PART of the former Caerleon Campus could be saved after the Welsh Government’s heritage boss said he would call for it to be listed.

The University of South Wales left the 32-acre site at the end of July, with plans to redevelop the site - including the former Training College.

This could make way for up to 400 new homes, much to the dismay of many residents.

The Welsh Government’s historic environment service, Cadw, has previously refused to grant listed status to any of the buildings - which would protect them from development without special consent being given.

But now, Wales’ economy secretary Ken Skates has said he will recommend the former Training College building at the centre of the campus, which dates back to 1912, should be listed.

“I recognise the importance of this site and I am pleased to confirm that following careful consideration of a listing request submitted to Cadw earlier this year and a recent visit to the site by my officials, I feel that the former Caerleon Training College near Newport should be awarded listed status,” he said.

Mr Skates, who was first appointed to the role in May, added he would be speaking with the university, which still owns the site, Newport City Council and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales about the possibly of listing the main building, gatehouses and gate-piers as ‘buildings of special architectural and historic interest’.

Residents in the town have rallied against the housing plans, with a petition hoping to halt the development attracting more than 1,300 signatures.

The city council ward member for the area, councillor Cliff Suller, welcomed the announcement, calling it “a step in the right direction”.

“Like many of our constituents we are deeply opposed to the university's plans for any major redevelopment of this site on environmental grounds and we also value the historic association between the town and the original college buildings," he said.

Labour Newport West AM Jayne Bryant also welcomed the news.

“It was very disappointing that the University of South Wales decided to close the Caerleon Campus and this decision will be well received by local residents,” she said.

“I know my colleagues, the local councillors, will continue to work hard to get the best possible outcome for Caerleon."

Conservative South Wales East AM Mohammad Asghar has also called for action to be taken to preserve the building, calling it “handsome and iconic”.

A University of South Wales spokesman said: "We share the community’s attachment to the old college building and we’re continuing efforts to find a way that the building can be developed so that it doesn’t become derelict now the university is moving out."

He added the ultimate decision lay with Cadw.

"We’re mindful that listing is likely to put extra constraints and costs which mean that a future owner is less able to re-use the building and adapt it for future use," the spokesman added.

"Therefore, listing could well reduce the pool of potential options and owners that would see the old college building used and thriving, making it more difficult to find a future for the building."