£13million Welshpool school revamp could be dashed by listed building application for Maesydre school building

Reporter:

Elgan Hearn

AN APPLICATION to place listed building status on a school in Welshpool could derail the £13 million plans to revamp education in the town, it is feared.

CADW, the Welsh Government’s historic building and environment service, is consulting on an application to give the Maesydre School building Grade II listed status.

Parts of the building are set to be demolished with the site earmarked as the eventual home for Ysgol Gymraeg y Trallwng.

The school is currently based at the former Ardwyn Infant School, with the Welshpool Church in Wales Primary School based on three sites, occupying Maesydre, Gungrog Road and Oldford Close.

By 2019, the Church in Wales School is expected to go to a new building near Welshpool High School and Ysgol Gymraeg y Trallwng to go to a revamped Maesydre School building.

The application to list the site is made on its architectural style and Powys County Council has until January 2, to put forward arguments against the listing.

Plaid Cymru and Green group leader, Cllr Elwyn Vaughan, said: “This seems a clear attempt by someone to disrupt the implementation of a major investment in Welshpool, a much welcomed investment, supported by parents, Powys County Council and the Welsh Government.

“It is unbelievable that after all this time and effort by parents, school staff and council officers that we have a deliberate attempt to disrupt this major investment in Welshpool.

“The demolition of the old Ysgol Maesydre forms an essential part of the development and enables the formation of a Welsh medium school at Welshpool for the first time.

“One can only conclude that someone has a specific agenda to oppose such a development.

“Why else, after all this time, would someone want to list a crumbling, asbestos riddled building.”

“This is an exciting opportunity for Welshpool and let’s hope that Cadw sees this for what it is, a disruptive attempt, and that common sense prevails that allows this investment to happen for the benefit of all in Welshpool.”

Cllr Myfanwy Alexander, Cabinet Member for Education, said: “While we fully recognise the historic importance of this building and its contribution to the life of the town, we must look to the future.”

“The plans for the new schools in Welshpool have been carefully drawn up together and it would be regrettable if anything were to delay this ambitious project.

“The sooner all our primary pupils in Welshpool can benefit from high standard accommodation in which to learn, the better.”

Council officers are working with the design contractor to understand any potential impact to the schools construction project, in the event that Cadw confirms its decision to list the building.

The chair of governors, Lindsey Phillips, has already written to parents informing them of the situation and could call an extraordinary meeting of the school governors should the application succeed.

She said: “Council representatives are working with the professional architectural and design representatives to consider alternative options for the school should the listing of the building be made official.”

A spokesman for CADW confirmed that they had received the application and are currently consulting on a recommendation to list it.

Email:

elgan.hearn@nwn.co.uk

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