A COUNCILLOR has said that primary school buildings in Welshpool, which will become vacant after staff and pupils move into a new site by the high school, should be used for social housing.

Cllr Phil Pritchard made the comment when Welshpool Town Council discussed writing to Powys County Council (PCC) to ‘highlight the need for social housing in Welshpool as a priority’. This motion was passed at the full council meeting on Wednesday, August 28.

Cllr Pritchard, who sits on the town council as well as PCC, said that “Welshpool is the biggest priority in Powys” for social housing.

He said that in Brecon, plans for a scheme have been in planning stages for nearly three years.

“It’s superb for that area,” Cllr Pritchard said. However, he said he was “disappointed” that Welshpool has not seen the same investment. “We need to see something like it. Something better, we deserve the best.”

“Coming up, two schools are going to become vacant,” Cllr Pritchard said; referring to the Oldford and Gungrog schools sites. He said that everything was “right” for it to suit elderly people; such as the fact that they would be nearby the doctors. “The last thing I want to see is PCC selling it off cheap to some builder.”

The councillor said that there are talks of Oldford School becoming an early learning centre, a move he would “fully support”. However, he still wants the other school site to be considered for social housing. “I do think we should let PCC know our views on it.” He said that Gungrog “lends itself perfectly for social housing”.

Cllr Richard Church said the town council needed to be “more specific” in its letter to PPC, especially as Neuadd Maldwyn is being developed as an ‘extra care’ facility for elderly people living on their own. He said that there is a particular need for two and three bedroom houses, which Cllr Pritchard agreed with.

Cllr Church also said that there have been properties vacant for more than a year: “If they put them back into use more quickly we wouldn’t have such a need for social housing.”