Consideration of a new Welsh medium secondary school for the south east of the county needs doing sooner rather than later, a Tenby county councillor has said.

During discussions of Pembrokeshire County Council’s draft Welsh language strategy, Tenby councillor Mike Evans highlighted the increasing demand for Welsh education with Ysgol Caer Elen’s primary oversubscribed and Ysgol Hafan y Mor “bursting at the seams.”

At policy and pre-decision overview and scrutiny committee on Thursday (September 23) Clr. Evans said a secondary school was needed for those living in Tenby and the surrounding area because pupils faced long journeys to Haverfordwest or Crymych otherwise.

He said that not planning for the future was “designing a policy to fail” and what is needed is “serious consideration about a Welsh medium secondary school in the south east of the county and it must be before 2035.”

A new Welsh medium primary is planned for Pembroke and a survey of demand is being carried out in the Milford Haven area, with an overall Welsh education strategy due in the near future.

There was increasing demand for Welsh language services within the council, from customers and as well as in education, with more people requesting to use Welsh in everyday interactions.

Sarah Worby, corporate research and policy officer, said that contacts to the council in Welsh were monitored and there was “certainly a growth in demand” including on the telephone contacts and visits to the Welsh language website and social media use, as well as face to face in leisure centres and libraries.

The corporate plan could be “strengthened” when it came to increasing opportunities for staff said Clr. Rhys Sinnett with cabinet member for the Welsh language Clr. Cris Tomos adding that the “ambition” is to see 32 per cent of the population speaking Welsh.

The committee supported the recommendation to cabinet that the adoption of the Welsh Language Strategy 2021-26 be adopted.