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Design lead appointed for school and community development in Glyn-coch

Glyncoch-artist-impression - Copy 2

The Council is delighted to announce it has appointed a contractor to develop the design of the innovative primary school and community hub for Glyn-coch – being delivered in partnership with Welsh Government by 2026.

In March 2023, the exciting project was announced as one of three successful project proposals from across Wales to receive full funding of up to £15m from Welsh Government’s Sustainable Schools Challenge. Design proposals include green technologies such as rain gardens and nature-based solutions to managing surface water. The new building will achieve Net Zero carbon in operation and will be utilised as a well-being and community hub, while providing an active learning zone to teach engineering principles, ecology, and land management.

The school will welcome pupils from Cefn Primary and Craig yr Hesg Primary, serving their combined catchment area. It will be built on the current Craig yr Hesg Primary school site and land adjacent to it (the former Ty Gwyn Pupil Referral Unit). The English medium primary school will include nursery and Learning Support Class provision. The new building will also accommodate a Welsh medium childcare provision.

Concept designs for the school have been in development since last summer and now the project has reached an important milestone with the appointment of Willmott Dixon to lead on the development’s design up until construction.

Willmott Dixon will progress the design process, culminating in a pre-planning application consultation with residents and statutory consultees to help shape the final plans. These will then be submitted as a planning application for the formal consideration of the Council’s Planning and Development Committee.

Pupils, school staff and residents have been heavily involved in the process so far, and Willmott Dixon will continue to seek their valuable input throughout the design process, to ensure the school is tailored to the community’s needs.

A Community Stakeholder Forum has also been established in relation to the dedicated community facilities that will be included as part of the community hub. The Forum is made up of local representatives and Council service areas, working together in a collaborative design approach for this part of the development. This will ensure the facilities that are provided will meet the needs of the community.

The Council will also soon launch a dedicated webpage, to provide regular progress updates and keep residents informed about the project’s progress.

Councillor Rhys Lewis, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Youth Participation and the Welsh Language, said: “I’m very pleased that the Council has now signed a contract to appoint a design lead for the fantastic school and community development in Glyn-coch. The Council has an excellent working relationship with Willmott Dixon, and among the previous projects we have delivered together is Llys Cadwyn in Pontypridd town centre, that now operates as a key hub in the heart of the community.

“The Glyn-coch development will provide a much-needed modern school for the community, replacing two older buildings with first-class facilities that are fit for the 21st Century. We were delighted to secure full funding for this school last year, following an exceptional bid to Welsh Government’s Sustainable Schools Challenge – and we’ll continue to work closely with Welsh Government throughout its delivery. A key focus of the school’s design is finding innovative ways to achieve the ambitions of the Sustainable Schools Challenge, such as the use of natural materials and the involvement of pupils in the design process – conforming to the new Curriculum for Wales.

“The investment is being delivered alongside our partnership with Welsh Government and its Sustainable Communities for Learning Programme, to bring modern education facilities to even more of our communities. A £75.6m investment across Greater Pontypridd is progressing major schemes in Cilfynydd, Beddau, Hawthorn and Rhydyfelin – along with brand new primary school buildings in Llantrisant, Church Village, Pontyclun and Ferndale.

“Good progress has been made with the concept design of the new school and community hub for Glyn-coch, having started this process in July 2023. Willmott Dixon’s appointment will ensure the design process is further progressed – ultimately towards a pre-application consultation with the community ahead of a final planning submission. An important part of this process is engaging with the community, and we are ensuring that residents, young people and school staff from Glyn-coch are at the heart of the process of designing their new facility.”

Jeremy Miles, the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, added:“Schools are much more than bricks and mortar. Well-designed buildings can play their part in tackling the climate emergency, supporting staff and learners with education, and providing a space for the local community to get together.

“It’s fantastic to see Glyn-coch’s new school and community hub take another step forward. Not only will this provide a modern space for learners, but by involving them in the design and creation of their school, they will learn how decisions taken today have an impact on their future.

“I am also pleased that plans include proposals to introduce a higher level of Welsh-medium provision from the outset – starting from its childcare provision, progressing to more Welsh language play and learning opportunities over time.

“Learning about sustainability is mandatory within our new Curriculum for Wales. This project presents a great opportunity to inspire learners and realise the Curriculum’s aim to develop ethical, informed citizens.”

Posted on 05/02/2024