Home » Construction on a centre for vulnerable learners in Pontllanfraith is expected to begin this summer
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Construction on a centre for vulnerable learners in Pontllanfraith is expected to begin this summer

FOLLOWING its unanimous approval by the council’s planning committee.

Caerphilly County Borough Council is behind the plans, which also include a a four-court sports hall and a multi-use games area.

The centre will be built on the former Pontllanfraith Comprehensive School and aims to provide “high quality learning opportunities” for children aged between 11 and 16.

At the planning committee meeting on Wednesday, March 8, committee chair, Cllr Roy Saralis said: “I’m sure everybody is delighted with this opportunity we’re going to have in Pontllanfraith and I think we’ll see a huge benefit, particularly for children who have had difficulty in school.”

Previous plans for this site have threatened the closure of Pontllanfraith Leisure Centre.

However the application for this development says the proposals are not a “replacement” for the existing leisure centre, but rather “additional facilities”.

Cllr Shane Williams, who represents Cefn Fforest and Pengam, has previously campaigned against the closure of the leisure centre welcomed this update.

The proposed scheme will accommodate between 80 and 120 pupils and is part of the Welsh Government’s 21st Century Schools Programme.

Pontllanfraith Comprehensive closed in 2016 and merged with Oakdale Comprehensive to form Islwyn High School. Before being a comprehensive, it was Pontllanfraith Grammar Technical School.

What do the plans show?

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The former grammar school section of the site will be refurbished and extended to provide ten teaching spaces, rooms for small groups, a meeting room, staff room, main hall, teaching kitchen and café.

Covered seating areas will also provide spaces for relaxation and outdoor teaching.

According to the plans, pupils will have the opportunity to gain experience by working in the teaching kitchen and café, in addition to growing fruit and vegetables in the garden area.

The sports hall will have four courts, changing rooms, and a staff office. The multi-use games area includes a 3G pitch.

The design and access statement says the sports hall building, outdoor games, main hall and café space will be made available for community use outside of school hours. It adds: “Secure screen doors across the main corridor allow the teaching areas to be secured to prevent public access.”

The site will be accessed off Penllwyn Lane and in total, 46 car parking spaces are proposed.