PLANS for a school on the site of a tragic mining disaster have taken a step forward this month as the council approved details on the size and layout of the building.

The outline planning permission for the £6.9m community primary school was approved at the end of last year. The school which is due to be called Ysgol Gynradd Six Bells will sit on the memorial site of the 1960 disaster in Blaenau Gwent where 45 men died in an underground gas and coal dust explosion.

Overlooking the colliery, the Six Bells site is home to a 20-metre Guardian memorial statue constructed from strips of Cor-Ten steel. As previously reported, the plans created outrage among relatives of men killed in the disaster when they were first announced.

A later public consultation also received 15 letters of objection or concern.

This month, Blaenau Gwent council’s planners discussed further “reserved matters” in relation to the school. These included scale, appearance and landscaping and a revised layout to the school car park to reduce “potential impact” on the setting of the Guardian, a planning report stated.

The meeting heard the building will measure 71 metres in length, 22 in width in 9.5 in height and the approved plans include several new conditions to safeguard the landscaping, ecology and “visual amenities” of the area.

The school will replace Bryngwyn Road and Queen Street campuses and be a part of the Abertillery Learning Community with Blaenau Gwent CBC’s education head, cllr Clive Meredith, adding “we now look forward to taking this important development forward”.

“We understand the issues raised by the local community and we have worked closely with representatives from the Six Bells Regeneration Trust to take into account local concerns and in particular access to the Guardian Memorial,” he said.