NEWPORT City Council will push ahead with knocking down one of the city’s primary schools, where the main building has been deemed unsafe by inspectors.
Cabinet members approved the plan for an “early demolition” of Millbrook Primary School, in Bettws, which has become a hotspot for crime since pupils were moved to temporary classrooms in the summer of 2022.
It will cost an estimated £600,000 to knock down the “vacant and obsolete” building, and the intention is for a new school to be built in its place, council leader Jane Mudd said at a meeting on Wednesday September 13.
She told colleagues inspectors had warned the school “could not be reoccupied without extensive” works – the council’s position now is that it is more viable to build a new school rather than undertake those costly repairs.
Pupils and staff were forced to begin the last school year in temporary classrooms at an adult training centre in Brynglas, two miles away, when inspectors found structural problems in the main building at Millbrook Primary that summer.
The extent of the issues has meant those temporary arrangements will continue for the current 2023/24 school year.
Deputy council leader Deb Davies told the cabinet it had been a “very difficult year for the school, for the staff, for families and most importantly the children”.
She extended a “huge thank you” to the Millbrook Primary community and said a new school would provide a better future for education in that part of Newport.
“As a phoenix rises from the ashes, we will see a new primary school for Bettws,” she said, noting that demolishing the current building was the “sensible solution”, given its problems.
“There is a promising future for the children of Bettws,” she added.
Ahead of the meeting, Bettws ward councillor Kevin Whitehead said the school had been caught between “rock and a hard place”.
“The demolition of Millbrook is a sad outcome for a school with a fabulous academic and sporting history, but time has caught up with the dated building making it unsafe for further use,” he told the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
“The positive outcome will be a new and modern building, [but from] listening to parents on the ground, the time the whole process will take is the downside.”