Cardiff Council Greenlights New £50M Willows High School in Splott

Cardiff Council has approved plans for a new £50 million Willows High School in the Splott area, featuring state-of-the-art facilities and a 30-place Special Resource Base. The new campus is set to be constructed on land at the bottom of Lewis Road, with main construction expected to commence in Summer 2024.

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Bijay Laxmi
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Cardiff Council Greenlights New £50M Willows High School in Splott

Cardiff Council Greenlights New £50M Willows High School in Splott

Cardiff Council has unanimously approved plans, approved, new, high, school for a new £50 million Willows High School in the Splott area of the city. The state-of-the-art campus will accommodate 900 pupils aged 11-16 and feature a 30-place Special Resource Base for students with Additional Learning Needs.

Why this matters: The investment in modern educational infrastructure has a direct impact on the quality of education and the future prospects of the students. Moreover, it sets a precedent for prioritizing the needs of children and young people in the community, aligning with Cardiff's Child Friendly City status.

The new school, set to be constructed on land at the bottom of Lewis Road, will boast top-notch educational environments, a strong community focus, and extensive sports facilities. These amenities will include a sports hall, gym, drama studio, as well as 3G and grass pitches, all of which will be accessible to the public outside of school hours.

Cllr Sarah Merry, Deputy Leader of Cardiff Council and Cabinet Member for Education, expressed her enthusiasm for the project, stating,"The reality of delivering an excellent brand-new, modern home for Willows High School moves one step closer with the approval of planning. This development represents a significant investment in the local area and will provide exceptional facilities, expertise and teaching opportunities for students and staff, as well as offering superb facilities for the whole community to enjoy and benefit from."

The existing Willows High School, situated on Willows Avenue in Tremorfa, currently has 844 pupils enrolled and employs 123 staff members. However, the needed, school, built, former building is in poor condition, necessitating the temporary relocation of students to the council's offices at County Hall. The new campus is a much-needed upgrade that will provide a modern learning environment for the community.

Local ward members, Cllr Huw Thomas and Cllr Ed Stubbs, welcomed the new school, emphasizing the importance of investing in the area. Cllr Stubbs also highlighted the need to plan for the school's future growth, suggesting the potential to expand from six to eight forms of entry.

The only objection to the project came from Brakespeed Investments Ltd, which owns an adjacent industrial site. The company raised concerns about the proposed active travel route on Freshmoor Road. However, Cardiff Council responded, noting that the route has already been permitted and that access to the site in question will be maintained.

The new Willows High School is part of Cardiff Council and Welsh Government's Band B, Sustainable Communities for Learning programme. Main construction is expected to commence in Summer 2024, subject to procurement, with pupils remaining at the existing site until the new build is complete to minimize disruption. The development aligns with Cardiff's Child Friendly City status, prioritizing the rights and needs of children and young people in the community.