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£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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Cimla

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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Cimla

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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Tributes to Cimla man who died in Efail Fach road traffic collision

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The 22-year-old man who died following a fatal road traffic collision on Saturday 30th October has been named at Christopher Howells, 22, from Cimla, Neath.

The collision between a green Mazda MX-5 and a red Ford Fiesta happened on the B4287 at Efail Fach near Pontrhydyfen at around 7.30pm on Saturday evening (30 October).

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Mr Howells’ parents have paid tribute to him, saying: “Sadly, on the 30th October 2021 our beloved son, brother, uncle and friend Christopher Howells passed away. He was one of a kind, outgoing and full of laughter. He will be dearly missed by many and has left a massive hole in everyone’s hearts.

“He enjoyed his first early workdays in Skewen McDonald’s and then went on to achieve his ambition as a car bodywork apprentice and was doing so well and all his colleagues at McDonald’s and H.J. Phillips were very proud of him and like the rest of us couldn’t believe his sudden departure.

“There are no words to describe the loss our family is currently feeling and dealing with.“We will always love and miss you.”

Chris’s friend Callum added: “Chris was my best friend of over seven years, we first met in college and became long and very close friends, to the point of feeling like we’re brothers.

“He was always the friendliest and most warm-hearted person to be around. We spent almost every day together and I will truly love every moment that we shared together. I will miss you forever and this will forever be a big hole in my heart. Love Callum.”

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The serious collision investigation unit at South Wales Police is continuing to appeal for information following the collision which occurred on the B4287 at Efail Fach, Pontrhydyfen at around 7.30pm on Saturday, October 30, 2021.

The collision involved two vehicles, a green Mazda MX-5 and a red Ford Fiesta, which were travelling in opposite directions.

The road was closed for several hours for investigations to be carried out at the scene.

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