Posted: Fri 23rd Feb 2024

Demolition of Pontllanfraith School to Cost £310,000 More due to Asbestos Discovery /
This article is old - Published: Friday, Feb 23rd, 2024

Clearing the demolished Pontllanfraith Comprehensive School will cost another £310,000 because asbestos was discovered on the site.
Demolition of the buildings began in July 2023 but contractors discovered two areas of “abnormal” ground conditions, requiring “additional works” to resolve.
A Caerphilly Council report notes the “abnormal conditions relate to the discovery of asbestos cement sheets within substructures beneath the original school buildings”. 
“These sheets were not identified during the preparatory asbestos survey due to their subterranean location,” according to the report. “It was only when the buildings were demolished and site clearance and regrading commenced that the asbestos was identified.”
The school has been levelled to make way for a new Centre for Vulnerable Learners, a pupil referral unit for up to 120 learners.
Caerphilly Council said the centre will include “high-quality learning opportunities, indoor and outdoor sporting provision, as well as access to first-class support”.
Its sports facilities, including an all weather multi-use games area (MUGA) will also be available to the community outside of school hours.
At a cabinet meeting on Wednesday February 21, Chris Morgan, the cabinet member for leisure, sought assurances the Centre for Vulnerable Learners project would remain on track.
Ben Winstanley, the council’s head of land and property, told him: “If we act now, there will be no impact on the programme.”
The council report said the asbestos “must be dealt with in a safe, compliant and timely manner in order to progress the development of the Centre for Vulnerable Learners”.
The cabinet went on to approve the release of £310,000 from the council’s uncommitted capital reserves to fund the clearance works.
Even with that extra spending, the project will remain within the original £1.26m budget allocated for demolition in 2017, because £470,000 of that money was returned to the council’s reserves the following financial year.
Eluned Stenner, the cabinet member for finance, told colleagues the additional work required at Pontllanfraith Comprehensive proved the council was correct to build financial reserves.
Cllr Stenner said she “can’t stress enough how important it is for this council” to maintain reserves “to deal with unforeseen problems”.
The council report noted the future of the nearby Pontllanfraith Leisure Centre and its 3G pitch – which are earmarked for closure – are unaffected by the situation at the comprehensive school site. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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