West Wales News Review — analysis with a sustainability slant

New Gravel Pits at Ffairfach?

‘Groundworks’ for the New Comprehensive School by the River Tywi 

Pat Dodd Racher, with photos by Patrick Racher

Groundworks have started for the new Ysgol Bro Dinefwr at Ffairfach, the school which is to replace both the nearby Tregib and, 13 miles up the Tywi valley, Llandovery’s Pantycelyn. Ysgol Bro Dinefwr, which is reported to have grant aid of approximately £30 million from the Welsh Government, is controversial because of the long distances that former Pantycelyn pupils will have to travel, and because of its closeness to the river Tywi. The initial groundworks here have created a lakeland landscape.

The ground works are being undertaken by Leadbitter, part of Bouygues UK.


Looking north towards Dinefwr Park and Llandeilo. Carmarthenshire Council Council has said it will be too expensive to build a swimming pool at the new school — but should they change their mind, there is no shortage of water to fill it


The school site is close to bungalows, on the A476 road to Cross Hands. Here we are looking back to Ffairfach


Building on such a waterlogged site may well result in additional initial costs, and create future maintenance problems


What about the drains?




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21 thoughts on “New Gravel Pits at Ffairfach?

  1. Howard Martin on said:

    Dear PatI thought you may be interested in this petition: https://www.change.org/p/carmarthenshire-local-authority-to-not-pay-disgraced-local-authority-chief-executive-mark-james-a-voluntary-severance-package Best Wishes Howard  From: west*wales*news*review To: howardoak@yahoo.co.uk Sent: Sunday, 2 February 2014, 19:12 Subject: [New post] New Gravel Pits at Ffairfach? #yiv5556082647 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv5556082647 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv5556082647 a.yiv5556082647primaryactionlink:link, #yiv5556082647 a.yiv5556082647primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv5556082647 a.yiv5556082647primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv5556082647 a.yiv5556082647primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv5556082647 WordPress.com | PDR posted: “‘Groundworks’ for the New Comprehensive School by the River Tywi Pat Dodd Racher, with photos by Patrick RacherGroundworks have started for the new Ysgol Bro Dinefwr at Ffairfach, the school which is to replace both the nearby Tregib and, 13 miles up ” | |

  2. graham on said:

    Is it wise to build a dam near a volcano.Is it wise to build a school on a flood plain.Obviously carmarthenshire county council think it is,so it therefore follows that global warming is not happening and increase in predicted rainfall will not happen either.In a world where food miles are discussed no mention of child miles are discussed.For the last twelve years the children of llandeilo have been without a swimming pool because of carmarthenshire’s wise descision to close it.There are plenty of pools now down at the new school site.It must have taken many long hours well into the night trying to decide where to build the new school.Should we build it somewhere in between the two towns [if we have to build it at all]no lets build it to the south of llandeilo so the children of pantycelyn[13 miles to the north of llandeilo] will have to travel further and there will be more traffic congestion through llandeilo so we can then go to the welsh assembly and ask for another new bypass through the floodplain and risk flooding more houses in ffairfach and despoil the valley even more. ‘that sounds like a good idea olly, its a no brainer.Lets go down the pub and pat ourselves on the back for being so clever stan’.ps: its called a flood plain cos’ it does exactly wot it says on the tin’ a bit like gravity.

    • vivienne price on said:

      well i could not have written it better myself i went to tregib in the mid 70 and Llandeilo was a bottle neck then

    • Last year the council revealed, in a Freedom of Information answer, that the additional costs of transporting pupils to the new school would be £460,000 a year. Higher fuel and vehicle costs would of course force this figure upwards. So as well as the problems you list, there are substantial extra costs as well.

  3. sergetov on said:

    What an eye sore this is going to be. Dinefwr park is a national treasure – the views from the castle now blighted by a huge new school built on a floodplain. I cannot believe there haven’t been more objections to this. The Tregib site has plenty of room for expansion.

    • You wouldn’t believe how many objections there have been but the council has, in my opinion, shown a ‘closed mind’ and ignored them all. It’s a bad site for some 1,500 people to be on every day — even thinking just about drains, playing fields and parking areas — and of course the vista from the castle, appreciated by so many visitors as well as residents, will be damaged.

