Plans to close Torfaen schools challenged
12:50pm Wednesday 30th January 2013 in News
TORFAEN’S cabinet decision to close three schools in the borough was challenged by two councillors at a special meeting yesterday.
Two Locks Nursery School and Kemys Fawr Infants School in Sebastopol, along with Pontymoile Primary School in Pontypool, will close at the end of August as part of a £257.6 million transformation.
Yesterday challenges were put forward by Cllr David Yeowell and Cllr Pamela Cameron at the overview and scrutiny committee meeting.
Cllr Cameron said she made her challenge after approaches by residents.
Cllr Yeowell argued an increase in birth rate and potential developments such as South Sebastopol could result in more children, and the council having nowhere to put them.
Both proposed for the scrutiny committee to make the cabinet reconsider.
Chief education officer Mark Provis said: “Closing schools is always an emotive issue, and members are right to test if the decision is founded. Torfaen has some of the worst schools in Wales and something needs to be done to address these issues.”
Cllr Cameron put forward an amendment to send the decision back to cabinet for reconsideration – it lost with 11 councillors voting for and 15 voting against.
The closure aims to reduce surplus school places and improve the use of school resources.
Statutory notices about the closures will be open to objections in the near future.
If no objections are received, the proposals will be determined with a report to the executive member.
If objections are received the matter will be referred to Welsh ministers.