Page last updated at 15:57 GMT, Friday, 20 March 2009

School shake-up notice published

Llanrumney High School sign
A replacement school would be built on recreation grounds

Official plans to replace two Cardiff secondary schools with one on a new site have been published.

Opponents have two months to object to replacing Llanrumney and Rumney high schools with one on recreation grounds.

In an explanatory note, Cardiff council said the "state-of-the-art" school would have excellent facilities.

But the council denied claims that any proceeds from land sales would be spent outside the area, and said they would all go on the local school.

The new school would be built on part of the Rumney recreation ground.

The official notice, published in the Western Mail, said the open land lost would be "more than compensated for" by opening up the existing school sites.

'Family silver'

Opponents said they supported the merger but not the proposed location.

In a referendum of local residents, 93% voted against the plans, on a turnout of 27.6%.

A statement from RREEL (Rumney Recreation and Eastern Leisure Centre) Action Group said the council had ignored the referendum, an 8,000 signature petition and 3,500 letters of objections.

The group also claimed that the council was proposing the areas were being sold off "to fund city-wide school re-organisation".

We understand the concerns people in the community have, but we believe these proposals provide the best educational solution for children
Councillor Freda Salway

But that claim was rejected by the council, which said: "RREEL are incorrect in their claims.

"All proceeds from any land sales in Rumney/Llanrumney will be spent on the new school for Rumney/Llanrumney.

"This will also only represent a small part of the considerable investment in the east of the city if these proposals go ahead.

The proposals will require the approval of the Welsh Assembly Government if objections are made.

The explanatory note said the two existing schools are in a poor physical condition and have a high number of surplus places.

A replacement school would be on a new site to avoid the impression of one school "taking over" another.

But it also said funding depended to a "significant extent" from the sale of parts of the old sites.

A refurbishment of the Eastern Leisure Centre is also included in the plans.

Existing playing fields and new all-weather pitches will be shared between the school and residents.

In December, councillors voted to approve the scheme as part of plans to cut 8,000 surplus school places in the city, which cost 3m a year.

Councillor Freda Salway said: "We understand the concerns people in the community have, but we believe these proposals provide the best educational solution for children in the local community."

She added: "I am fully aware that being able to use public open space is important to any community and understand how strongly people feel at losing some existing parkland."

She said that although some of the parkland at the Eastern Leisure Centre site would be lost, there would be more land overall.

"I understand that these plans are causing anxiety," she said.

"We are bringing forward these proposals not only to tackle the problem of surplus places in our schools but also because we want to take this opportunity to make a multi-million pound investment in education which will enhance community facilities, create extra public space overall and give us a school of which we can be justifiably proud."

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SEE ALSO
Referendum 'no' to school plans
18 Feb 09 |  South East Wales
Fate of some city schools decided
14 Jul 08 |  South East Wales

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