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Collapsed Cimla footpath to be reconstructed this weekend

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A footpath on Castle Drive, Cimla – which suffered a major road collapse due to torrential rainfall earlier this month – will be restored to pedestrian use this weekend.

However, the roadway itself is likely to remain closed to through traffic for several months due to the complex and serious nature of the collapse.

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It happened on October 4th this year when emergency services across South West Wales were “inundated” with calls for help due to widespread flooding.

During the day of very heavy rain, a culvert in Castle Drive became blocked causing rain water to overtop the road and wash away an embankment causing a landslip resulting in the footpath and a large section of carriageway collapsing. 

In order to reopen the road safely and prevent a similar situation happening again, particularly given the succession of storms and heavy rainfall incidents currently being experienced, significant work will be required.

This will include : 

  • Designing a remediation scheme to retain and rebuild the road and to replace the damaged culverted section of watercourse underneath it (work has already begun on the design by the council’s in-house engineering team). 
  • Procuring contractors to carry out the specialist reconstruction work.
  • Ensuring utilities such as gas, water and electricity are maintained for local residents during the construction phase.
  • Ensuring the remediation scheme is robust and future proofed against extreme weather/rainfall by replacing the culvert crossing under the road – only undertaking the retaining element of the work would not be safeguarding the community and road users from similar occurrences. 

Cllr Mike Harvey, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Streetscene and Engineering, said: “We are glad to be able to restore through pedestrian access to Castle Drive this weekend by reinstating a footpath which was affected by this collapse.

“While we are all working to mitigate the effects of Climate Change it’s clear we are already experiencing it here.

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“Weather events such as the extreme rainfall on October 4th which caused flooding throughout the South West Wales region and which led to this road collapse, are becoming commonplace.

“We will endeavour to reinstate the highway in Castle Drive, restoring through traffic – a major engineering project the effects of which will be robust and long lasting – as soon as we possibly can.”

Only one footpath will be re-opened to allow pedestrian through access. The footpath on the opposite side of the road will remain closed.

(Lead image: NPT Council)

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Cimla

£29m Cefn Saeson Comprehensive rebuild gets official opening

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Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Culture, Cllr Peter Rees, has officially opened the £29m Cefn Saeson Comprehensive School in Cimla, Neath.

Also at the official opening of the school (Friday, March 18th 2022) were Welsh Government Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles MS, Neath Port Talbot Council Leader Cllr Ted Latham and Deputy Leader Cllr Leanne Jones, Neath Port Talbot Council Chief Executive Karen Jones and Director of Education and Lifelong Learning Andrew Thomas and the Mayor of Neath Port Talbot, Cllr John Warman.

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Completed ahead of schedule by contractors Morgan Sindall last year, the new Cefn Saeson Comprehensive is part of the council’s growing portfolio of modern schools acquired as part of the Welsh Government led Sustainable Communities for Learning Programme.

The new school and sports facilities now stand on the site of the dated former Cefn Saeson Comprehensive School which was demolished to make way for its modern replacement.

More than 800 pupils started lessons at the 97,000 sq ft building last June. The new school has 48 state-of-the art classrooms comprising creative workplaces, art facilities and a bespoke learning support centre for pupils with additional learning needs.

Neath Port Talbot Council commissioned the project as part of its Strategic School Improvement Programme (SSIP) and it was procured through the South West Wales Regional Contractors’ Framework.

Building of the school was 65% funded by Welsh Government’s Sustainable Communities for Learning Programme which aims to give young people the best and most up to date education facilities possible. The council paid the remaining 35%.

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Interior of the new Cefn Saeson school (Image: NPT Council)

Cefn Saeson Comprehensive now boasts impressive sports facilities with four MUGA (Multi-Use Games Area) courts an activity studio and a 3G pitch. Importantly it will include adaptable ICT facilities with integrated mobile technology which will help equip pupils with vital digital skills.

The new Cefn Saeson school (Image: NPT Council)

Officially opening the school, Cllr Rees said: “The new Cefn Saeson replacement building is now one of our many modern schools aimed at ensuring our pupils are taught in up-to-date, high quality, airy buildings.

