Ian Lucas MP is pressing Wrexham County Borough Council to reconsider plans to locate a Welsh language school in Borras.
While Mr Lucas says he fully supports the building of such a school in the borough, he says the site proposed by the council is unsuitable for a range of reasons, with the main concerns being over increased traffic and demand for parking.
Wrexham’s MP has written to the council and Mike Davies, Independent councillor for the Rhosnesni ward, where the new 210-pupil school would be situated, outlining his views.
A proposal to consult on the setting up of a Welsh medium school was voted through by the council’s Executive Board at a meeting on Tuesday – with one rare vote against.
It would initially be located at the Hafod y Wern infant site but would eventually move into a permanent home in the infant building at Borras Park Community Primary School, with the refurbishment due to be ready September 2021. Infant pupils at Borras Park would be moved further up the road into the school’s junior classrooms, which are also to be redeveloped.
Mr Lucas is worried by the congestion a new school would bring to an already busy road – and says a more suitable location should be found.
He said: “I fully support the idea of building a new Welsh language school in Wrexham but the problem I have is with the proposed location on Borras Park Road.
“The proposal envisages a 50% increase in pupil numbers with the addition of the new school. Logically, it would increase current congested access by 50%.
“I can’t see how a relatively small residential street will handle the increase in traffic – particularly at school opening and closing time – and am not surprised residents have raised objections.”
The start times of the Welsh school and Borras Park Primary would be staggered by 15 minutes, in an effort to ease the build-up of traffic, while ‘walking buses’ (where groups of pupils are walked to school by staff members along a specific route – described as a ‘crocodile’ method in a recent meeting) would also be introduced.
Mr Lucas says staggering start times would have only a ‘negligible’ effect and walking buses would be ‘inadequate’ as children would be arriving from a wide catchment area and most would need to be brought in by car.
The MP is also worried about parking around such a congested area, “The more parking provision that exists on site, the less land is available for educational use,” he said. “The overall impression is that of increasingly seeking to put a quart into a pint pot.”
In the Executive Board meeting this week some similar concerns were raised by Cllr Bill Baldwin, who was effectively told that such issues should be dealt with at the planning state of any development, rather than at this stage in the process.