Wales

Vote to close Bala primary school despite protests

A Gwynedd primary school is to be shut down despite protests against its closure.

Councillors voted by 35 to 28 votes to close the Welsh-medium Ysgol Y Parc, near Bala, creating a "lifelong" school from three other local schools.

Residents had opposed the plan, and were protesting outside the council headquarters in Caernarfon as the decision was made.

Protesters said they would continue to fight for the school to stay open.

Under the reorganisation plans children at Ysgol y Bala will be moved into the catchment area for Ysgol OM Edwards at Llanuwchlyn.

Ysgol Bro Tegid and Ysgol Beuno Sant will amalgamate with the high school, Ysgol y Berwyn, to create an institution which pupils will attend from the start of primary education until they leave secondary school.

But Gwynedd council said it would be looking at the options for the most suitable site.

The full council vote followed an 80-strong protest outside the council offices from those opposing the plans.

Among the protesters were members of Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg (Welsh Language Society) who had trekked 70 miles (112km) from Tryweryn to Caernarfon over five days to protest.

The organisation has been campaigning to keep the school open and save money by federalising schools instead.

Cymdeithas chair Menna Machreth said the turnout at the latest protest showed the "overwhelming local opposition to these plans".

"We and the local community will continue to fight the closure of the school every step of the way," she said.

'Significant battle'

Ms Machreth said it was "incredible" that the council was "knowingly undermining this vibrant Welsh-speaking community".

"It's clear that the battle to save this school is significant for the future of every Welsh-speaking community in the country," she added.

A festival is being held in the local village on Monday 31 August as part of the school campaign.

On Wednesday the campaigners marched to the summit of Snowdon.

Before the vote Gwynedd council had described the proposals as "a chance to give Bala an exciting investment to develop education".

The education portfolio leader, Liz Saville Roberts, said that it was a "chance to enhance the resources in the primary schools in the town and we really need to".

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