“Our school building programme ensures places are available to serve local pupil demand, to reduce surplus capacity and to promote sustainability. Of course it also means our young people get the best possible start in life when it comes to education and I’m delighted to formally open Cefn Saeson Comprehensive School today.”

Neath Port Talbot Council Leader, Cllr Ted Latham, added: “We are extremely grateful to our colleagues in Welsh Government as together we are improving education in Neath Port Talbot for generations to come with a growing stable of modern schools fit for the 21st Century.”

The total spend to date (Bands A and B) under the 21st Century Schools programme in modernising Neath Port Talbot’s school estate has now reached £169m – a massive investment in Neath Port Talbot’s next generations and the biggest of any council in Wales outside Cardiff.

(Lead image: NPT Council)

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Council says work to start soon on restoring storm damaged Cimla roadway

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Contractors are being sought to carry out the rebuilding of the culvert at Castle Drive in Cimla, Neath, which collapsed due to a torrential rainstorm towards the end of last year.

Neath Port Talbot Council secured Welsh Government funding of £100,000 in December to design a replacement for the vital culvert and that work has now been completed.

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Tenders for the construction work are about to be issued and after funding approval is obtained, a start on rebuilding the culvert is due to be made at the beginning of May this year.

The £100,000 Welsh Government funding has also been used for the design diversion of essential utility services which is required to cater for a larger culvert to be constructed.

The road at Castle Drive had to be closed both to vehicles and pedestrians for safety reasons after the collapse. The downstream section of the carriageway had been undermined by the washing away of a supporting embankment by the sheer force of flood water.

Following more investigations, the upstream pedestrian footway was reopened allowing a vital link for pupils to access Crynallt Infant School.

Biodiversity mitigation measures and tree removal work are planned to be undertaken during the next two weeks subject to weather conditions at the site.

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A topographic survey of the area has been completed and the council has secured access onto private land so the appointed contractors can carry out the culvert reconstruction work.

Cllr Mike Harvey, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Streetscene and Engineering said: “We have made a lot of progress in putting right the damage caused on a night when emergency services across South West Wales were ‘inundated’ with calls for help due to widespread flooding.

“We apologise for the inconvenience caused by the road closure but we are progressing matters as quickly as we can and we would like to thank local residents for their patience.

“Restoring this culvert and roadway safely and robustly has been a complex engineering project and unfortunately that can take time so we are sorry for the delay but the results will be long lasting and that is important as it seems Climate Change is bringing with it increasingly damaging heavy rain and stormy weather.”

(Lead image: Neath Port Talbot Council)

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Funding secured to design collapsed Cimla culvert repair

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Neath Port Talbot Council has secured Welsh Government funding of £100,000 to design a replacement for the vital culvert at Castle Drive in Cimla, Neath, which collapsed due to torrential rainfall in October.

The funding will also be used for the diversion of essential utility services which were compromised by the collapse during the evening of 4 October, 2021.

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The road had to be closed both to vehicles and pedestrians for safety reasons following the collapse.

The downstream section of the carriageway had been undermined by the washing away of a supporting embankment. Following more investigations, the upstream pedestrian footway was reopened allowing a vital link for pupils to access Crynallt Infant School.

The council’s Engineering Section will now use the funding to undertake the design of a new, larger culvert and it is anticipated physical work on the scheme will start this Spring subject to further funding for other elements of the project and the completion of the design work, a tendering process for contractors plus the diversion of utility services.

Cllr Mike Harvey, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Streetscene and Engineering said: “We are grateful for the funding which means we can now start preparing to repair the damage caused on a night when emergency services across South West Wales were ‘inundated’ with calls for help due to widespread flooding.

“The very heavy and prolonged rainfall washed away an embankment which meant the road had to be shut for public safety and we will now endeavour to reinstate the damaged infrastructure in Castle Drive, restoring through traffic  as soon as we possibly can.

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“We would like to thank local residents for their patience following the disruption caused by the collapse. The restoration work will be a major engineering project but the results will be robust and long lasting.”

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