Cabinet Members made a visit to Aberdare to see the impressive construction of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s massive £50m education, leisure and community master plan.
The Sobell Redevelopment is the largest investment project of its kind in the County Borough and will offer an outstanding community facility for all.
When completed the scheme for the Ynys Site will result in the creation of a mixed use education and leisure development comprising a new secondary school for 1,600 pupils and caretaker's lodge.
It will also see a replacement sport and leisure facility for the Michael Sobell centre, athletics track and stadium, multi-use games courts, skate park, public playground; and associated highway, parking and landscaping works.
The entire project has also had a positive impact on the local economy by procuring local businesses and labour to undertake the work which has resulted in jobs and training opportunities being created locally.
Cllr Eudine Hanagan, Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning at Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, said: “This ambitious scheme forms part of the Council’s robust response to the issues facing our young residents today.
“They need and deserve flexible, exceptional learning environments in which they can secure the education, qualifications, vocational skills and personal development they need to thrive in whatever they choose to be in life.
“This scheme will enable us to deliver that, removing issues such as surplus places and limited curriculum options so all learners are given the best-possible opportunities.
“Of course, this development will also benefit the wider community, complementing the extensive regeneration of the town centre to ensure Aberdare has an excellent range of leisure, health, social and shopping experiences for its residents but also to attract new visitors and investors.”
The new four-storey secondary school, set to create a modern, inspiring environment in which all young people can secure the education, skills and training they need to thrive in life, includes Special Education Needs rooms, drama studios, workshops, IT suites and more.
The school will replace Blaengwawr Comprehensive, Aberdare Girls’ and AberdareHigh Schools. The masterplan will also see the creation of a state-of-the-art sport and leisure centre which will focus on improvement and expansion of the existing Aberdare Pool and replacement of provision currently offered at Michael Sobell Sports Centre.
There will also be wider, outdoor sporting and community facilities on the site, which will provide yet another boost to Aberdare town centre that has recently undergone a £7.7million regeneration project.
The athletics track and stadium will surround a grassed football pitch and markings for javelin, shot-put, discus, hammer, long jump, high jump and pole vault. The stand will seat 172 people and incorporates changing facilities and equipment and machinery storage for both the grass pitches and the athletics facility.
The stadium building also includes a workshop and storage for use by the Cwm Cycling Club which has direct access to the off road loop and the Cynon Trail.
A multi-use games area with a three-metre high ball stop fencing will be provided and floodlit to Lawn Tennis Association requirements and a new skate and bike park and a new children’s play ground are proposed to replace the existing one.
Vital improvements to supporting infrastructure are being made in order to ensure safe, effective access to the campus either by foot, car, bike or using public transport.
The highways works will improve traffic flow, traffic management and the capacity of the highway in this key location. There will also be improved pedestrian access to the town. The development of the site also includes the creation of replacement allotments.
For further details and information regarding how the project progresses; email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01443 665000