A Welsh medium school campaigner has warned Cardiff Council’s plans to build a new school may split the local community.
A member of the TAG campaign for a Welsh medium school in Grangetown, Huw Williams, has expressed concern at the council’s list of potential sites.
Also voicing concerns was Viv Bartlett-McCarthy, a founder of Friends of the Grangetown Play Centre group, said: “I think they [the council] have earmarked the site for this purpose.” In her plans to oppose the site development she said: “Councillor Julia Magill has asked for a reaction on the geography of the sites being proposed. So she will get one!”
Cardiff Council have published a list of six potential places to build a Welsh and English medium school including on the already-used sites of struggling leisure and play centres.
Mr Williams said: “We would express our concern that a number of the sites identified include buildings that are already in use, and so we would warn against the Council leading us down a path that will have different sets of parents being set against each other in competing for their interests.
“This in our view would be unnecessary and irresponsible – the council should be trying to bring communities together, not divide them,” said Mr Williams, a father of a six-month-old baby.
On Cardiff’s Council’s list of potential sites is the Channel View centre on Ferry Road.
Grangetown Councillor and Council cabinet member Ashley Govier denied that the development would mean existing centres would shut down. “It [the Channel View site] would be a fully integrated site of play, leisure and school, no plans yet for any closure of that nature,” he said.
According to Mr Williams, the new list of sites is still a step in the right direction. He said:“It represents a victory in as much as we’ve secured a commitment to a two form of entry school in the Grangetown and Butetown area.
“That said, it is very difficult to respond in any substantive way given that the plans are very minimal and do nothing more than identify six sites for extending both Welsh and English medium places – so it’s difficult to see how things will pan out at the moment and which children will be going where.”
“It is disappointing we don’t have the concrete proposals we were led to expect. It’s disappointing things aren’t moving forward at the promised rate.”
Reacting to criticism over the delay in publishing the proposals, Coun Govier, said: “Has it taken too long? It probably has, but we’ve only been in office for 18 months.”
He claimed that at the time they assumed office, there were no concrete plans on the table. “There were no proposals at all, no land,” he said.
Coun Govier said he looked forward to the consultation stage. He said: “I’d like to see the schools in Grangetown.
“I’m interested to see what the people think”
A gig to raise awareness about the TAG Campaign will be held at the Lyndon Social Club on Clare Road tonight ( Friday) at 7.30 pm.