Mid Wales

New Hay-on-Wye school could cost Powys council nothing

A new primary school could be built in Powys at no cost to the taxpayer, it is claimed.

Negotiations between Powys council, a developer and the community are due to start in Hay-on-Wye.

If successful the existing school would be demolished and turned into shops with the developer building a new 240-pupil school on a different site.

Over recent years the council has been reviewing the future of most of its schools.

Seven schools with less than 30 pupils are expected to close while education officials have also been looking at the catchment areas of others as they try to address falling pupil numbers and the need to improve school buildings.

Cabinet Member for Learning and Leisure, Coun Stephen Hayes, said the Hay-on-Wye project was exciting but still at a "very early stage".

He added that it had the potential to deliver "tremendous benefits to the town and surrounding areas".

Possible benefits

Mr Hayes said: "If successful the initiative could result in a much needed new 240-pupil school in the town at no cost to the council, a facility that has been acknowledged as essential by the council's review of primary school provision in the Gwernyfed catchment area."

Discussions are expected to take place between developer Gaufron Developments, Hay and District Sports and Community Association Limited and the community.

"As with any major project there are risks and not everyone will agree with all aspects but the possible benefits to the town demand that the plans are fully investigated," added Mr Hayes.

Matthew Hall from Gaufron Developments said: "Ensuring the community's involvement in the emerging scheme will be very important to us and we hope that, in the coming months, we will be in a position to go out to public consultation to hear people's views on the plans."

Leon Morelli, chair of trustees of the Hay and District Sports and Community Association, added: "Having obtained full planning permission for the youth and community hall almost two years ago we have been working hard with Powys County Council and the developers to bring that permission to reality and are delighted with the latest developments."

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