THERE are no plans for increased Welsh medium primary school provision in Torfaen until after the new Ysgol Panteg is built.

That was what the cabinet member in charge, Cllr Brian Mawby told a meeting of full council yesterday when asked about the lack of provision by Plaid Cymru’s Jeff Rees.

Cllr Rees said there was clear evidence of increasing demand for Welsh medium primary education across Torfaen and said that many schools were already at capacity and facing overcrowding or simply turning away prospective pupils.

Cllr Rees said: “I’m a governor at Ysgol Gymraeg Cwmbran. We have 62 children whose parents want to send them to the school next year. The school is already at capacity and we only have admission numbers for 47 – 62 into 47 doesn’t go.

“Ysgol Bryn Onnen [in Pontypool] is full. The current Ysgol Panteg is full. Should more Welsh medium be a priority in Cwmbran?”

Cllr Mawby said he didn’t think so. “We don’t want to create a situation where we have more surplus places.

“We already have a major project under way in terms of Welsh medium and I’m not sure you’re going to get another new school prior to Ysgol Panteg opening, we hope in 2015.”

Cllr Mawby said Torfaen was looking at short term options in regard to primary level Welsh medium education.

l Torfaen council leader Bob Wellington has said he is “disappointed” the Welsh language commissioner has decided to investigate the council.

As we exclusively reported last month, Torfaen became the first local authority ever to be investigated by the commissioner’s office which replaced the old Welsh Language Board, when the commissioner decided to investigate the authority in relation to a 24-hour phone service for residents.

Torfaen launched its Welsh Language Scheme in March last year, but the Welsh helpline service is yet to be launched.

Cllr Wellington told the full council meeting in Pontypool: “We’re disappointed that the Commissioner has found it necessary to launch an investigation.”

He hoped the Welsh phoneline would be up and running by October.