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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting:  29 July 2013

 

Report of the Cabinet Member for Children's Services

 

Demolition of Former St Cyres Comprehensive, Dinas Powys site

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To seek Cabinet approval to demolish the superstructure of the buildings on the site subject to statutory requirements.

2.         To seek Cabinet authority to appoint specialist contractors/consultants to implement geotechnical/ground condition and topographic surveys of the site.

Recommendations

1.         That Cabinet authorise the demolition of the superstructure of all buildings on the site subject to statutory requirements.

2.         That Cabinet agree to the use of the urgency procedure under article 13 of the Council Constitution in relation to the authorisation to demolish the school buildings.

3.         That Cabinet authorise the appointment of specialist contractors/consultants to implement geotechnical/ground condition and topographic surveys of the former St Cyres site.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To enable the demolition of the superstructure of the buildings on the site.

2.         To ensure that the redundant buildings can be demolished during the school summer holidays.

3.         To enable the completion of site surveys.

Background

3.         As previously reported to Cabinet on 1 October 2012 (minute C1841 refers) due to declining pupil numbers St Cyres Comprehensive school vacated the Dinas Powys site in July 2012. All services were disconnected and the buildings have been boarded up since they were vacated.

4.         Since being vacated, the buildings have suffered numerous break-ins by metal thieves resulting in extensive damage to both of the former school buildings and the caretaker's house.

5.         A public consultation on the future of the site was carried out between 12 November 2012 and 18 January 2013. A total of 477 response were received, as reported to Cabinet on 13 April 2013 (minute C1288 refers) including an expression of interest in the former school buildings from a third party Community Group. Subsequent discussions with this Group at a meeting with officers has confirmed that their proposals are not dependant upon using the existing buildings.  Also, following contact with the Local Service Board no alternative use for the school buildings has been identified.

Relevant Issues and Options

6.         The empty school buildings have become an on-going security and maintenance liability to the Council. To remove this liability the preferred option is for the Council to demolish the superstructure of the buildings on the site (subject to statutory requirements) as soon as possible.

7.         Agreement to the use of the urgency procedure has been requested to ensure that the demolition project can start during the school summer holidays to reduce the risks associated with children playing on the site or entering the building following a break in before the building is re-secured.

8.         To assist with the future marketing and disposal of the site it is intended to commission geotechnical/ground condition and topographic surveys of the former St Cyres Comprehensive site and adjacent grazing land.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

9.         The buildings have been secured since the school left in July 2012 but have suffered repeated break-ins. The cost to board up the building and replace damaged boarding totalled £24,716 in 2012/13 and £5,057 to date in 2013/14. If the buildings are not demolished these costs will continue to be incurred.

10.      Following a risk assessment, council officers cannot attend site alone, each reported break-in therefore requires attendance from two officers, including the Council's Asbestos Surveyor to confirm that no damage has been caused to asbestos containing materials within the building.

11.      The estimated cost of the demolition of the property is in the region of £300,000 and will be funded from the School Investment Strategy fund, which will be reimbursed by capital receipts received through the sale of part of the site to Brackley Investments for the construction of a medical centre.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

12.      A public consultation was held at the end of 2012 to receive views on potential alternative uses for the site and buildings.  Demolition will be undertaken in line with the relevant regulations to avoid adverse environmental impact.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

13.      The demolition of the superstructure of the buildings on the site will be implemented subject to statutory requirements.

Crime and Disorder Implications

14.      The demolition of the buildings at the school will reduce the potential for continued vandalism, theft, arson and anti-social behaviour on the site.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

15.      The project will be delivered in accordance with the Council’s equal opportunities policies and ethos.

Corporate/Service Objectives

16.      This will assist in the delivery of the Schools Investment Programme.

Policy Framework and Budget

17.      The report is a matter for an Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

18.      A public consultation into the future use of the site held at the end of 2012 received a good response but has not resulted in identifying a future use for the former school buildings.

19.      Ward Member consultation has been undertaken.  Comments from one local councillor have been received suggesting that the site is too valuable for housing and that a sporting centre of excellence would be preferable thereby keeping a large part of the site for community use.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

20.      Lifelong Learning.

Background Papers

None.

 

Contact Officer

Mark Haynes, School Organisation and Buildings Manager

 

Officers Consulted

Paula Ham, Head of Strategic Planning and Performance

Jodi Winter, Operational Manager, Legal Services

Mark White, Major Project Manager

Lorna Cross, Group Estates Officer

 

Responsible Officer:

Jennifer Hill, Chief Learning and Skills Officer

 

 

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