PLANS to demolish a secondary school just outside of Barry and rebuild it on the same site have been approved despite concerns about flooding.

The proposal to rebuild St Richard Gwyn Catholic High School off Argae Lane will see capacity there increase from 815 to 1,050 pupils aged 11-16.

A planning report about the scheme states the rebuild would ensure the school is able to meet demand for places and address the “poor condition and suitability” of the building.

It will also include a special resource base, taking the total proposed capacity to 1,110 pupils; a new sports hall; car parking; and a multi-use games area with a 4G pitch, running track and kickabout area.

Barry And District News: Plans for the new St Richard Gwyn Catholic High School Plans for the new St Richard Gwyn Catholic High School (Image: Supplied)

Barry And District News: A new sports hall; car parking; and a multi-use games area with a 4G pitch will be builtA new sports hall; car parking; and a multi-use games area with a 4G pitch will be built (Image: Supplied)

A member of Vale of Glamorgan Council’s planning committee, Cllr Ian Johnson, said he found it “odd” the rebuild had been earmarked for an area that has flooded in the past and criticised the consultation process.

He referenced that the school was just outside of Barry “but the statutory consultation was to the Dinas Powys Community Council as opposed to the councillors to the east of Barry and the town centre councillors”.

He noted consultation on major planning applications for places like Cosmeston and the area around Model Farm took into account the comments of multiple community councils and added that to not ask Barry councillors about the plans for St Richard Gwyn School was a “process failure”.

On his concerns over flooding, he said: “I have spoken with former pupils of St Richard Gwyn, ironically enough members of the Barry planning committee which wasn’t consulted.
“[They] remember their school days there and the first thing to ask was what were the plans to stop flooding.”

Vale of Glamorgan Council principal planner Stephen Butler said he didn’t feel the omission of Barry councillors from the consultation process was “an error at all on our [the council’s] part”.

He added press and site notices had been published about the application and plans were available to view on St Richard Gwyn School’s website.

To mitigate against the risk of flooding, a number of measures have been proposed, including the installation of swales – channels used to collect and move water – and drainage ditches.

Mr Butler said the kickabout area is also designed as an additional flooding area intended to manage flows from the Cold Brook.

As well as the additional pupils, the proposed school expansion would mean an increase in staff from 76 to 132.

Barry And District News: They'll be a running track and 'kickabout area'They'll be a running track and 'kickabout area' (Image: Supplied)

Barry And District News: There are concerns about flooding in the areaThere are concerns about flooding in the area (Image: Google Maps)

A report written by Vale of Glamorgan Council’s highways department last year recognises that Argae Lane “presents issues during peak times” and another member of the planning committee, Cllr Helen Payne, said cars often queue on Argae Lane during pick-up and drop-off times.

Cllr Ian Perry criticised the proposed increase in car parking spaces and the fact he couldn’t see any estimate of future carbon footprint measures for the building.

However, Mr Butler said there is no policy requirement currently for applicants to set out carbon footprint measures for large-scale developments.

He added: “In terms of energy efficiency, this is going to be a modern… development which is going to reach building regulations.”

Mr Butler also said there “has to be some acceptance” that a rural school will have more parking than usual and having parking inside the site will help tackle the issue of traffic on Argae Lane and “enhance pupils’ safety”.