Posted: Thu 29th Jun 2023

Cost for new Welsh-medium school in Ceredigion rise to £16.3m /
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Jun 29th, 2023

Costs for a new 240-pupil Welsh-medium 3-11 school in mid Ceredigion have risen to an estimated £16.3m, with the council’s contribution expected to rise by £1.1m. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Last month, Ceredigion County Council’s Development Management Committee supported an application to build Aeron Valley Primary School on a greenfield site at Felinfach, on the road from Aberaeron to Lampeter. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The new school will bring together three primary schools: Ciliau Parc Primary, Dihewyd Primary and Felinfach Primary, as well as the existing Ysgol Feithrin; and Language immersion Centre at Felinfach. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

At the June 6 meeting of the council’s Cabinet, members will receive a report on the progression of the project, outlining key milestones to date and highlighting increases in costs. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

A report for members says  the latest total overall project cost is now expected to be £16.3m, which includes a proposed main build construction contract of c£14.7m. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The main part of the scheme is expected to be funded by a Welsh Government grant of 65 per cent, with some smaller elements having higher rates. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

C Wynne & Sons Ltd (trading as Wynne Construction) was appointed in July 2022 to deliver the school in the Aeron valley – Ysgol Dyffryn Aeron. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

A Full Business Case (FBC) for the match-funded project was submitted to Welsh Government on May 5 of this year, which is due to be considered later this month. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

It is expected grants – if approved – would be finalised by July. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

To enable a start on site, the council’s delivery team has identified works which could be done prior to the receipt of formal grant offer documents, through a ‘Letter of Intent,’ the report says. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The actual expense incurred during the period covered by the proposed ‘Letter of Intent’ would be deducted from the final agreed contract sum. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The report adds: “Due to the increase in total cost, the council’s matched funding contribution will need to increase from the current c£3.5m set aside up to c£4.6m, with an additional c£1.1m being required from a combination of capital receipts and the Core Capital Programme. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Officers have been proactive and mitigated a potentially larger increase by presenting a business case for Welsh Government funding for various components at higher grant intervention rates.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The report concludes by saying the council is fully committed to the scheme, adding: “The council has protected itself as far as is reasonably possible by taking appropriate legal advice on the contents of a proposed ‘Letter of Intent’.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cabinet is asked to approve the Letter of Intent to a maximum value of £1.276m and to accept the tender for the build contract of £14,656,660; the contract only proceeding after confirmation of funding is formally notified. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Members are also asked to note that, assuming the business case is approved, there will be a requirement for an additional £1.1m of council matched funding to be set aside. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

By BBC LDRS ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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