Call for centre plans to be made public ahead of Newtown school merger
Before merging two schools in Newtown – plans for the ambitious “Rural Regional Centre” scheme earmarked for the area, should be made public.
Newtown residents and especially children attending these schools could lose “green space” around The Park according to the local county councillor.
Powys County Councillor Daniel Rowlands, who represents Newtown, Llanllwchaiarn, is a governor at Ladywell Green Infant School and has children being taught there and at nearby Hafren Community Primary School.
He believes that children's education is being over-ridden by the arguments for building a “Rural Regional Centre” in that part of Newtown.
Tomorrow, Powys County Council’s (PCC) cabinet will be meeting to consider a proposal to merge the schools.
If passed, the new school would operate from both campuses.
But with the help of 21st Centuries Schools funding, they would eventually move to a new purpose built school.
This would make more room for the health scheme.
Councillor Rowlands said: “I have met with the school transformation team back in May and the Powys (Teaching) Health Board to discuss our concerns.
“My concern is that the education of our children is at risk of becoming superseded by the health and well-being programme.
“The green space both Ladywell Green and Hafren Juniors have at this present time, is so beneficial for our children and I am very concerned that this space will be taken away.
“When the health hub is built this will take up green space.
“It will also need a car park which again will take up green space.
“Before any decision is made by cabinet or council, plans need to be put on paper of the potential ‘what will it look like in the future?’
“This includes buildings, car park, pathways etc, so that the governing bodies of both schools can scrutinise them.”
Councillor Rowlands wants assurances that this will happen.
But, even before the cabinet agenda was made public, education portfolio holder Councillor Myfanwy Alexander had issued a statement backing the proposals.
In May, The Welsh Government announced that £2.5 million of funding has been made available for the Wellbeing/Regional Hub Centre project.
Although it is likely that the project would cost at least 10 times that amount to build.
This summer both local and health authority in partnership as Powys Regional Partnership Board have been consulting on the idea which is part of an initiative “North Powys Wellbeing Programme”.
They held a series of drop-in sessions and an online survey, which has now closed.
Services run from the centre could include some pre and post-operative care, day case procedures, diagnostics, outpatients and rehabilitation services.
According to the Partnership Board: “The Rural Regional Centre will link with Community Wellbeing Hubs and potentially with people in their home.
“The centre could also include primary education provision and supported accommodation, with links to leisure and outdoor green spaces.”