A REPLACEMENT school for Duffryn will not be started for at least four years, according to the leader of Newport city council.

Concerns over the progress of the council’s ambitious secondary school plan were raised at yesterday’s full council meeting.

Work on the new Bettws High School is almost complete, but plans for a new £33 million Hartridge High have stalled because the council is unable to sell land to part-fund it. There is no date for work to begin on a new Duffryn Comprehensive after the Hartridge build.

Last month, the Assembly announced a £15 million grant to build new secondary schools in the city and local politicians, including Newport East AM John Griffiths, called for clarity on the terms of the money.

Councillor David Hando, young people’s services cabinet member, said the terms included a condition that some of the money was spent Hartridge and preparatory work for Duffryn.

Councillor Bob Poole said: “My concern about Duffryn is that we were hoping to start it in these present four years. There is nothing to stop you looking at sites to build the new school in Duffryn.”

Leader of the council, Matthew Evans said: “Let’s make it clear. Duffryn is not going to start within the next four years. I fully support the Hartridge school, but we have not had the clarification of the funding programme from the Assembly. There are a lot of issues that need to be discussed.”

Cllr Hando told council members Hartridge school is “shovel ready” and the delay was down to funding.

He said: “There is nothing that will stop this happening as soon as we can. On Friday, we were verbally given what the terms and conditions of the £15million from the Assembly were.”

Opposition leader Councillor Bob Bright called for the council to start the design stage for Duffryn as soon as possible.

A council spokesman said that once formal written confirmation from the Assembly was received they would be in a better position to announce a start date for Hartridge.

The spokesman added plans for Duffryn would follow Hartridge, with design and feasibility works commissioned before April 2011.