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Land sale could boost sport for city school pupils

A sporty proposal could unlock the potential of land at a city school and boost the education of hundreds of pupils there and across the city.

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Swansea Council has been listening to and working with Governors at Olchfa Comprehensive School to find a way to make best use of land within its site.

And now a plan has been unveiled which could see a parcel of land at the school being sold to generate funding for improved educational environments there and at other schools.

The proposal will go before Swansea Council's Cabinet on June 16th and then out to consultation with the community and other interested parties.

The move comes after Swansea Council approached Olchfa with a proposal to dispose of land it believed was surplus on its site.

The proposal is part of a programme of identifying land which could be sold to plug the funding gap in the  21st Century schools capital programme to improve school buildings to boost learning across the city.

While Governors rejected that proposal they were willing to consider how their school could contribute and put forward alternative suggestions.

Council officers have worked with the school to come up with a plan to ensure the maximum benefit to the school and education generally. If approved it would mean Olchfa would gain improved sports facilities for all its pupils and its extra 3G sports pitch would be available for community use too.

Cllr Jen Raynor, Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Education said: "This is good example of the council and our schools working together to benefit education across the city.

"I congratulate Olchfa on seizing the opportunity to explore how they could play a part in a scheme vital to developing improved education facilities for all children which also has benefits built in for the school where land is sold."

Currently Olchfa houses 1,792 pupils aged 11 to 18 on a 28.24 acre site. It has a strong reputation for sporting achievement but has not got suitable sport facilities to meet the needs of all its pupils.

A red gravel pitch for girls outdoor PE is currently in disrepair and is not safe to play on and the tennis courts are unfit for purpose. The current sports pitches also do not provide a suitable environment for those with disabilities to access the opportunities afforded to others.

The proposal would see these replaced with an alternatively-sited bespoke outdoor, artificial games surface.

An all-weather pitch could allow more intensive use than grass and could also offer a popular community resource. 

The move would also free-up an area of land which would be suitable for sale for development such as housing, subject to planning permission

If Swansea Council's Cabinet back the scheme notice will be served and there will be the required consultation of communities and other interested parties.

Responses will be brought back to a future Cabinet for further consideration.

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