Wales

Ystalyfera landslide-risk school's portable classroom use defended

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Media captionSome parents have complained of a lack of information about what is happening

Parents of pupils at a school which closed over concerns about the risk of a landslide have criticised a council's handling of the situation.

Godre'r Graig Primary School, near Ystalyfera, Neath Port Talbot, shut a week before the summer holidays.

Pupils are due to be taught in portable classrooms at a comprehensive school three miles (4.8 km) away from Monday.

Neath Port Talbot Council leader Rob Jones has defended comparisons to disasters such as Aberfan.

He said: "We've basically re-built a whole school in six weeks, which I think is remarkable for any local authority. We have done our best in very difficult circumstances."

Image caption Rob Jones claims the authority is doing all it can

The portable classrooms "are standard" and used across the country, he added.

"They've been completely refurbished, they will be safe, they will be user-friendly and they are the best we can do under the circumstances."

At the time of the school closure, Mr Jones made a comparison to Aberfan, where 144 people including 116 children died.

Some residents called the comparison "an insult to the suffering of the people of Aberfan", however, Mr Jones said any event which includes a school and a quarry spoil "cannot remove those images from their mind or comparisons of that terrible disaster".

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Media captionLandslides are part of life for some residents of the Swansea valley

Investigative work will be taking place at the school, but parents claimed there has been a "severe lack of information" about what is happening.

Father-of-two Ben Holdsworth said: "We've all had time to digest that risk assessment and it seems that the risk is very, very, very small.

"In fact it says that it's once in a thousand years if the water courses remain blocked, and even then, the risk is to some stone landing in the playground.

"Surely it would have been cheaper to clear the water course and solve the problem, rather than spend nearly half-a-million pounds of public money on a temporary solution?"

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