PLANS for a “desperately needed” new school to serve a major housing development in Rhondda Cynon Taf are set to be considered with the council in danger of not meeting its responsibility to provide school places for all children in the area without it.
The application from Persimmon for a new primary school to serve the 1,850 house Llanilid development in the Llanharan area will go before RCT’s planning committee on Thursday, November 23.
The new school would accommodate 540 pupils, 480 between the ages of 5 – 11 and 60 nursery places. It would form an extension of the existing, neighbouring, dual-language Dolau Primary School and it would provide Welsh and English medium education.
The council’s 21st century schools team has said that the existing local primary school, Dolau, is now full given the number of houses that have already been built at this wider development (around 250) and so the council is in danger of not meeting its statutory duties to provide school places for all children within the catchment.
The report said that this means the development of this proposed new school is desperately needed in this area.
The school is being built as part of a wider 1,850 house development on the site of the former opencast coal site at Llanilid.
This was submitted in 2010 with the principle of development there accepted by the council in 2016.
Phase one for 216 houses was approved in April 2019, phase two for 421 houses was approved in May 2021, phases three and four were approved for 494 houses were approved in December 2022 and it is expected that the whole site will be developed through 10 phases in all with eight residential phases, a primary school phase and a mixed use area/town centre phase.
The plan for the school is a reserved matters application which considers access, appearance, landscaping, layout and scale.
The application site boundary, the site layout and the design of the school building have each had to be changed due to the presence of a high-pressure gas main close to the site.
Now the proposal is for a two-storey, L-shaped school building located at the north-eastern part of the site with yard and play areas to the south and access and parking to the west.
The new school building would be separated in to two main parts, a classroom wing and a hall block.
There would be two nursery, two reception and six infant classrooms, a main hall and kitchen at ground floor level and eight junior classrooms, a learning resource area and staff room at first floor level.
An outdoor yard area would be provided to the eastern side of the new building and a 3G all-weather pitch to the south of the site and the staff car park would have 39 spaces.
There have been nine objections to the plans which raised concern over increased traffic in the area in a village that is already very busy and will get significantly busier once all of the houses at this development are built.
They also said that the drop off / pick point seems inadequate for the number of children proposed at the school and the associated number of parents and that it will result in extra cars parking on the adjacent residential streets during drop off / pick up times to the detriment of existing residents.
They questioned the amount of electric vehicle charging points and raised concern over noise and disturbance to existing, surrounding residents which they said would be exacerbated by the proposed evening and weekend community use of the site.
They also raised concern over the infilling of the pond in terms of loss of habitat for many species and potential flooding.
Planning officers recommended approval in their report saying the principle of developing this site for residential purposes along with the associated primary school and town centre was accepted by the council in the granting of the hybrid planning permission in January 2016.
They said: “The new school and its associated development will bring a state of the art facility to Llanilid. It will be of significant benefit to the pupils of the catchment area and will relieve the ever-growing pressure on the existing Dolau Primary School, currently serving the existing Bryncae/Llanharan area and the new development at Llanilid.
“The applicant also proposes a wider community use for some facilities which will be an asset to all residents of the area. The development would have no undue impact to the character and appearance of the area, the amenities of neighbouring residents, or highway safety in the vicinity.
“Further, through considerable discussion/negotiation acceptable ecology mitigation/enhancement measures have been agreed.”