Progress update for the development of Fairwater Community Campus


Plans are progressing for the delivery of three new Cardiff schools which will share the same

campus in the Fairwater area but, costs have increased largely due to rising inflation, Cardiff Council's Cabinet will hear.

The Fairwater Community Campus is a pioneering project for Cardiff which, when completed, will see Cantonian High School, Riverbank School, and Woodlands School all located in new buildings on one dedicated site

The joint campus will also boast a range of comprehensive facilities which will be available for community and public use outside of school hours. 

Plans for the scheme are well underway, but at its meeting On Thursday, 17 November, Cabinet will hear how, largely due to inflation, the cost of the project has increased significantly.

A report to Cabinet will recommend releasing additional funds from both the Council and Welsh Government's Band B Sustainable Communities for Learning Programme so the scheme can continue without delay.

Deputy Leader of Cardiff Council, and Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills, Cllr Sarah Merry, said: "Cardiff, like all councils across the UK, is experiencing the impact of significant inflationary pressures due to a host of factors, not least increases in material and labour costs.

"Fairwater Community Campus will provide much needed capacity for both secondary learners and those with additional learning needs. The scheme represents significant investment in the Fairwater area and will deliver exciting futures for Cantonian, Woodlands and Riverbank Schools. We are committed to delivering this exciting project, which will provide exceptional facilities, expertise and teaching opportunities for students, staff and the local community.

"I am proud to say that the scheme represents the best design and solution for the education of pupils, both in the short and long term. Delaying the project will bring further risks to the development and will not be beneficial."

The Fairwater Campus is Cardiff's trailblazing development setting the standard for future school projects. It will be thefirst, fully-operational Net Zero Carbon, school campus. It will also target a significant reduction in embodied carbon during the build stage of the project.

This means the three schools will be highly, energy-efficient buildings that are powered from renewable energy sources, helping Cardiff todeliver on its One Planet Strategy which outlines the city's ambition tomitigate against climate change.

The Cabinet will also hear that following detailed design developments, some changes to the enabling works associated with the scheme are also required.

This includes changes to building configuration, revised site access and parking arrangements and Additional Sustainable Drainage Approval Body (SAB) provisions required for temporary school buildings, which will be in place until the new school is complete.

In March 2022, Cardiff Council announced that ISG will undertake the detailed design and build process for the scheme, including the temporary accommodation associated with the works.

Cardiff Council's Planning Committee are currently considering the plans for the enabling works, which include;

  • Demountable classrooms and reception, temporary school car park, sports hall, kitchen and canteen;
  • Temporary footpath from Fairwater Road to Doyle Avenue;
  • Boundary fencing;
  • Sports pitches and Multi Use Games Areas (MUGA's) and associated fencing and lighting.

Cllr Sarah Merry, added: "The enabling works and the establishment of temporary school buildings for Cantonian High School are an integral part of the project. When the new buildings for all three schools are complete, we will see the establishment of Cardiff's first joint-educational campus. It will be a trailblazer for Cardiff, leading the way delivering an educational campus with incredible eco-friendly credentials, and one which will work for the local community just as well as it will for its students."

Proposals for the main construction of the new campus include;

  • Replacing the Cantonian High School buildings with new-build accommodation on the same site, expanding the school from six forms of entry (6FE) to eight forms of entry (8FE) with sixth form provision for up to 250 pupils;
  • Expanding the Specialist Resource Base (SRB) for learners with an Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC), hosted at Cantonian High School to 30 places in purpose-built accommodation in the new school buildings;
  • Relocating Woodlands School to the Fairwater Campus site from its current site adjacent to Trelai Park and increasing the capacity to 240 places in new-build accommodation;
  • Relocating Riverbank School to the Fairwater Campus site from its current site adjacent to Trelai Park, and increasing the capacity to 112 places in new-build accommodation

To learn more about Cardiff Council's One Planet Strategy please visitOPC vision document.pdf (

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