Council closes school after numbers dwindled due to second home sales

Welsh village dubbed ‘Cheshire-by-the-Sea’ because number of holiday homes snapped up by wealthy owners loses last-ditch battle to save school with just seven pupils left

  • Abersoch is dubbed ‘Cheshire-by-the-Sea’ due to number of second home sales
  • Pupil numbers fell at Ysgol Abersoch, with just seven students left at school
  • Councillors voted to close school, saying it was costing them £17,000 per pupil 

Residents in a Welsh village, dubbed ‘Cheshire-by-the-Sea’ because of the number of holiday homes snapped up by wealthy owners, have lost a last-ditch battle to save their local school. 

Villagers in Abersoch have been petitioning council bosses to keep their primary open, despite pupil numbers dwindling from 32 to just seven.

Residents say families in the village, which has a population of around 700, say families have been priced out by people snapping up coastal properties for second homes.

Council chiefs put forward plans to shut Ysgol Abersoch primary school earlier this year – sparking petitions from angry villagers.

But, despite calls from residents to keep the school open, councillors have voted to close it. 

Locals fear the ‘heart will be ripped out of the village’ by the school closure.

One woman said: ‘Without the school Abersoch has no focal point, the very heart and soul will have disappeared.’

Villagers in Abersoch have been petitioning council bosses to keep their primary school (pictured) open, despite pupil numbers dwindling from 32 to just seven

Residents in Abersoch (pictured) say families in the village, which has a population of around 700, say families have been priced out by people snapping up coastal properties for second homes.

Another said: ‘Leaving Abersoch without a primary school would result in it becoming a holiday place for tourists for a few months a year and a ghost town for the remainder.’

The battle to save the school began when three pupils left before the start of term – leaving just six full-time students and one nursery school pupil.

The primary school has a capacity of 32. But locals say the village is now a ‘ghost town’ for large parts of the year because of an influx of holiday home owners.

Residents say locals have been priced out by outsiders buying second homes in the village.

The community has now earned the nickname Cheshire-on-Sea, a reference to affluent Cheshire villages such as Wilmslow, Alderley Edge and Prestbury – home to wealthy executives and football stars.

Because of the drop in pupil numbers, Gwynedd Council said it was costing £17,404 per head to keep the school running.

This is more than four times the county average of £4,198. The school was therefore marked for closure earlier this year.

The battle to save the school began when three pupils left before the start of term – leaving just six full-time students and one nursery school pupil. Pictured: A banner for Ysgol Abersoch

Two petitions were set up to oppose the closure and attracted up to 3,000 signatures. 

It comes after protests took place in the 700-population village against holiday homes taking over the area.

Protestors staged a last-minute plea to save the school by arguing the information about pupil numbers was wrong.

But their pleas were rejected by council chiefs who backed the closure – and say it will have its last classes before shutting at Christmas.

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