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School land sale plan gets Cabinet backing

A sporty proposal to unlock the potential of land at a city school and boost the education of hundreds of pupils across the city has won the backing of Swansea Council's Cabinet.

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The local authority 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 Councillors have now backed a plan 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 now go out to consultation to the community and other interested parties.

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

It was part of a programme of identifying land which could be sold to help fund 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. 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 Rob Stewart, Swansea Council's Leader said: "This is good example of the council and our schools working together to benefit education across the city.

"I am pleased the governors of Olchfa have taken the opportunity to explore how their school could play a part in   improving education facilities for all children. In return this scheme gives them a chance to make a major investment in facilities for their school to benefit their pupils too."

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 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.

Notice will now 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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