Agenda Item No

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cabinet Meeting: 26 January, 2015

Report of the Cabinet Member for Children's Services and Schools

Penarth Learning Community Update Report

Purpose of the Report

1. To update members on the asbestos removal and demolition of existing school buildings. 


1. That members note the content of the report.


2. That members approve additional funding of £250k from the building fund for asbestos removal and that the capital programme for 2014/15 is amended to reflect this.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1. To ensure members are furnished with the necessary information regarding the Penarth Learning Community project.


2. To permit the safe demolition of the vacated school buildings to enable the completion of the project and to increase the 2014/15 capital programme accordingly.


2. Phase 1 of Penarth Learning Community was completed on programme on 6th October 2014 after 104 weeks on site. Phase 2 will now commence which involves the demolition of the vacated school buildings and the creation of sports pitches with completion scheduled for 6th October 2015.


3. Jane Hutt, Minister for Finance and Government Business, and Cllr Chris Elmore, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Schools, attended the handover of the keys for Penarth Learning Community, which has seen the creation of two new schools within a single building on the site of St. Cyres School, Ashgrove and Erw’r Delyn in Penarth.


4. As well as providing brand new facilities for the secondary school, it also sees the creation of the new SEN school, Ysgol y Deri, accommodating pupils from the three former special schools in the Vale. The new building will foster learning and inclusivity, benefiting generations of children to come.


5. Penarth Learning Community will also be available for use by the community, with the provision of modern sports facilities including a 3G pitch, as well as hydrotherapy pools, physiotherapy suites, and other specialist areas.


6. Targeted recruitment and training has been a key driver in the contract and has seen many local people employed during the building phase, delivering 6402 person weeks of employment, enabling 184 new entrants to construction and employing 83 apprentices and trainees on the project.

Relevant Issues and Options

7. Following the completion of phase 1 and the vacation of the former buildings in Penarth, phase 2 involves the demolition of the former buildings and the construction of sports pitches.  We have been working closely with the contractor to progress phase 2 which includes the demolition of buildings containing asbestos.


8. Under the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, as the client we have a duty to provide full information to contractors on asbestos containing materials (ACMs). Demolition surveys of the ACMs in the remaining school buildings have been undertaken. These involved intrusive and destructive inspections, penetrating all parts of the buildings structures. The HSE guidance recommends that these surveys should only be undertaken in unoccupied premises, which is why they could not be undertaken before the schools were relocated into the new building. Prior to the handover of the vacated buildings Leadbitter had undertaken a tender exercise to scope the value of this work package based on the information available at that time, however, following the full demolition surveys the level of ACMs known to be present has increased resulting in a significant increase in tender costs. This is in part due to identification of the presence of ACMs in the concrete floor slabs and in the bitumen on other floor areas and an increase in the amount of known ACMs in the structures. This has resulted in additional costs associated with the asbestos removal package which had not previously been identified.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

9. The Penarth Learning Community budget should be increased by £250k to fund the additional costs of asbestos removal from the school buildings. This increase will be funded by a contribution in 2014/15 from the Building Fund budget.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

10. Creating a sustainable environment through the use of community benefits is a Welsh Government priority, and part of the Council's procurement policy, strategy and guidance.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

11. There are no legal implications.

Crime and Disorder Implications

12. There are no crime and disorder implications.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

13. Improving employment opportunities for those living in the Vale and wider community.

Corporate/Service Objectives

14. Assist in developing a skilled and flexible workforce.

Policy Framework and Budget

15. This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

16. This report applies to the Authority as a whole.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

17. Lifelong Learning

Background Papers


Contact Officer

Jane Wade, Operational Manager, Property

Officers Consulted

Paula Ham, Head of Strategy, Community Learning & Resources

Alan Jenkins, Head of Finance

Gemma Jones, Capital Accountant

Responsible Officer:

Jennifer Hill, Director of Learning and Skills