOP) was submitted to Welsh Government (WG) in July 2017. In October 2017 Cabinet was presented with a report detailing the outcome of the Band B review and gave approval to discontinue the original Band B schemes identified in the November 2010 Cabinet report, and approved the revised Strategic Outline Programme (SOP) and the projects listed in paragraph 3.1 of the report.
On 6 December 2017, the WG Department for Education gave ‘approval in principle’ for Bridgend’s second wave of investment, which at that stage had an estimated programme envelope cost of £68.2m. Further costs were to be determined, and these would be associated with additional infrastructure capacity.
Following this, in January 2020, Cabinet was presented with the outcome of the extensive options appraisal relating to each of the approved projects.
The Corporate Director – Education and Family Support, added that Cabinet approval was received to progress an on-site feasibility at Brackla Hill in respect of the preferred education option for the Bridgend North East scheme ie 2.5-form entry (FE) YG Bro Ogwr on the Brackla Hill site.
In progressing the feasibility study, the Corporate Director – Education and Family Support advised, that the project team commissioned all relevant surveys, which have been analysed by the individual disciplines. Each discipline has had input into the final ‘Brackla Hill - Feasibility Report’.
The following sections of the report, contained a summary of the key aspects of the findings from such feasibility study (paragraphs 4.2 – 4.12, inclusive).
The Corporate Director – Education and Family Support concluded, by stating that when considering all these factors, it was the recommendation of the project team, that the Brackla Hill site is not taken forward for development of the new school. Alternative site options should therefore be explored, he added.
The Cabinet Member – Education and Regeneration thanked Officers for the report. He also thanked the Brackla Labour Ward Member and representatives of the ‘Save Our Fields’ Brackla group for their constructive engagement into the Feasibility Study proposals and outcomes and their overall consideration and engagement with Cabinet on the siting of the proposed YG Bro Ogwr school. He also thanked Carwyn Jones AM for his contribution regarding the scoping of funding options for the school (welsh and English medium) on a suitable alternative site(s) near Brackla, where the schools would be re-developed. He felt there was a need for engagement with the Brackla Community Council, with a view to protecting the green space originally proposed for the siting of the school(s) from developers, possibly through a Community Asset Transfer agreement being pursued sometime in the future.
The Leader echoed the constructive engagement exercise that had taken place between the Authority and the Brackla ‘Save Our Fields’ group in respect of the Feasibility Study, which had proven to be invaluable. The Council had to look after both its green/open spaces, whilst at the same time, also developing capacity for welsh medium education opportunities within the north east area of Bridgend.
The Cabinet Member – Social Services and Early Help added that she was pleased to see the safe preservation of Brackla Hill as an area of green open space, particularly as there was limited such areas in the nearby town centre area of Bridgend.
RESOLVED: That Cabinet:
· Noted the outcome of the on-site feasibility study in respect of the proposed relocation and enlargement of YG Bro Ogwr to the Brackla Hill site;
· Gave approval to discount the Brackla Hill site from any future consideration in respect of YG Bro Ogwr; and
Gave approval to explore alternative options for the replacement school