PLANS to house a community arts group and a children’s support service at a former Torfaen primary school have been given the go-ahead.

Victoria Primary School in Abersychan has been empty since July 2018 after Torfaen County Borough Council carried out a shake-up of schools in the area.

An application for planning permission to convert the school into offices and community use was submitted by the council in July this year.

The plans also included the demolition of the canteen block and 20 car parking spaces.


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A third of the site will be operated by Arts Resource Centre Torfaen (ARC), who will use the site mainly in the evenings and on weekends with the aim of establishing a variety of arts-based groups from knitting circles to life drawing classes, dance classes and drama groups.

The rest of the site will be operated by a children’s services regional collaboration programme called My Support Team (MyST). They will provide therapeutic wraparound support for children with complex mental health needs.

Both groups will be segregated for safeguarding reasons.

A report says: “The service has been adjudged to be so effective in reducing the cost of child-care placements that the model is being expanded to incorporate the other four Gwent area local authorities.

“MyST requires a larger central base, and partner local authorities prefer this base to be within the Pontypool area.”

Three letters of notice were received from neighbours in response to the application.

Questions were asked about when the work would take place and whether the plans included appropriate drainage, so not to impact on the nearby lane.

The delegated decision report says: “One resident is concerned that the car park will result in the loss of privacy to their garden area.

“They currently have a fence, which is in poor condition.

“However, the parking area is at a lower level and it is considered that this proposal will not result in a loss of privacy to this lower part of their garden.”

All refurbishment works will be covered by a £500,000 grant from the Welsh Government’s Integrated Care Fund.

The council has five years to complete the development.