  4. vivienne price on said:

    there all mad i rember when in school there the whole area flooded at least twice in 5 years
    ex pupil ex llandovery Mayor

    • It is easy to see how waterlogged the whole site is at present.
      Local government has such a big influence on our lives that I think children should learn more about it at school, then perhaps greater numbers of young adults would vote, and more would stand as candidates.

  5. gaynor on said:

    Like the outdoor swimming pool.Why its being built here , a blatant eyesore in an historical picturesque landscape? Surprised that the Nat Trust didn’t fight tooth and nail to stop this. What is wrong with the site of Tregib school as it has plenty of land and the building would be surrounded by mature woodland and obscured . Also with everybody complaining about the traffic in town, why wasn it built north of Llandeilo to avoid even more traffic congestion caused by even more school buses or Llangadog. CCC are determined to expand Llandeilo at the expense of other market towns in the area, not caring how they go about it

  6. Daidonk on said:

    For all the years i have lived arround this area (a few miles up the road) i have never seen this side of the river flood where the school is going. The water that is in those holes is from the recent rain weve had and thats it. I personaly think that people should stop complaining and face the facts the school is being built, pantycelyn is being closed and theres nothing you can do about it now.

    • Thank you for your comment, but I think the more extreme weather we have now means that flooding is more frequent and more severe, and the situation will probably get a lot worse. Also, Carmarthenshire Council intended to reduce spending on road maintenance by a third, so we can expect many more lane closures and ‘temporary’ traffic lights, slowing bus journeys. There are also the additional costs of transport, at least £460,000 a year at current fuel prices, see https://westwalesnewsreview.wordpress.com/2013/11/27/the-wheels-on-the-bus-go/, which includes information supplied after a Freedom of Information request. Unnecessary travel creates unnecessary carbon emissions which increase the rate of climate change, as many scientists have argued.

    • I think you are rather missing the point. I agree that the water on the site in these pictures is from rainfall, but, what does the fact so much of that water is sitting on the surface tell you about the drainage? I don’t deny that it will be possible to build the school in such a way as to avoid being flooded, however to do so will require a further input of money to cover the added cost. A cost that the council can, judging by cuts in most public services, not afford.

      I agree that there is now nothing that can be done now so far as the school is being built and Pantycelyn is being closed but to stop complaining would be to accept the misguided decisions of the council as being inevitable. It is the job of the public to ensure that those with the power to make these decisions are held accountable.

  7. Everyone I’ve spoken to did not think that Pantycelyn should close. It’s one of the top performing schools in Wales. I’ve heard that the local petition to keep it open signed by many and supposed to be used as part of the public consultation process was discounted because it was handed in a day late. But not through tardiness but because the wrong deadline date was given by CCC. You’d have thought that a public servant in the intrest of democracy would allow for a one day delay caused by their own mistake….. My nephews who live in cilycwm in the upper Tywi valley will have an hour bus ride to and from school!

    • The council did not want to consider the petition because the ‘consultation’ was a sham, the decision to close the school had already been taken. The impacts on the children and on the community were deliberately ignored. Also, when doing a school closure cost benefit analysis, it is common practice to accord a value to children’s travelling time, but the council omitted to do this.

  8. Terry Harris on said:

    A far better name for this school is “Ysgol Trecelyn” NOT ‘Bro Dinefwr’…
    Whoever decided on that name should go back to the drawing board.

  9. Can not believe CCC has considered all this and the proposal was watertight!!… not

    • They have known all along that the site is on a floodplain. For some reason, it was rushed through apparently without consideration of the negative impacts — of which there are so many

  10. Sian Caiach on said:

    Amazingly similar pictures to the Parc Y Strade development in Llanelli. Although the Strade development disappeared from the flood plain to reassure the planning enquiry, which then reappeared. The school builders may also find, as in Strade, that a high water table and relying on gravity drainage for the sewerage can play havoc with your ammenities. If only the laws of physics and principles of geography were not so ignorant of planning permission?

    • The number of pupils and staff at the new school, maybe 1,500, will result in rather a lot of sewage! What happens when it all backs up into the school? There is precious little fall, and it is easy to imagine health hazards developing.

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