Local politicians shock at Welsh Government support of Ammanford College closure

Local politicians have expressed their shock upon learning that the Welsh Labour Government is backing plans to close Ammanford College.

In a letter to Adam Price MS, the Minister for Education, Jeremy Miles confirmed that the Welsh Government was backing a Coleg Sir Gar development which would result in the closure of the Ammanford Campus. We understand that a decision on the project is expected to be made shortly, which includes investment in the Coleg Sir Gar Campus at Pibwrlwyd.

The Ammanford Campus, which was founded in 1927, is focused on health, social and childcare as well as construction industry crafts. Offering courses ranging from counselling to plastering, the college will be forced to close under the plans described as “rationalisation of the college’s estate” by the Minister.

The Minister goes on to describe the Ammanford Campus as in a “generally poor or very poor condition, which [is] costly to maintain and inefficient.” The Coleg Sir Gar development is being proposed via the Mutual Investment Model, which will see the Welsh Government invest in the project alongside the college. From the letter, it is understood that the Minister for Education is supportive the project, despite being made aware that it will result in the closure of the Ammanford Campus.

Adam Price, Member of the Senedd for Carmarthen East & Dinefwr said: “Ammanford College has been a key institution in the town for almost 100 years; losing it during a time of austerity and economic uncertainty would be a devastating blow to any community, but for one of the county's most deprived communities it's an act of social vandalism. Mrs Thatcher had not even dared to go this far. How can the Welsh Labour Government support the removal of further education provision in Ammanford? This decision is incredibly harmful to the town and I call on the Minister to reconsider his support.”

Cefin Campbell, Member of the Senedd for Mid & West Wales which also covers Ammanford, said: "The Welsh Government’s stance regarding the closure of the college remains disappointing. They should be standing up for communities like Ammanford, not closing down an institution at the heart of the town. This decision will be deeply unpopular in the Amman Valley and I believe the Minister needs to consider the long-term effect this will have on pupils locally.”

Ann Davies, County Councillor for Llanddarog and Plaid Cymru candidate for Caerfyrddin, said: “This is yet more evidence of the Welsh Labour Government abandoning our communities. Ammanford College offers a fantastic service to pupils in the area, to close it would represent a massive blow to future generations. What message does it send to these future generations that they will have to travel away from the town to receive the education they desire?

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