Empty Caldicot school is off limits – police

Free Press Series: CONCERN: Caldicot Councillor Patrick Maycock-Jones for West End in front of the former primary school, which has become a magnet for anti-social behaviour CONCERN: Caldicot Councillor Patrick Maycock-Jones for West End in front of the former primary school, which has become a magnet for anti-social behaviour

CONCERNED people are calling for a former Caldicot primary school to be made secure as children are putting themselves in danger by getting into the building.

Parents say the former West End Primary, Masefield Road, which has been boarded up for more than a year could be dangerous and that more should be done to stop children getting onto the grounds.

They say the police have been called on several occasions after children as young as nine were seen gathering within the grounds where a fridge, suitcase and rubbish are among items to have been dumped recently in the playground. Windows have been smashed and youths are thought to have got inside the building.

West End Primary closed in 2012 and is now the subject of a planning application by Monmouthshire Housing Association to be demolished to make way for 18 homes.

Former pupil, Karen Taylor wants to see the building demolished as soon as possible to deter youths from entering the site and getting seriously hurt.

She said: “The gate is left open on occasions and they get in that way. It is dangerous. If they climb over the fence there is a risk of injury or they cut themselves on broken glass. The caretaker is no longer in the bungalow and there is no one patrolling the site.”

Mrs Taylor, of The Avenue, added: “As much as parents try to warn their kids they cannot monitor their every move. There is a danger of youths setting fire to it- it should be knocked down completely.”

West End town councillor and chairman of the West End Residents’ Association, Patrick Maycock-Jones said: “The police have been called to the site on several occasions due to anti social behaviour.”

“Windows have been smashed and someone got inside.”

“A few weeks ago rubbish, a fridge and a suitcase were dumped in the playground.”

Cllr Maycock-Jones, who led a campaign to turn the council-owned building into a community centre, said that nothing has been done to secure the site which is quite accessible over the fence.

“It has become an eyesore and a mess and when it becomes a demolition site will be dangerous.

“Kids aged around nine or ten have been getting onto the site.”

Gwent Police is warning parents to keep their children away from the site and warn it could be dangerous.

A Monmouthshire council spokesman said: “The council has taken the necessary steps to ensure the site is secure including boarding up doors and windows and installing fencing. We urge parents to ensure that their children stay away from such sites and to be aware of associated dangers."

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