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YGG Lonlas community information sessions

Thank you to everyone who took part in the YGG Lonlas community information sessions, and gave us feedback on the proposals. This is a summary of the process which was undertaken and the questions raised by local residents.

Proposal

The City and County of Swansea is proposing to build a new school at Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg (YGG) Lonlas, replacing the dilapidated buildings on site with a new fit for purpose school and facilities suitable for 21st century teaching and learning.

The proposals include:

  • Phased demolition of the existing poor buildings
  • Provision of temporary accommodation during the build programme to minimise disruption as far as possible
  • Construction of a new purpose built school on the existing site
  • Access improvements

Community information sessions

Community information sessions took place on 18 and 19 September and comments boxes were left in YGG Lonlas and Llansamlet Library.  All comments were collated directly after the deadline of 30 September 2013.

Process

800 leaflets were distributed to local residents in the Llansamlet locality.

2 Community information events were held on:

  • 18 September - YGG Lonlas, 4.00pm - 5.00pm, 30 residents attended
  • 19 September - Swansea Vale Resource Centre, 5.00pm - 7.00pm, 40 residents attended

The website was set up for local residents to access and register their comments/questions about the proposals. 7 people accessed this during the feedback period.

In total 25 residents sent in questions about the proposals.

Summary of the questions and comments which were submitted

When will the demolition start and how long will it last?
The proposed redevelopment of YGG Lonlas is a key priority project within the City and County of Swansea Quality in Education (QEd) 2020 Programme which aims to deliver a number of major new educational facilities in Swansea. Whilst the development is subject to further detailed proposals, in July 2013 the Welsh Government announced the approval of £4.5m of funding within the current financial year that would enable an accelerated programme of activities for three schemes including the redevelopment of Lonlas. As the existing school partially sits within the Llansamlet conservation area the demolition of some of the existing buildings will be subject to Welsh Government conservation area consent and will need to be referred to the Welsh Government Planning department for decision. However it is the Authority's aim to commence a phased demolition of existing buildings in January 2014 in order for the rebuilding of the school to commence. Further information on this will be provided as the project develops.

When will the re-build process start and when will the new school facilities open?
Local authority officers are currently developing the proposals for this development and are in dialogue with the Welsh Government 21st Century schools team. It is the intention to formally submit planning applications later this month and, subject to consent, it is the authority's aim to achieve completion of the new buildings in 2015. Further information on this will be provided as the project develops.

Why is the school being built on the existing site?
The authority has considered a number of options, however the existing site was considered most acceptable as other sites were subject to flood plain restrictions. Furthermore, the existing site affords other opportunities to meet the 21st Century school standard, having access to external learning areas including playing fields and informal habitat areas that are required as part of the Foundation Phase curriculum.

Where will pupils be taught during the demolition and construction phases?
All construction projects are subject to strict health and safety guidance and management. Throughout the project the continuity of education will remain a key focus with minimal disruption to pupils and staff. Authority officers will be working closely with the appointed construction teams and the Headteacher and Governing Body to examine all options. Further information on this will be provided as the project develops.

The School site especially the main school building on Walters Road has significant historical interest, will this building remain as part of the new school?
It is acknowledged that the existing main school building and some of the other existing buildings sit within the Llansamlet conservation area and will be subject to the constraints of conservation area status. It is the intention of the authority to demolish these buildings as they no longer meet the 21st Century school standard and even with modification will not fully meet the needs of the Foundation Phase teaching and learning environment. The fragmentation of the site makes the transition of pupils from Foundation Phase to Key Stage 2 more difficult and changes in ground levels are unsuitable for individuals with mobility problems.

However, the planning application for the proposed demolition will be referred to the Welsh Government Planning department for decision due to their location within the Conservation Area.  The outcome of forthcoming planning applications will ultimately determine the future appearance of the new school.  Further information on this will be provided as the project develops.

What is the design process for the new school?
The Department for Education and Skills Building Bulletin 99 sets out a briefing framework for primary school projects. This document outlines area guidelines for all types of space in primary schools. The authority intends to proceed down a two stage tender procurement process, selecting local contractors from the South West Wales regional contractor's framework. The first stage will be to develop initial concept designs through to planning stage. Once these have been agreed the team will progress the detailed design. When complete we will progress with cost certainty for the project, only at this stage will we then consider progressing to stage 2 which will be the commencement of construction works on site.

Why will all through provision in one building be better than keeping separate buildings?
The fragmented nature of the site with many separate buildings does not aid the transition of pupils in the Foundation Phase or from that phase to Key Stage 2. Delivery of the curriculum is further compounded by the constrained outside play spaces and poor topography of the site. The Foundation Phase curriculum advocates that children learn through first hand experience and play which places children at the heart of the learning experience, and in so doing helps development of personal, social and communication skills. YGG Lonlas is constrained in its delivery of these aims as buildings are in a poor state and not fit for purpose. The future design will incorporate fundamental principles to provide seamless provision. This will aid transition and provide both staff and pupils with a high quality learning environment to meet the national agenda for the development of Foundation and key stage 2 curriculum.

Will the new school have sufficient parking for everyone both during construction work and when the new school opens and what traffic calming measures will be implemented along the Llansamlet spine road?
A traffic assessment and travel plan will be undertaken as part of the project development. Further information on this will be provided as the project develops.

Will the main point of access to the new school remain on Walters Road?
Concept designs are proposing a preferred access at the lower end of the site off the Swansea Spine Road. However, detailed surveys and ground investigations together with the outcome of formal planning applications will determine the future layout of the school and site.  Further information on this will be provided as the project develops.

How will the noise and disruption to residents be managed during the re-development of YGG Lonlas?
The contractor when appointed will be subject to the Considerate Contractor scheme. These require the construction team to work in partnership with the local community during the building process. This will take into account the start and finish time of workers and the noise levels on the construction site. There will be regular communication between the contractor and local residents during the construction process.

What are the next steps of this project?
The local authority held community information sessions on 18 and 19 September and residents of Llansamlet together with key stakeholders were invited to submit comments on the proposals by 30 September 2013. The next stage of the process will be to submit planning applications for demolitions and a formal application for the proposed new build which will give the public a further opportunity to submit their views.

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