Pupil number at a local primary school are to increase as part of an ongoing effort to meet the “continued demand for town centre places” in Wrexham.
Members of the executive board this morning unanimously backed plans to proceed with creating an additional 105 places at Barker’s Lane CP, along with building a new extension at the school.
A series of report have been presented to councillors over the past 12 months, with this morning’s meeting highlighting the responses received during a recent statutory notice period.
The plans for the school, which will eventually have a maximum capacity of 315 (plus 45 nursery places), come as a result of the “requirement to physically provide more places, particularly in the town centre”.
A report presented to the executive board this morning explains that during the current admission round 2018 – 2019 the Education Department was unable to meet the local demand within the town centre, meaning pupils for whom Barker’s Lane CP was their preferred school were refused.
The annual admission number will now increase by 15 places (from 30 to 45) for nursery and reception places from 2020 onwards. This will start with nursery (15 places) and reception (15 places) from next September.
A successful bid was also submitted to Welsh Government on the 1 June 2018 to fund 100% of the proposed extension required to accommodate the additional 105 pupils.
However the proposals have been met with concern by some residents in the area, who say the increase in pupil numbers will cause further traffic and parking problems for those living in the Barker’s Lane area.
Speaking at today’s meeting Cllr Debbie Wallice, who represents the Borras area, says that while she is not opposed to the plans, she cannot support them in their current form.
Describing the proposed expansion of Barker’s Lane CP as ‘controversial to some residents’, Cllr Wallice asked if the lead member had felt he had addressed the concerns raised by residents in the recent statutory consultation process.
She added: “Why have 24 residents who have signed a petition requesting that the planned access for the expanded site stays where it is. Surely this is Wrexham Council not listening to the concerns residents?”
But Cllr Phil Wynn, lead member for education, said he felt officers had addressed the concerns.
He added: “A lot of those issues relate to planning matters which fall outside the remit of this decision making that will be taken by the executive board today
“But there is the planning process and those concerns will be handled and dealt with through that process.”
Cllr Wallice asked if there were any other plans being made for the site, or if there was just the one.
Head of education, Ian Roberts noted that initially there had been a feasibility study rather than a ‘defined plan’, but subject to executive board approval today “detailed plans would be drawn up and we would be engaging with local residents to seek their views”.
There was also caution to councillors to focus on the “educational aspect” and the report in front of them, rather than specific questions about planning which would be dealt by the planning committee.
The report was approved unanimously by executive board members. A further report regarding the extension and access to the site will go before the planning committee for consideration at a later date.
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