PLANS to turn Cardigan’s primary school into a Welsh medium school have been slammed by local businesses this week.

The decision to change the status of the school will have a “negative effect” on the expansion of existing businesses, says Cardigan and District Chamber of Commerce in a formal letter of objection to Ceredigion council.

The Chamber calls for the plan to phase out the English stream at Ysgol Gynradd Aberteifi to be delayed until a full consultation is carried out with firms in the area.

“We are objecting on the grounds that there has been inadequate consultation in relation to the effect such a change will have on the ability of local businesses to expand, and on the ability to attract new businesses,” says chairman Paul Oakley.

In the letter to the education authority he said: “Ceredigion has the lowest earnings in Wales, and within Ceredigion, Cardigan (the second largest town) has the worst income deprivation score (more than twice as bad as the next worst) so this is a large community that desperately needs better paid jobs.”

He added that the authority has said it has no evidence that the medium of education is an issue for prospective businesses.

“Quite who the education authority has consulted on these assertions is not clear but the obvious contact -- the Chamber of Commerce, which represents more than 50 local businesses -- has not been consulted, and would not agree with that,” said Mr Oakley.

He added that the Chamber believed the change at the school would have a negative effect on the expansion of existing businesses. “Key skills required by companies to move into new areas will be more difficult to recruit if there is no English stream in the local school,” he said.

The Chamber’s letter of objection states: “The decision to change the status of the school should be delayed until adequate consultation and research on the effects of these changes on business has been completed. The Chamber stands ready to support such an activity.”

Ceredigion’s Cabinet gave the go ahead for the scheme last month. Education director Eifion Evans said the change would be introduced gradually over a period of time, starting from September 2013. The formal consultation period on the plan ends today (Tuesday).