The business case for a replacement building for a north Powys school has been approved by the Welsh Government – putting an end to hopes a leisure centre could be rebuilt as part of the plan.
Having been working on plans to build a new school for Machynlleth’s Ysgol Bro Hyddgen since 2017, Powys County Council has announced that a revised version of the plan has been met with approval in January 2023, six years later.
It is expected that the school will be open to pupils in 2026.
But a previous plan for a new learning and leisure campus as part of the plan has now been ruled out after costs spiralled to millions above the £48 million budgeted for the proposals.
Cllr Pete Roberts, cabinet member for a Learning Powys, said: “I’m delighted that the Welsh Government have approved our plans for a replacement building for Ysgol Bro Hyddgen.
“We believe that the preferred option will provide excellent education facilities for the next generation of learners. This option remains affordable within the current available funding envelope and protects the planned investment in other school sites elsewhere in the county.”
The project faced an unforeseen delay back in 2017 as a result of the collapse of the main contractor, Dawnus Construction Ltd.
In November 2020, a proposed £48 million learning and leisure campus was approved by the Welsh Government but has since been deemed to be no longer affordable in the face of spiralling costs in the current economic climate, jumping from £48 million to £66 million.
In October 2022, Powys Cabinet members confirmed only the school element of the plans will go ahead at a cost of £49.12m.
A new strategic outline case was prepared by the council for a 540-place all-age school at Ysgol Bro Hyddgen’s secondary school site to replace the current primary and secondary school buildings.
When built, the replacement building will incorporate early years facilities, areas for primary, secondary and post-16 education, a community room, an additional learning needs centre, wellbeing areas as well as external areas and a 3G pitch.
Subject to public engagement, which will take place in February, Powys County Council have stated that the design could also include a space for a public library.
The preferred option does not include leisure facilities, which will continue to be provided from Bro Ddyfi Leisure Centre.
The Welsh Government will fund 65 per cent of the costs at £31.37m, while Powys County Council will pay for the remaining £35 per cent at £16.89m.
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