CABINET members have postponed the decision to close two Welsh medium primary schools and open a new one on one of the sites.

Education department officers had chosen Dyffryn Banw County Primary School in the village of Llangadfan over nearby Llanerfyl Church in Wales Foundation School following a consultation last autumn.

This is despite Llanerfyl having more pupils.

Information given by Llanerfyl School governors at last week’s full council meeting contributed to a number of councillors questioning the advice given by education officers to choose Dyffryn Banw Primary School site.

They wondered why Dyffryn Banw, which had fewer pupils, was being chosen instead of Llanerfyl.

Since then Dyffryn Banw school governors have countered  saying that they would be receiving more pupils next year, debunking the claim that they are the smaller school.

At the Cabinet meeting Cllr James Evans (Conservative – Gwernyfed), Portfolio Holder for Corporate Governance, Housing & Public Protection, put forward the motion to defer.

Cllr Evans said: “There has been a lot of information submitted to councillors and cabinet members following the council meeting (March 7) and emails all the time.

“I need to be assured that the figures being given to us are right and correct.

“I don’t want to make the wrong decision on the wrong information.”

Adult services portfolio holder, Cllr Stephen Hayes (Independent – Montgomery), said he would not support a deferment as the consultation had been “very thorough and detailed”.

“If we defer this decision today, we will be causing more grief for these communities,” said Cllr Hayes

Cllr Aled Davies, finance portfolio holder (Conservative – Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant) is leading this process, as education portfolio holder, Cllr Myfanwy Alexander (Independent – Banwy) is the local member and a school governor at Llanerfyl.

He believed the decision should be taken today (Tuesday, March 12).

Cllr Davies said: “This is a very strong report, it’s already been a very long process. I’m happy with the work that’s been done.”

Cllr Davies added that he understood why some of his colleagues wanted more information but would be unhappy with a postponement

Chief executive Dr Caroline Turner advised the cabinet “I think it makes sense to defer any decision today.”

Dr Turner added that a report looking at all the evidence should return before the cabinet in around four weeks time.

Portfolio holder for Highways, Recycling and Assets Cllr Phyl Davies, (Conservative – Blaen Hafren), was willing to second the deferment: “We have seen a lot of conflicting information in the last few days.

“I’m aware the community has been divided  and split on this for some time, however I would rather we base our decision on facts rather than hearsay.”

To meet statutory requirements to close both schools on August 31, 2020, and open a new one on September 1, 2020, a decision would need to be taken by the beginning of May.

During the consultation held last autumn it was found that 83 per-cent supported merging the existing schools with 14 per-cent against.

Out of a total of 229 responses 61 per-cent wanted to see the new school established at Dyffryn Banw with 35 per-cent against.