ASSURANCES have been given that The Park in Newtown would be big enough to accommodate a mini hospital and new school.

On Tuesday morning, January 7,  Powys County Council’s (PCC) cabinet met to rubber-stamp the merger of  Ladywell Green Infant School (aged four to seven years) and Hafren Community Primary Junior School (seven to 11 years) by September 1, 2021.

Just before Christmas (Friday, December 20) the full council met to discuss the schools merger.

Councillors gave an opinion in favour of the merger, but also cautioned that the site in Newtown is where the North Powys Wellbeing Programme could build a “mini-hospital”.

The programme run by PCC and Powys Teaching Health Board was given £2.5 million by the Welsh Government in May 2019 to start the health and well being project.

Part of this project would be to build a small or community hospital,  bringing health and social services together under one roof.

The area being earmarked for this development is The Park in Newtown near these schools.

A new build school following the merger could become part of the wellbeing/health hub.

Adult social services portfolio holder, Cllr Myfanwy Alexander (Independent Banwy), said: “The site was raised in council and I want to put on record that as far as the management of the North Powys project is concerned, there is room on that site for the North Powys project and a school.

“I don’t think that can be said often enough.”

Former education portfolio holder Cllr Alexander added: “There is no either or.

“It’s a very large site in terms of the amount of space that there is, Ysgol Dafydd Llwyd was there until recently.

“I would not like anyone to read the minutes and think that a (new) school would be built on the other side of the Tec (Newtown College) which is a rumour going around Newtown.”

Council Leader, Cllr Rosemarie Harris (Independent – Llangynidr), added: “That’s a very important clarification, there is plenty of room it’s a very big site.”

Education portfolio holder, Cllr Phyl Davies (Conservative – Blaen Hafren), said: “This decision is not about the site it’s about the schools and changing a primary setting.”

“This has been well aired in a number of papers (reports) over the last two years really. It’s the second to last ‘split’ that we have in the county of junior and infant schools.

“We can make efficiencies in this way and provide better education in one fully resourced school.”

It is now expected that Statutory Notices will be published by the end of the month (January).

A further report will then be discussed by the cabinet probably before Easter, summarising any opposition to the move before a final decision is made.

The only other “split” infant and junior school left in Powys, is Mount Street Nursery and Infant School and Mount Street Junior school in Brecon.