A CHARITY that promotes the teaching of pupils through the medium of Welsh is urging Powys County Council to “stand firm” in the face of opposition to education proposals in Welshpool.
Rhieni dros Addysg Gymraeg (RHAG) which means Parents for Welsh medium education have written to Cllr Myfanwy Alexander, the cabinet member for education, with their views.
Their intervention comes after it emerged that an application to turn Maesydre School into a listed building had been made which could jeopardise plans for the £13million revamp of education in the town.
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.
The site is 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, Welshpool Church in Wales School is expected to go to a new building near Welshpool High School.
Ceri McEvoy, Director of Development of RhAG, said: "We have written to the Cabinet Member for Education to express our genuine concern about these recent reports, which suggests that there are serious risks to the plans for long-term investment in Welsh medium primary education provision in Welshpool.
"As one of the sites earmarked for the redevelopment of primary school provision in the Welshpool area, the site is of great significance in terms of delivering the wider plan.
"It seems to us that this is a clear attempt to undermine the Council's efforts to deliver major investment in education provision in the town; proposals that have received the consent and support of parents, Powys County Council and the Welsh Government.
"The opening of Ysgol Gymraeg Y Trallwng in September was an historic milestone in the development of Welsh-medium education in Powys.
“This was a direct response to the Welsh Government's national policy to expand the provision of Welsh medium education and an important contribution to increasing the number of speakers to a million by 2050.
"We ask the Council to give assurances that they will present a strong case against this application and declare a clear intention to proceed with the proposed plans as they stand.”
Cllr Myfanwy Alexander, Cabinet Member for Education, said: “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.”
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.