Posted: Thu 8th Feb 2024

£35m special school planned to replace outdated facility in Wrexham for people living in or visiting the Wrexham area
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Feb 8th, 2024

Plans have been revealed for a new £35m special school in Wrexham to replace an “outdated” existing one.

The proposals would result in the redevelopment of the St Christopher’s School site on Stockwell Grove.

Wrexham Council’s lead member for education discussed the plans, which are curently in their early stages, at a meeting of the local authority’s executive board on Tuesday (February 6, 2024).

Speaking during an update on the council’s revenue budget, Cllr Phil Wynn said: “One of our priorities is to build a brand-new special school in Wrexham because the current St Christopher’s school has exceeded its shelf life.

“That’s a commitment we’ve made and it’s probably going to cost £35m plus.”

Following questions about the proposed location, he later added: “There are extensive grounds at St Christopher’s and adjacent at Bodhyfryd so we are looking to place it on the same site.

“We need the architects to come back to flesh out the ideas about what the purpose of the building is and the design will follow off the back of that.”

St Christopher’s provides education for pupils aged from six to 19-years-old who have a range of complex learning and development needs.

The school was last inspected during March last year, with a report highlighting that pupils are happy and make “strong progress”.

However, inspectors from Estyn said that some classes are overcrowded and the building “limits learning opportunities”.

Concerns were also raised during Tuesday’s meeting about parking issues in the area around the school.

Local councillor Graham Rogers asked for assurances that extra parking would be provided if a new school is built at the site.

He said: “As many of us know, you’ve got problems there with parking. I have submitted a petition signed by 98 per cent of residents that it affects in that particular area.

“The question is whether there will be a facility for ample parking on that particular site.

“I do believe from knowing the site and from past conversations I’ve had with the headmistress, there is ample room on the site to provide additional parking to get cars and vehicles off the road.

“At certain times of the day, especially when children are being picked up from school, there’s one hell of a dilemma there.”

Cllr Wynn said he would be happy to share the designs for the new school with Cllr Rogers once they have been received.

The council is currently waiting for detailed plans to be drawn up by architects and it’s likely that a full planning application will then be submitted at a later date.

By Liam Randall – BBC Local Democracy Reporter

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