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Listed building requests to stop school demolition branded ‘ridiculous’

Ysgol Bro Hyddgen in Machynlleth (Pic: Google Streetview)

MOVES to protect school buildings in a Powys town from demolition by giving them listed status, have been branded as “ridiculous” by a councillor.

It has emerged that proposals for a long awaited new £49 million school building at building for Machynlleth’s all through combined primary and secondary school, Ysgol Bro Hyddgen, could be thrown into disarray after requests to list the current building.

Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic and environment service has confirmed it has been asked to list the building.

Plaid Cymru group leader, Cllr Elwyn Vaughan, is also the chairman of governors for Ysgol Bro Hyddgen and has spoken out against the possibility of listing the current building.

Cllr Elwyn Vaughan, Plaid Cymru group leader on Powys County Council

Cllr Vaughan said: “What a ridiculous situation.

“We have a school where the boiler keeps breaking down, slates coming off the roof and water coming in.

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“We are in dire need of a new building, and someone is trying to undermine our young people’s future by trying to get Cadw to list it.

“A building which has plenty of other similar examples throughout the area.

“Let’s have some common sense for once and let us get on and build this new school.”

A spokesman for Cadw said: “We received requests to consider Ysgol Bro Hyddgen for listing in November 2023 and the request is currently being considered.”

How the new Ysgol Bro Hyddgen in Machynlleth could look (Pic: Powys County Council)

The proposal for the new school campus was first mooted back in 2017 and has been dogged by problems.

The original Bro Hyddgen project had fallen foul of the collapse of construction firm Dawnus in 2019 which led to the revised and bigger proposals.

In October 2022, the Liberal Democrat/Labour Cabinet chose to downsize the plans for the new Machynlleth school campus.

The new campus had been set to include library and leisure facilities which had been estimated to cost £48 million in 2020.

But by October 2022 the cost had shot up to £66 million.

Dropping the leisure centre from the project will see the costs fall back to £49.12 million with 65 per cent of the funding coming from the Welsh Government.

The revised business case was agreed by the Welsh Government in January 2023.

It had been hoped that the school will be built and be open to pupils in 2026.

Applications to list a building have impacted other recent school building projects in Welshpool that have caused delays and added millions of pounds onto the cost of schemes.

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