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Public Consultation opens on new Willows High School

Willows High School

Members of the public are invited to share their views on the works associated with the establishment of new build accommodation for Willows High School.

The consultation marks the next stage in the development to relocate and rebuild the secondary school on land off Lewis Road, Splott. If plans are progressed, the new school would boast a range of comprehensive facilities which would be available for public use outside of school hours and would be delivered under Cardiff Council and Welsh Governments Band B Sustainable Communities for Learning Programme.

The Pre-ApplicationConsultation runs until Tuesday 16 August 2022 and allows people to have their say on the enabling works associated with the scheme, before a planning application is submitted to Cardiff Council’s Planning Committee. Proposals include;

  • A stopping up order on Lewis Road and relevant highways works, to allow development to take place
  • Construction of active travel routes to the eastern perimeter of site
  • Installation of new utilities and relocation of existing services
  • Excavation and groundworks including the removal of contaminated material following disturbance of ground
  • Demolition of existing buildings located on Portmanmor Road and at Splott Market site
  • Installation of secure fencing around site boundary

Deputy Leader of Cardiff Council, and Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills, Cllr Sarah Merry, said: “This public consultation is the next step to relocate and rebuild Willows High School and the enabling works associated with the project are an integral part of the development, which when complete will provide exceptional facilities, expertise and teaching opportunities for students, staff and the community.

Cllr Sarah Merry added: “After consideration was given to several sites, the proposed location for the new school was found to be accessible for the catchment population with a range of active transport routes already in place. There would be an opportunity to deliver on the Council’s commitment to develop Active Travel Plans and accessible walking and cycling routes for all schools, by implementing new routes for cycling and improved pedestrian facilities in the area.

“The new site would also present significant benefits for the school and community, including opportunities to form links with local businesses and organisations in the area who can helpcreate challenging, supportive and stimulating opportunities to promote aspiration and achievement.

“I encourage people to come forward and have their say to help shape the plans that will support the development of the scheme which not only represents a significant investment in the local area but will also ensure that the local community benefit from excellent, modern amenities.”

A public drop-in session will take place atSTAR Hyb, Muirton Roadon Thursday 28 July from 3.30. – 6pm.

The Planning Application for the main construction of the new school is anticipated to be submitted Spring 2023 and if progressed proposals would include;

  • Relocating and rebuilding the school on three parcels of land at Splott Market and Portmanmoor Road; including access to the 3G pitches at the former tennis centre and providing enough space for the new school without taking away any existing open space.
  • Providing pupils with access to a high-quality learning environment to support and enhance teaching and learning.
  • A community focussed school with facilities available for use by the whole community outside of core school hours.
  • Enhanced pedestrian facilities to support active travel arrangements on the Lewis Road site
  • Capacity for 900 places for learners aged 11 to 16, in line with the projected demand
  • Pupils to remain at the existing Willows High School site until the new school build is complete to minimise the potential for disruption

In June 2021, an initial public consultation took place asking members of the public for their views on what should be taught at the school and how it should be delivered. The majority of views were in support of the plans, with positive feedback on proposals for facilities, support for pupil aspirations through partnership working and how investment will deliver improved education and community amenities for the Adamsdown and Splott communities.

Cllr Merry added; “Responses collated during the initial public engagement, supported a focus on collaborative working with a wide range of industry partners, allowing pupils to benefit from a rich curriculum which delivers ‘real world’ learning opportunities, inspiring them and helping to develop their skills to be resilient, innovative and problem solving learners.

Subject to planning and procurement, construction of the new campus is expected to start in Autumn 2023.