Pressure is mounting for Carmarthenshire County Council to reconsider its proposals for a new school on a green field site in the centre of the village of Llanerch. Claims made by the council that the field has not been used for sport for ‘many’ years have been strongly refuted by those who claim that the field is needed more than ever for the community and the numerous sports clubs who wish to play there.
Speaking to Llanelli Online Carmarthenshire League Senior Registration Secretary Phil Jones said: “There is a greater need than ever before to recommission Llanerch Playing Field in order to meet the growing demand for mini, junior and senior football by clubs in the Llanelli area. He explained that in season 2015/16 the league lost around 10 teams (senior and junior) that played on Penygaer and Llanerch, primarily due to the massive increase in pitch fees imposed on clubs by Carmarthenshire County Council.
“Now that Penygaer is being Asset Transferred to the Penygaer Management Committee and Llanelli Town Council, these financial restrictions are being relaxed and clubs are now queuing up to return to play at Penygaer. The League is also having requests from clubs in the Carmarthen area to use Penygaer. As a result of this increase, the position of the Carmarthenshire League is clear and unambiguous. It is convinced that there is now a huge need to recommission Llanerch in order to meet the increasing demand for mini, junior and senior football in the Llanelli area.
He added “There has been some misleading comments made that the Carmarthenshire League General Secretary, Mr Colin Jenkins had stated that the league did not require the use Llanerch ever again. This was never the situation, and it was only decommissioned in season 2015/16 for financial reasons and again in season 2016/17 for necessary pitch maintenance. It was his understanding that this would be a temporary arrangement, which would be constantly under review, if and when the need for its use became apparent. There is now an overwhelming need for its use, and a definite case for it to be recommissioned as a football pitch.”
Pressure has also come from UNISON who claim that the head teacher Mrs Anne Clwyd-Davies is using ‘divisive’ tactics and ‘unsubstantiated’ claims to influence parents whose children attend the school but who do not live in the Llanerch area. UNISON have written an open letter to the head teacher, which can be seen below.
Llanelli Online contacted Carmarthenshire County Council and put some questions to them regarding some of the content within this article.
We asked; “Why was the school left to get into such a state of disrepair by Carmarthenshire County Council given the claims that there are risks to health and safety of children and staff?
“The conditions described in Ysgol Dewi Sant are very concerning. Could you quantify how long pupils and staff have been exposed to these conditions?
“Are you aware of the head teacher’s call to parents to support the plans including the guidance, which claims that it is to be built on Llanerch or the funding would be lost and no school would be built?
“Has the head teacher had the council’s authority to make those claims to the parents?
“If the head teacher has made these claims to parents would you seek to rectify them and inform the parents of the facts?
“Regarding the communication from the Carmarthenshire League Secretary Phil Jones (also attached) does the council wish to deprive future generations of the facility to play multiple sports on what is considered by the football league to be one of the best pitches in Llanelli?
“Has the council taken into account the increasing numbers of sports teams using Penygaer and the consequences of taking away the additional pitches at Llanerch field?
“If so could you direct me to any research or studies you have undertaken?
“Have the council been misleading the public with comments made that the Carmarthenshire League General Secretary, Mr Colin Jenkins had stated that the league did not require the use of Llanerch ever again?
“Who is it within the council that claims Colin Jenkins said this and was it documented?
“Mr Jones claims that this was never the situation, and it was only decommissioned in season 2015/16 for financial reasons and again in season 2016/17 for necessary pitch maintenance. It was his understanding that this would be a temporary arrangement, which would be constantly under review, if and when the need for its use became apparent.
“If this was the case why have the council reneged on this arrangement?
“Mr Jones claims that there is now an overwhelming need for its use, and a definite case for it to be recommissioned as a football pitch. Will the council be considering his evidence in the light of this information?
“I attach the open letter from UNISON.”
We received the following response: Gareth Morgans, Director of Education, said: “It is not appropriate to comment during the consultation period. All views and representations made through the official channels as part of the consultation will be considered.”