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Engineers called in to assess groundworks of Neath primary school

Abbey Primary School in Longford, Neath

An engineer’s report has confirmed the structure of an earth bank forming part of earthworks at the front of Abbey Primary School in Longford, Neath, is stable.

Concerns were raised on social media after heavy rain led to a run-off of some topsoil from the bank on Wednesday, June 29th , onto the school access road and footpaths.

The school was not closed and the contractors carrying out the works cleaned up the soil and have been working with Neath Port Talbot Council to prevent any further topsoil run-offs. This was an isolated event.

The school has also implemented an alternative supervised route for parents and pupils to access the site over the next few weeks until the school closes for the summer holidays.

The contractors have chosen the summer holidays to complete the earthworks as it will involve the use of heavy machinery.

A specialist membrane is installed in the bank to help hold the soil in place until such time as grass seed can germinate and naturally bind the soil.

Over the last week, the contractors have been carrying out works to prevent any further problems and have ensured any build up of water will go into a land drain.

Over the next few weeks and over the school summer holidays the contractors will add topsoil and grass seed to the school’s playing field so it can more efficiently absorb rainfall.

Work is also being done to fertilize the earth bank to encourage grass and other vegetation to grow which will help bind and stabilise the layer of topsoil.

Also, a gabion stone wall (steel wire cages filled with rock traditionally used to prevent erosion) will be installed at the base of the bank on its corner. While not required for the stability of the bank its inclusion will provide a barrier between the bank and the footpath.

Local member, Cllr Martyn Peters, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic and Community Regeneration, said: “We recognise there have been concerns but we have been dealing with issues around top soil run-off and both I and my fellow Dyffryn Ward member Cllr James Henton are happy with the mitigation measures put in place and with the engineer’s report about the safety of the earth bank’s main structure.”