Wales

Anglesey school closure plans for Llangefni backed by councillors

Protestors Image copyright LDRS
Image caption Campaigners fear school closures will threaten the future of Welsh-speaking communities

A bid to block proposals to close two primary schools has been dealt a blow.

Anglesey councillors voted to press on to consult on merging Ysgol Bodffordd with Ysgol Corn Hir and Ysgol Talwrn with Ysgol y Graig in a £16m revamp of schools in the Llangefni area.

Similar plans last year fell foul of Welsh Government measures designed to save rural primary schools from closure by considering all alternatives.

Officers said they were confident all other avenues had now been explored.

Campaigner Gareth Parry urged councillors on a scrutiny committee to think again about closing the 69-pupil village school in Bodffordd to make way for a new, larger £10m Ysgol Corn Hir.

Image copyright Eric Jones/Geograph
Image caption Closure of the school in Bodffordd could put the future of the community centre in doubt, campaigners claim

He said Bodffordd was a naturally Welsh-speaking school and there were fears over the fate of the community centre based at the site.

"We accept the problems facing Corn Hir and back a new building there," he said.

"But it needn't mean you have to shut our school. This is an unfair offer."

However, Ysgol Corn Hir governor Dafydd Jones said the current building was a "ticking timebomb" on health and safety grounds, adding further delays were "not an option".

There is also opposition to proposals to shut Ysgol Talwrn, whose 40 pupils would be relocated to Ysgol y Graig nearly two miles away in a £6m expansion plan.

A report to councillors pointed out that 41% of Ysgol Bodffordd pupils and 67% of Ysgol Talwrn pupils travel in from outside of its natural catchment area.

It claimed they had "unsustainable" average annual costs per pupil of £4,274 and £4,553 respectively, compared to the Anglesey average of £3,988.

New schools funded 50/50 by the council and Welsh Government would eliminate backlog maintenance and generate ongoing savings, the report added.

A proposal to federalise the threatened schools with others rather than close them was rejected, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

The final go-ahead for consultation on closure will be a decision for Anglesey's ruling cabinet on Monday.

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